Measles - Health Center


By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

Measles – Basic Overview

Measles is a childhood infection which is caused due to a virus. Though this infection was very common once, nowadays, it can be easily prevented with the help of a vaccine. The major signs and symptoms of this infection include running nose, cough, inflammation in the eyes, soreness of the throat as well as red, blotchy rashes all over the skin.

Measles is also known as Rubeola and can be quite serious and fatal for small children. Though the morality rates against measles are falling all over the world, around 100,000 children under the age of five die due to the disease every year.

Due to the presence of the vaccinations, measles can be prevented amongst the kids all over the world. 

Causes of Measles:

Virus is the major cause behind Measles amongst children. The virus is known to replicate inside the nose and the throat of the infected person. If a person suffering from Measles coughs, sneezes or talks, the droplets infected with the virus are sprayed into the air from where other people can inhale them and get infected with the virus.

The infected droplets when land on a surface can remain active and contagious for several hours.

The virus can also be contracted if a person puts the fingers in the mouth of the infected person or rubs the eyes of the infected person.

Signs and Symptoms of Measles:

The signs and symptoms of Measles tend to appear after a period of 10-14 days after the initial exposure to the virus. After the infection, the major signs and symptoms are as follows:

  •       Fever
  •       Dry Cough
  •       Running Nose
  •       Soreness of the throat
  •       Inflammation of the eyes (Conjunctivitis)
  •       Appearance of tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth or the cheek. These are known as Koplik’s spots
  •       Skin rashes creating large and flat blotches all over the affected regions

For the first 10-14 days of the infection, the virus tends to incubate inside the host's body. During this time, no signs or symptoms of the disease are evident. However, later on, a mild or moderate fever accompanied with cough, runny nose and inflammation of the eyes begins to appear. These symptoms last for 2-3 days.

During the acute illness, rashes appear all over the skin of the affected person. These rashes give a blotchy appearance to the skin. The rashes begin with the cheeks and then spread to the arms, lower legs and the feet. A person suffering from the virus can spread the disease to another person. It is recommended to see a doctor if your child has been witnessing the above mentioned signs or symptoms. 

Tests and Diagnosis for Measles:

Measles can be easily diagnosed based on the appearance of the rashes as well as by the presence of the small, bluish white spots against a bright red background on the person’s skin. These are commonly referred to as Koplik’s spots and they are formed on the inner lining of the cheek of the affected person.

In some of the rarer cases, the doctor may recommend a blood test of the affected person in order to check the rashes for measles. 

Treatment and Drugs for Measles:

There is no known treatment for Measles. However, some major measures can be taken in order to protect the people who are vulnerable to suffer from the infection:

Vaccination: Measles vaccination can be provided to non immunized people within 72 hours in order to protect them against the disease. After the vaccination, if the disease occurs, it will show milder symptoms and will last for a short duration.

Immune Serum Globulin: Pregnant women, infants as well as people with weak immune system receive an injection of proteins and antibodies known as immune serum globulin within a period of six days of the exposure to the virus. These antibodies can lead to less severe symptoms.

Antibiotics: An antibiotic can be recommended to the children if they are suffering from a bacterial injection such as pneumonia while suffering from measles.

Children with low levels of Vitamin A are more prone towards developing measles as compared to their counterparts. Vitamin A is prescribed in order to lessen the severity of the condition. Around 200,000 IU Vitamin is provided to the patients within a period of two days in order to fight against the infection. 

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