Health, HEALTH/FOOD

What Are The Signs Of Measles?

“Who is at risk?”

Childhood Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

There are a group of viral infections that are responsible worldwide for illness and death in children. These preventable childhood diseases include measles (rubeola), mumps, German measles (rubella), diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, influenza, chicken pox, and Hemophilus influenza. Vaccines have contributed enormously in reducing the morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) in the children population. All countries across the globe have immunization programs to protect the health of children.

Predominantly, children who have not been immunized are at-risk of being infected during a measles outbreak. Young children are at even greater risk of devastating complications from a measles infection.

Signs and Symptoms Measles

Measles is a highly contagious disease and once an individual has been infected it is very quickly spread through the air by coughing, sneezing and breathing on others who have not been immunized or previously infected by measles. Measles is also spread through contact with saliva and nasal secretions of infected persons. It can take up to 2 weeks after the initial exposure for the symptoms to appear.

Common symptoms include:

  • High fever of over 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Dry cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Sore throat
  • Lesions in the mouth called Koplik spots
  • Skin rash
  • Body pain
  • Diarrhea

The dreaded complications are:

  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Meningitis
  • Death

Measles is not to be confused with German measles which is a mild 3-day illness with is characterized by fever and a fine skin rash.

Prevention Measures

The development and use of vaccines have been a significant advancement in medicine. Millions of lives have been saved through this global public health measure. Vaccines do have very minimal risk but medical science has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that the benefits outweigh the risk.

Once measles has been diagnosed in an individual, the public health measures have to be aggressive to contain the spread by doing “contact tracing” of every individual who could have come in contact with the infected person. Each individual is then placed under surveillance and home quarantine in the event he or she begins to exhibit symptoms of measles.

Keeping your children safe

Healthy habits and personal hygiene must be taught to children and their caregivers. The following are tips to keep children healthy and safe especially when there is a disease outbreak:

  • Frequent hand washing and cough etiquette are supremely effective in preventing the spread of diseases.
  • Careful disposal of tissue used for cleaning runny nose must be practiced to prevent the transmission of the germ.
  • Eating fruits and vegetables daily with meals provides the vitamins, mineral, and antioxidants which keep the immune system strong to fight off infections.
  • Adequate rest and sleep play important roles to allow the body to fight germs.

Treatment for measles includes medication to reduce fever and pain. Vitamin A as a supplement is recommended to prevent the complication of blindness.

The adage “prevention is better than cure” holds true to protect our children by having them vaccinated against the vaccine-preventable diseases.

Readers Bureau, Contributor

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