Measles is a extremely infectious viral disease caused by paramyxo virus. It usually occurs in children and is charecterised by the presence of a rash on the body. It effects the skin, upper respiratory tract and eyes. The disease is most infectious during three to five days before the rash appears and is usually spread through airborne droplets.
• Cold & cough
• Loss of appetite
• Red, watery eyes
• High fever
After 4-5 days of the initial symptoms, small red spots with a white centre appear in the mouth and on the inside of the cheeks. An itchy rash appears on the skin spreading from behind the ears and the face and also effecting other areas and the small red spots may be group together in patches. The temperature shoots up while the spots are developing. Symptoms usually disappear five days after the rash
Complications like pneumonia, middle ear infections resulting in deafness, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or meningitis can occur as a result of measles. It may be fatal sometimes. Having measles during a pregnancy can result in an infection of the unborn child and may in the worst case result in the death of the baby.
Treatment of measles consists of bed rest and isolation. Plenty of fluids should be given. Doctors should be consulted immediately in case of very high fever, ear ache, head ache or any signs of breathing difficulties. Vaporizers and a warm room help relieve respiratory symptoms; taking acetaminophen reduces the fever.
Measles can be prevented by immunization. The measles vaccine is part of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine series given to children beginning at 12 months of age. Once infected, the disease gives life long immunity and re-infection does not happen. It is advisable that all children should be vaccinated against measles.
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