Measles is an infection on children caused by virus. It is characterized by coughing, runny nose, sore throat, fever, inflamed eyes and red, blotchy rashes on the skin. This condition is fatal among small children. The symptoms of measles happen 10-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Symptoms of measles
- Runny nose
- Dry cough
- Inflamed eyes or conjunctivitis
- Small white spots with a bluish-white point with a reddened background forms within the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek (Koplik’s spots)
- Rashes on the skin made up of large and flat blotches that flows into one another
Stages of infection
- During the initial 10-14 days, there are no symptoms.
- The infection begins with mild to moderate fever, followed by persistent coughing, runny nose, conjunctivitis and sore throat and can last for 2-3 days.
- Development of rashes such as tiny red spots and some that are somewhat raised. Spots and bumps that forms in constricted clusters that make the skin look splotchy red. They usually develop on the face, especially behind the ears and along the hairline. Eventually, the rashes spreads on the arms, trunk, thighs, lower legs and feet. Fever of 104-105.8 degrees F might also be present.
- The virus can be spread to other people for about 8 days before the rashes appear.
- The infected person with measles sneezes, coughs or talks.
- Infected droplets can contaminate surfaces such as tables, chairs and beds which remains active and contagious for several hours.
- Putting fingers in the mouth or nose and rubbing eyes after touching the infected surfaces.
- Infected person with measles should take plenty of rest for fast healing from the condition. Avoid performing physical activities. Take a least a week of rest especially children.
- The infected children should be kept away from other people to stop the spread of infection.
- Give the child the prescribed over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to lessen the fever and pain caused by measles. Avoid giving aspirin to children and teenagers to prevent the risk of developing Reye’s syndrome.
- Let the affected child drink plenty of water, fruit juices and herbal teas to prevent dehydration and replace fluids lost by sweating and fever.
- Use a humidifier to relieve coughing and sore throat.
- Conjunctivitis causes discharges from the eyes which causes crusting especially after sleeping. Clean the eyes by soaking a cotton ball in warm water and use to wipe the corner of the affected eye in an outward direction. Use a separate cotton ball for each eye.
- The child should be given the vaccination for MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) to prevent the infection and provides immunity for life after they are about 15 months old.