Childhood diseases – Measles
Measles is one of the common childhood diseases. Caused by the highly contagious paramyxovirus, any case of measles must by law be reported to a health officer or local authority.
The virus is transmitted by airborne droplets – infection to outbreak usually takes 1-2 weeks. The disease can spread even when the infected child is kept in isolation. Babies under 4 months old whose mother has had measles will not contact the disease due to antibodies from the mother. Someone with measles will be infectious four days before the rash appears and five days from it going.
Symptoms of measles
Symptoms typically appear two weeks after infection and can include:
- High temperature (fever around 39ºC)
- A cold
- Sore throat
- Swollen throat glands (lymph nodes)
- Light sensitive
- Grey coloured spots in the mouth (these appear before the skin rash)
- Rash (starts around the ears spreading to the body and legs)
- Small red spots, red in colour (2-4mm in size)
Treatment for measles
Keep your child in a cool dark room. Symptoms can be managed using painkillers and cough medicine but the virus should run its course after a week or so. If the child’s condition deteriorates consult a GP.
It is recommended that your child receive the mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) vaccination. Consult with your GP.