Measles in Children: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Jun 04, 2019

What Is Measles?

Measles, also known as rubeola, is a contagious childhood disease spread by the measles virus. It is most common in children aged 3-5 years. Measles in children is still one of the leading causes of deaths in India. A child affected by measles can infect other children even hours after contraction. The disease spreads with the droplets of germs in the air. Let's know more about this contagious health condition in detail.

What Causes Measles?

Measles is caused by a pathogen named rubeola virus. This germ lives in the mucus of the throat and nose of an infected child or adult. It is infectious for 4 days before the rash appears and it continues to be communicable for 4-5 days after. The disease also spreads by:
  • bodily contact with a contaminated person
  • touching an exterior that has infected droplets of mucus
  • staying around the infected person who might be coughing or sneezing
A widespread skin rash is notably a sign of measles. In the same way, other warning signs of measles usually appear within 7 to 18 days of contraction with the virus. This is the incubation period. Symptoms include:
  • fever
  • a cough
  • watery eyes
  • sneezing
  • conjunctivitis
  • red eyes
  • a sore throat
  • muscle aches
  • a runny nose
  • sensitivity to bright light
  • white spots inside the mouth, insides of cheeks, and throat

Treatment for Measles in Children

There is no particular treatment for the disease. The doctor may use either of the treatments gauging the condition of the child. However, here are some common measures to consider for curing measles in children.
  • Immune serum globulin
People with weakened immune systems, infants and pregnant women suffering from the disease should take an injection of protein called immune serum globulin. If the injection is given within six days, it can prevent measles or make symptoms milder.
  • Post-exposure vaccination
To provide protection against the disease, susceptible people, including infants, should have the measles vaccination within 72 hours of exposure. If measles symptoms still develop, they may have mild effects and lasts for a lesser time.
  • Medications
Fever reducers, antibiotics, and Vitamin A medicines can cure measles. However, specific medication depends on the age of the child, type of infection, and the severity of the disease. Sharda Health City recommends the readers to consult a qualified doctor prior to taking any medication.

Prevention of Measles

The easiest way to prevent measles is by vaccinating the baby against the virus. The MMR vaccine, which is a three-in-one immunization can protect children from mumps, measles, and rubella (German measles). As per the CDC, the first dose of vaccination should be given to children at 12-15 months. Subsequently, the second dose should be given between the age of 4 and 6. Adults who have not been immunized can request the vaccine from the doctor. Other than this, if a family member contracts measles limits their interaction with others.

Self-Care Tips for Curing Measles

It is advisable to give the child ample amount of rest. Parents must follow more self-care tips to cure measles in children at home.
  • Keep them hydrated. Make sure they are in-taking lots of water.
  • Take care of their hygiene. Also, ensure that their surroundings are clean.
  • Give them light food that is low in fat.
  • Keep them in a well-ventilated room.
  • Make sure they're loaded with vitamins, especially with Vitamin A
  • Prevent them from sunlight since measles harm eye tissues which result in watery eyes.
  • Avoid milk and other dairy products, as they may worsen the condition. If the child is only dependent on milk, limit consumption.
  • Give them coconut water as it flushes out toxic elements from the body. Also, it helps in recovering from measles fast.
  • Take one cup of oatmeal and soak it in the bathing water. Leave it for a short while. Then bathe the child with this water. Bathing with oatmeal water provides relief from the itchiness and skin rashes caused due to measles.
  • Mix the mud pack with water and apply it on the affected area. Let it dry. After 15-20 minutes, wash it. It is another treatment for soothing the rashes and itchiness.
  • Keep the child cool, though not too cold, if they have a high temperature.
  • Softly clean eyes with a damp, warm cloth in case of dryness around the eyes.
  • Cough medications do not relieve a measles cough. Use humidifiers or place a bowl of water in the room to avoid dryness.

Consult a Doctor

Before cure comes prevention. If not given timely treatment, a measles patient can suffer from complications like Pneumonia, seizures, encephalitis, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.  Hence, make sure to sketch out a healthy diet for the child and follow general safety instructions. If the symptoms of measles are too severe, seek immediate medical assistance.

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