Definition: measles is a contagious (easily spread) infection that causes a rash all over the body. It is also called red measles
Measles is caused by a virus. It is spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or shares food or drinks. The measles virus can spread through the air. This means that a child can get measles if he/she is near someone who has the virus even if that person does not cough or sneeze directly on the child.
Persons can spread the virus to others from 4 days before the rash starts until 4 days after the rash appeared. The virus is most often spread when people first get sick, before they know they have it.
If a person has had measles, he/she cannot get it again.
High fever, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, and cough. The lymph nodes in the neck may swell. Some also may feel very tired and have diarrhea and red, sore eyes. As these symptoms start to go away, red spots appear inside the mouth, followed by a rash which begins on the head and spread over most of the body.
When adults get measles, they usually feel worse than children who get it.
It usually takes about 7 to 18 days to get symptoms after being infected. This is called the incubation period.
Measles is a self-limited disease, and in most cases all manifestations of illness will disappear over a period of 10 days.
During this period treatment of the symptoms is the main line of therapy.
Measles usually gets better with home care.
Medicine to lower the fever if needed.
Plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids.
Stay away from other people so that the disease don not spread.
Anyone who has measles should stay out of school, day care, work, and public places until at least 4 days after the rash first appeared.
Vitamin A supplements for 2 days to all children with acute measles.
Most people get better within 2 weeks. But measles may sometimes cause dangerous problems.
If exposed to measles and have not had the vaccine, we may be able to prevent the infection by getting immunoglobulin (IG) or the measles vaccine as soon as possible. Babies who are younger than 12 months, pregnant women, and people who have impaired immune systems that cannot fight infection may need to get IG if they are exposed to measles.
Getting your child vaccinated is important, because measles can sometimes cause serious problems.
The measles vaccine protects against the illness. This vaccine is part of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella). Most children get the vaccine as part of their regular shots at one year and 4 years.
In vaccinated children the disease may also occur but usually in a mild or altered form.
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