Measles, otherwise called as rubeola is an extremely communicable respiratory infection that is caused by a virus. It causes symptoms like runny nose, cough, fever, skin rashes all over the body and flu-like symptoms. As this disease is caused by a virus, there is no particular treatment for this condition and the virus has to run its course. However, a child diagnosed to have measles should be made to drink plenty of fluids and should get lot of rest. In addition, he/she should be kept from spreading the infection to others.
Signs and symptoms of measles:
Even though, this disease is commonly known for the red rashes it creates all over the body, the initial symptoms will be red eyes, high fever, runny nose and hacking cough. Even, children with this condition will have red spots with blue-white centers inside the mouth. After the beginning of these symptoms, the skin rashes will appear 3-5 days later and can coincide with high fever, which will reach up to 1040F. The rashes generally show up as small red rashes on the forehead and it will gradually spread all over the body. The fever and rashes will recede after a few days.
It is important that parents should remember that measles is highly contagious and if appropriate vaccination is not given, the other people near the child affected by measles will have higher chances of getting infected. People with this condition become contagious from 4 days before the appearance of rash until 4 days after it goes away and they become more contagious when they have cold, cough and high fever.
The most important prevention activity parents can take is to get the child vaccinated according to the immunization schedule prescribed by the doctor. For most, measles protection is a part of the MMR or MMRV vaccinations given during 12-15 months of age and again during the 4-6 years age. Infants generally stay protected against this disease for up to 6 months due to the immunity passed on from their mom and the vaccination for this disease is not given to infants until one year. But, if there is an outbreak, the child can be given the immunization when he/she is 6-11 months old.
Side-effects of vaccination:
The important point to be remembered by parents is that the measles vaccination can cause side-effects in some kids. For instance, they may get fever, which will last for 6-12 days after vaccination and some children might get measles like rashes that are not contagious and will go away on their own.
As mentioned earlier, there is no specific medical treatment for this condition. If the fever makes the child uncomfortable, non-aspirin fever medicines like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be given. Aspirin should never be given to a kid with viral illness.
It is also found that Vitamin A supplementation can help parents to keep their child protected against measles. They can be given foods that are rich in Vitamin A and they should be kept away from infected children.