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Measles – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

  • December 05, 2022

Measles – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

With nearly 303 cases being recorded recently in Mumbai and nearby districts, this highly contagious disease is spreading rapidly, and the need to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment options is essential to bring an end to this illness. The W.H.O (World Health Organization) observed that the measles vaccination had helped to reduce the fatality rate by as much as 73% from data recorded from 2008 to 2018.

What is Measles?

Rubeola, another name for measles, is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the respiratory system and frequently causes a skin rash. Children are more likely to contract the virus. But anyone can get it at any age.

After receiving treatment, the majority of measles patients fully recover, but in rare cases, a patient may become really ill, experience health issues, or even pass away. Worldwide, there have been millions of measles cases and many fatalities.

The best defence against infection is a measles vaccination. Continue reading to find out more about this potentially fatal viral disease and how to shield yourself and your child from getting sick.

What Causes Measles?

Paramyxovirus is the type of virus that causes measles. Because it spreads through tiny droplets when an infected person coughs, breathes, or sneezes, it is a very contagious virus. Additionally, the measles virus can endure for around two hours on contaminated objects like doorknobs and mobile phones. According to research, just 10% of unvaccinated residents of a home with a measles sufferer stay well.

Symptoms of Measles

Typically, 10 to 12 days after coming into contact with a contagious person, measles symptoms start to show early signs of the illness. Coughing, a runny or stuffy nose, fatigue, malaise, red eyes, tears, and fever are examples of early symptoms. Bluish-white dots on the inside of your cheeks called Koplik's spots may start to show up two to four days after these initial symptoms.

These are followed by a skin rash that covers your face, neck, torso, limbs, palms, and soles of your feet, either at the same time as or a little later. The lymph nodes of the diseased person may occasionally enlarge as well. Along with fever and eye irritation, measles also causes diarrhoea, vomiting, and eye inflammation. Take note that a day or two after getting the illness, a person with measles may not show any symptoms. But throughout this time, he or she remains infectious.

Measles patients typically make a full recovery. However, in older people, the illness might result in pneumonia and ear infections.

Rarely, measles may result in encephalitis, an acute brain inflammation, which raises the risk of convulsions, epilepsy, mental impairment, coma, or even death. In some situations, the measles can also harm a person's kidneys, heart muscle, or digestive system.

How Does Doctor Spot Measles?

A doctor can identify the early signs of the disease through physical examination and evaluation of your symptoms. These symptoms could include Koplik's spots and red skin rashes. If required, a blood test can also be done to determine whether the skin rash you have is a sign of the measles.

Treatment for Measles

A measles infection has no specific therapy. However, medical professionals might suggest therapies to ease uncomfortable symptoms including a fever, pain, cough, or rash. If your child has measles, avoid giving him or her aspirin as it may increase the risk of Reye's syndrome, an uncommon but deadly illness that involves swelling in the brain and liver.

Since viruses are immune to antibiotics, they are typically not administered to treat measles. But some patients who contract the measles may become really ill and acquire a subsequent bacterial infection like pneumonia (infection of the lungs) or otitis media (inflammatory infection of the ear). Treatment with antibiotics can be necessary for certain subsequent bacterial infections. Before prescribing antibiotics, it is crucial that the doctor evaluate your symptoms to see if you have a bacterial infection.

Self-Care Tips to Recover from the Illness

Self-care is suggested only after visiting a doctor and getting the required prescriptions to boost your recovery process. The doctor may ask you to visit a medical and diagnostic center to check for additional symptoms by suggesting the necessary tests. You can recover by following these simple steps;

  • Avoid exertion and physical stress and get plenty of rest
  • Drink plenty of water and fruit juice to replenish any fluids you may have lost due to a fever
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables to strengthen your immune system
  • Watch out for your eyes. Some measles sufferers are extremely sensitive to light. If it's too bright outside, turn down the lights at home or put on sunglasses.

Medical Disclaimer

Any medical information referred to in or through our blog is provided as information only and is not intended:

  • as medical diagnosis or treatment
  • to replace consultation with a qualified medical practitioner

Protect Your Kids from Measles

One of the most infectious illnesses, measles spreads via close contact with an infected individual. Additionally, exposure to infected droplets or the air can cause it to spread. Thus, the disease can spread through coughing, sneezing, or intimate contact with a measles sufferer. The following preventative measures are essential for limiting the viral infection's spread and preserving the safety of children.

  • Early Vaccination
  • Avoiding Crowded Places
  • Don’t Ignore the Signs and Symptoms of the Illness
  • Avoid Contact with Infected Persons
  • Always Maintain Optimum Hand Hygiene

Getting vaccinated against measles can help you avoid contracting the disease. There are two different forms of combination vaccines that offer measles protection. Measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella are all prevented by the MMR vaccine and the MMRV vaccine, respectively (chickenpox). Children should ideally receive two doses of the measles vaccine. MMR or MMRV is administered in two doses, the first at 12 months of age and the second between 15 and 18 months. Both MMR and MMRV are secure and effective treatments for measles.

Pregnant women should make sure they are sufficiently immunised against measles and other infectious diseases that could harm their unborn child. Early identification of the disease can help in swift recovery. Always consult a doctor and visit your nearest medical and diagnostic center when in doubt to protect yourself from such illnesses.