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Measles - A Quick Read

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Having high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes?
Have not been vaccinated for measles and came in contact with a measles patient?

What is Measles?
  • highly infectious viral infection.
  • Rubeola - standard measles caused by rubeola virus
  • Rubella virus - commonly called rubella or german measles/

Risk Group
  • People coming in contact with measles infected patient
  • weakened immune system patients
  • young children
  • Rubella more concern to pregnant mothers and unborn babies

Signs and Symptoms
  • watery eyes or conjunctivitis
  • dry or hacking cough
  • sneezing or running nose
  • high fever
  • sensitivity to light
  • may have reddish-brown rash starting behind the ear and spreads,  after 3 to 4 days of initial infection and last about a week
  • may have grayish white spots with bluish-white centers in the mouth, cheeks or throat
  • body pains generally
  • symptoms will appear after about 10 days of initial infection
  • will usually last for 7 to 10 days

Causes and spread
  • there are 21 different strains of the measles virus.
  • physical contact with patient with measles.
  • being in vicinity when patient coughs or sneezes without proper hygiene and cover.
  • can spread from touching surfaces that have been exposed to infected discharge from the patients nasal, eye or mouth and putting unwashed hands into mouth or eyes.
  • surfaces remain actively infected for at least 2 hours after exposure.

Lifestyle Adaptations
  • if child has fever from measles, keep them cool (not cold) and give some medication for fever.
  • no smoking near patients where possible.
  • suggest sunglasses to help with the light sensitivity.
  • wash and clean eyes properly if infected with clean materials.
  • Proper hydration will help during the infection.

Treatment and alternatives
  • no known specific treatment for measles.
  • Symptomatic treatment suggested
  • Increased fluid intake to avoid dehydration.
  • Patient will not usually get measles for the second time in their lifestyle (immune after first infection)
  • Vitamin A supplements if deficient may help

  • MMR vaccines for mumps, measles and rubella 
  • gives protection against both the types of measles - both standard and german measles.
  • however, once infected will give lifelong immunity.

Complications and concerns
  • symptoms do not improve
  • fever rises above 38 degrees and does not go away even when the other symptoms finish
  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting
  • eye infection
  • respiratory infections and difficulty breathing
  • ear infections
  • miscarriage if measles during pregnancy

All these and more are available at Health First pharmacy...visit us for all your health needs first...talk to us first!!!