X
Newsdigest

Latest Issues

Back to Articles

March 2019

Measles in Children
Kate M. Cronan, MD

Measles in Children

What Is Measles?

Measles is a very contagious respiratory infection. It causes a total-body skin rash and flu-like symptoms. But 20 million cases happen worldwide every year.

Measles (also called rubeola) is caused by a virus, so there’s no specific medical treatment for it. The virus has to run its course. A child who is sick should drink plenty of liquids, get lots of rest, and stay home from school or daycare to prevent spreading the infection.

Signs & Symptoms of Measles
• A hacking cough
• Runny nose
• High fever (up to 40°C)
• Red eyes
• Koplik’s spots (small red spots with blue-white centers, more common in kids) inside the mouth before the rash starts
• Reddish-brown rash


Is Measles Contagious?

Yes. Measles is very contagious. In fact, 9 out of 10 people who aren’t vaccinated for measles will get it if they are near an infected person.


How Do People Get Measles?

Measles spreads when people breathe in or have direct contact with virus-infected fluid. It can pass through droplets sprayed into the air when someone with measles sneezes or coughs. Someone exposed to the virus usually shows symptoms 7–14 days later.

People with measles can spread the disease from 4 days before the rash starts until about 4 days after that. They’re most contagious while they have a fever, runny nose, and cough. Those with weakened immune systems due to other conditions (like HIV and AIDS) can spread the measles virus until they recover.

How Is Measles Treated?

There is no specific medical treatment for measles.

To help manage symptoms:
• Give your child plenty of fluids
• Encourage extra rest
• Give a non-aspirin fever medicine, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen if a fever makes your child uncomfortable. Never give aspirin to a child who has a viral illness.

Kids with measles should be closely watched by a doctor. In some cases, measles can lead to other problems, such as:
• Ear infections
• Croup
• Diarrhea
• Pneumonia
• Encephalitis (irritation and swelling of the brain)

Children with measles should be kept away from others for 4 days after their rash appears. For those with a weakened immune system, this should continue until they make a full recovery and all symptoms are gone.

How Long Does Measles Last?

A measles infection can last for several weeks. Symptoms usually start 7–14 days after someone is exposed to the virus.

Can Measles Be Prevented?

The best way to protect your kids is to make sure they’re immunized against measles. For most kids, measles protection is part of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella vaccine (MMRV) given when they’re 12 to 15 months old and again when they’re 4 to 6 years old.

It’s important for all kids who can get the vaccine to get it on schedule. At-risk people (such as those with weakened immune systems) can’t get the vaccine and depend on “herd immunity.” This is when a lot of people are immunized against a disease, which prevents it from spreading and helps prevent outbreaks.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

Call the doctor right away if you think that your child has measles. Also call if your child was around someone who has measles, especially if your child:
• is an infant
• is taking medicines that suppress the immune system
• has tuberculosis, cancer, or a disease that affects the immune system

Why Is Vaccination Important?

At highest risk during a measles outbreak are:
1. infants who aren’t old enough to get the vaccine
2. pregnant women
3. people with poor nutrition or weakened immune systems

Doctors can give an injection of measles antibodies (called immune globulin) to at-risk people who are exposed to measles. It’s most effective when given within 6 days of contact. These antibodies can either prevent measles or make symptoms less severe.

The measles vaccine may help protect women who are not pregnant and people not in an at-risk group if they get it within 72 hours of measles exposure.

source: kidshealth.org

Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns about your health. Check with your doctor before beginning any nutrition or exercise program. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have heard or read in this article or the internet.



Related Articles
Unvaccinated Teens Are Seeking Ways to Get Their Shots
Unvaccinated Teens Are Seeking Ways to Get Their Shots Some teenagers who have never been vaccinated against diseases such as measles or chickenpox are...
[read more]
6 Reasons Why You Need a Cat in Your Home
6 Reasons Why You Need a Cat in Your Home Cats are lovable companions that bring happiness and joy to the lives of many pet parents. If you...
[read more]
Thanks to Vaccines: 14 Diseases You Almost Forgot About
Thanks to Vaccines: 14 Diseases You Almost Forgot About Did you know that there are 14 vaccine-preventable diseases humans can be protected from before the age...
[read more]
The Pregnancy Diet: What to Eat, What Not to Eat
The Pregnancy Diet: What to Eat, What Not to Eat 4 Key Nutrients for Pregnant Women: According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists...
[read more]
What Are Free Radicals?
What Are Free Radicals? Oxygen in the body splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons, and electrons like to be in pairs....
[read more]
Publisher's Page: Healthy Options Store #30
Publisher's Page: Healthy Options Store #30 Healthy Options customers have a new place to shop…at Uptown Mall in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig....
[read more]
3 Unexpected Benefits of Cataract Surgery
3 Unexpected Benefits of Cataract Surgery The most obvious effect of cataract surgery is seeing better, but did you know it also can help you in...
[read more]
What You Need to Know About Childhood Vaccines
What You Need to Know About Childhood Vaccines Do vaccines cause autism? Is it OK to skip certain vaccines? These are among some of the many questions...
[read more]