My Child Has Measles – What Now?
The Measles Virus
Measles (rubeola), is a viral infection which effects the respiratory system. It is very contagious and is commonly spread through having contact with an infected person’s mucous and/or saliva. The measles virus can live for up to two hours in the air after an infected person has coughed or sneezed and several hours on a surface. So always cover your mouth and/or nose if you cough or sneeze, and don’t spit, it’s a filthy bloody habit.
- Infected people can spread the virus from around 4 days before the rash appears until around 4 days after the rash has appeared
- You can only get the measles once, after the initial infection you are immune for life
- Measles is solely a human disease; it is not found in other species
Measles symptoms usually start to be visible around 7 to 14 days after the initial infection and typically include:
- Runny nose
- Watery, red eyes (Conjunctivitis).
- 2 to 3 days after other symptoms are visible White spots appear in the mouth (Koplik spots)
- 3 to 5 days after other symptoms are visible a rash of flat red spots appears – usually starting around the hairline and face before spreading down to the rest of the body
- When the rash is visible there may be a sharp rise in the person’s temperature, and raised bumps may appear on top of the flat red spots
- After a few days the rash begins to clear and the fever subsides
Anybody can suffer measles complications but some age groups are at a higher risk. Such as:
- Babies less than one year old
- Children with poor dietary habits
- People with a weakened immune system from things like cancer, HIV/Aids or other conditions and associated medications
- Adults over 20 years old
- Pregnant females
Common Complications May Include:
Uncommon Complications May Include:
Rare Complications May Include:
- Serious eye disorders such as optic neuritis
- Problems effecting the nervous system or heart
- Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) a very rare, but fatal central nervous system disease which can develop 7 to 10 years after being infected with measles
Complications In Pregnancy
If you become infected with measles while you’re pregnant, there’s a risk of:
- miscarriage or stillbirth
- Your baby may be born prematurely
- your baby may be born with a low birth weight
Prevention is the answer – Measles can be prevented with MMR vaccine which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella.
There is no treatment for the measles virus it generally runs its course in 2 to 3 weeks.
Your doctor may recommend:
- Some over the counter medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to bring down the fever and relieve muscular aches and pains
- Plenty of rest to help boost the immune system
- Plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
- If you have a humidifier it may help to ease a sore throat and/or cough
- Vitamin A supplements – Read More