Measles, also known as a rubeola, is a virus induced disease, which is common among kids. Besides, it is highly contagious. It normally starts with symptoms of fever, later on with skin rash all over the body. Since it is caused by virus, there is no effective medicine available; it has to run its course, which is usually 2 weeks, but make sure that your kid gets proper rest, plenty of fluids during the affected period.
Koplik's spots, small red spots with blue-white centers that appear inside the mouth, helps diagnose measles. The skin rash, normally with a red or reddish brown appearance, first appears on the forehead, and then spreads to other parts of the body.
Vaccine is available for measles, since 1960s; and it is the only one way to prevent this otherwise highly contagious disease. You may get the right dose at the right time, consulting your doctor. One to two days before symptoms start till 4 days after the rash appears, is the most contagious period, and 90% chances are there for an unvaccinated person to get affected.
In case of infants, they will be protected for first 6 months, inheriting immunity from the mother. For kids, measles-mumps-rubella immunizations (MMR) or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella immunization (MMRV) vaccine is first given when they are 12 to15 months old, and the second time when they are 4 to 6 years old. However, the vaccination could subject to special cases and exceptions, your doctor would be best person to advice on that. In few cases, the vaccine is not allowed, such as, pregnant woman, kids with untreated tuberculosis, leukemia or other cancers. Also, vaccine is not given to kids who are allergic to gelatin or to the antibiotic neomycin, as it could lead to serious reaction in such cases.
In addition to that, an injection is available, namely immune globulin, which is effective within six days of exposure, to the unvaccinated people. Measles vaccine also would be effective if given in 72 hours of exposure.
Nonetheless, the vaccine is found to have side effects, in 5% of the kids. A fever, between 6-12 days of the vaccination, is the common side effect. Measles like rashes may accompany, but only for a shorter while.
As mentioned earlier, measles does not have a specific treatment available. So, keep your kid at home, allow him to take of rest and give him plenty of fluids. In some cases, measles could lead to few other complications like otitis media, croup, diarrhea, pneumonia, and encephalitis (a serious brain infection). So keep your kid under check and call the doctor in case it indicates any of the above mentioned complications.
Vitamin A has been found helpful in treating measles. As it is helpful in reducing the complications and the subsequent death associated with this. Vitamin A supplementation is usually given for the affected kids from 6 months to 2 years old.
To conclude, call the doctor immediately, if you suspect that your child has measles; especially when the symptoms suggest any of the previously mentioned complications.