MEASLES- What Is It?
Measles, also referred to as rubeola, is an extremely contagious infection that affects the respiratory system and often leads to skin rash. The disease is very common among children. However, at any age it can be acquired.
Most individuals with measles recover totally after treatment, however there are instances when a person can become very sick and develop some health complications. In 2003, there were over 30 million cases of measles worldwide. Around 1/2 a million of these cases died.
Read on to learn more about this high life-threatening viral infection.
Measles Causes and Risk Factors
Measles is caused by a virus that lives in the mucus of the nostril and throat of an infected individual. The virus spreads very fast through direct contact with the saliva or mucus of an infected kid or adult, whether from coughing, sneezing or contact with contaminated areas.
Measles Symptoms and Signs
Signs of measles generally start to show up 10 to 12 days after you come into contact with a contagious person.
Early signs include coughing, a runny or stuffy nose, malaise, red eyes, tearing and a fever. Two to four days after these preliminary signs arise, bluish-white spots referred to as Koplik's spots may start to appear on the inside of your cheeks. These are accompanied, either at once or slightly later, by a skin rash spread across your face, neck, trunk, limbs, fingers and the soles of your feet.
Sometimes, the infected person’s lymph nodes can also swell. Diarrhea, vomiting and inflammation of the eyes are also related symptoms of measles.
Take note that an individual infected with measles might not exhibit any signs a day or two after contracting the disease. But the person continues to be infectious.
Complications of Measles
Most patients recover wholly from measles. However, the infection can lead to an infection in the ear and pneumonia in older people.
In odd cases, measles may lead to encephalitis — an acute inflammation of the brain — and increase the possibility of seizures, epilepsy, mental disability, coma or death. In some situations, measles can also attack a person’s digestive organs, heart muscle or kidneys.
Doctors can easily diagnose measles through a physical examination of your symptoms, which should to consist of Koplik’s spots and a red skin rash. If required, a blood test can also be performed to decide if the rash on your skin is a symptom of measles.
Measles Treatment Methods
There is no particular remedy for a measles infection. However, doctors can prescribe medicine to relieve symptoms such as a fever, cough or rash discomfort. Antibiotics can also be administered to patients who have developed bacterial pneumonia or otitis media — an inflammatory disease of the ear.
Make sure to stay clear of aspirin if your child has measles as it could amplify his or her risk of developing Reye’s syndrome, an uncommon but serious condition that results to inflammation of the liver and brain.
The following measures can assist for rapid recovery from measles:
• Rest well and avoid exerting stress on your body
• Always remain hydrated with water and fruit juice to exchange for fluids lost during a fever
• Boost your immune system by consuming more fruit and vegetables
• Take care of your eyes. Some persons with measles are always sensitive to bright light. Dim the lights at home or wear shades if it is too bright outdoors
Measles Prevention Methods
MMR vaccine which prevents measles, mumps and rubella can help you protect yourself from measles. In Nigeria, young people require two doses of the MMR vaccine. The first dose of MMR is given at 12 months of age and the second dose is administered somewhere between 15 to 18 months of age.
Women who are planning a pregnancy must ensure that they are effectively immunized against measles and other contagious ailments that may also have an effect on their unborn child.
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