is a highly infectious common disease that is potentially dangerous.
Measles is like a 'heavy cold with a rash!' The child looks miserable
with a runny nose, sore eyes and a cough. A red rash follows and
spreads all over the body - no wonder it's often called 'Miserable
makes the child unwell before the rash appears.
Commonest symptoms to appear are:
runny, sore eyes
temperature - up to 40oC
these last for 3 - 5 days.
doctor may look inside your child's mouth to check for grey-white
specks on the inside of the cheeks. These are called Kaplik's spots,
which only occur in measles.
After 3-5 days of cold-like symptoms, the rash appears first behind
the ears and on the neck, then on the trunk, the arms and then the
legs. This will last for 4 - 5 days.
the rash has appeared, you may then be able to work out who your
child was in contact with about 2 weeks ago. Among those friends
there will probably be one or more who has come down with measles!
skin looks blotchy and the spots vary from pink to dark red. The
blotches often merge to form a large red mass. The spots do not
usually itch. Pale brown staining of the skin occurs as the rash
fades. This staining disappears over the next ten days.
1 in every 15 children with measles will suffer a complication such
as deafness, bronchitis, pneumonia, convulsions or even encephalitis
(inflammation of the brain.)
are serious problems, which can be avoided by having your child
immunised with MMR vaccine.
Anyone who has not had measles or who hasn't been vaccinated and
has been in contact with someone who actually has the disease or
is incubating it. A child incubating the disease may appear well
or may just appear to have a cough or a cold, because they have
not YET developed the obvious measles rash.
Measles is caused by a type of virus called a myxovirus. The virus
is spread in tiny droplets of saliva from an infected child when
they cough or sneeze - even before they have the rash! 10 - 14 days
after being in contact with an infectious child the symptoms may
start to appear.
you prevent measles?
The only effective way to prevent your child from catching measles
is to get him immunised.
should you treat measles?
temperature down (see fever control article)
room, cool sponge, cool drinks, cool bed
plenty of fluids frequently
GP to confirm diagnosis
does not respond
or drowsiness develop
are at all worried!
antibiotic may be prescribed for a chest infection or an ear infection.
The antibiotic does not clear up the measles. There is no cure for
measles, it will clear up on its own.
50% of the children who die as a result of measles are healthy children
who have NOT been vaccinated.
is RARE under the age of 9 months because babies receive protection
from their mother's antibodies.