Measles can be referred to be as one of the most common yet fatal viral infections in babies, which can spread through the infected respiratory secretions. In case if the child is suffering from measles, he will exhibit astonishingly severe red rash all over his body, along with other nasty symptoms such as cold and fever.
Helping your young ones to cope up with the symptoms and prevent the spread of infection is important in such condition. Out of the three active viral strains, such as Roseola, Rubeola, and Rubella; Roseola is found to be the less fatal as compared to the other two versions of the same. Due to widespread availability of measles vaccine has been helpful to prevent the infection; however, statistical analysis has suggested that the virus can affect approximately 20 million children all over the globe.
Key points to be noted about measles in children
- Measles is one of the most contagious respiratory viral infection, affecting more than 20 million children across the globe.
- A child who has not been vaccinated and is in direct contact with the affected kids; is suggested to be more at risk.
- It takes around 8-10 days to confirm measles in children; after being infected by the virus.
- The red rash is initiated as a small lesion, which thereafter combines to form a big patch.
What are measles symptoms in kids?
As evident through a number of reported cases, a child suffering from measles can often exhibit red, blotchy rash all over his body for approximately 10-12 days. The virus is reported to be replicating in the mucus secretions of the baby affected by the same, such as nasal secretions, saliva etc. Further spread of disease is caused due to coughing, sneezing or exchanging infected material to other children.
The outbreak of measles infection was identified to be sudden with an extremely high temperature that may usually last for about three days, similar to other viral infections. Surprisingly, you will not be able to notice any evident characteristics of the infection during this period.
Studies have explained that the incubation period of measles virus is around 9-12 days, only after which the symptoms can be expressed.
- At the end of the incubation period, a child suffering from measles can exhibit a sore throat, cold and runny nose. In many of the cases, these symptoms are often being ignored by considering it to be a common cold.
- In some children, the infection of the eye or conjunctivitis is found to be evident.
How is measles diagnosed?
The pediatrician would always want to know more about the symptoms expressed by the baby and vaccination history of the child; before confirming measles. He/she can also examine the child physically for evident expression of rashes. In certain cases, the child may also be advised to undergo certain blood and/or urine tests to confirm the illness.
What are possible complications in a child suffering from measles?
As per the clinical studies conducted across the globe and observations from reported cases; some of the most severe complications of measles noted so far are:
- Severe ear infection
- Severe eye infection
- Pneumonia and/or lung infection
- Neuronal encephalitis or the inflammation of the brain
- Sudden mental retardation, coma, meningitis
How is measles treated?
Although, there is no particular treatment present through conventional medications, which can be offered to the child suffering from measles; some of the important measures noted herewith can be much effective in relieving the symptoms and boosting the immune system to cope up with the virus immediately.
- Immunization: For babies older than 12 months of age, can be immunized for measles. The vaccine that is available currently offers a protection to two other illness in combination like mumps and rubella along with measles. However, for children below 12 months of age injection with immunoglobulin antibodies is recommended to subside its severity.
- Analgesic medication: Medicine including paracetamol along with acetaminophen can be offered to the baby to get relief from cold and fever. These medicines are to be taken under expert’s supervision and guidance as they may have serious side effects.
- Vitamin supplements including B complex:Vitamin supplement can strengthen the immune system of a baby to help them cope up with the infection in an efficient and better way. Experts have suggested that inadequacy of Vitamin-A in the body can be one of the reasons for a child being infected with measles.
However, it should be further noted that these vitamin supplements are effective only in babies above six months of age.
- Antibiotics: In case if the child is suffering from measles, during the period his immunity is highly compromised making him vulnerable to other opportunistic infections; and hence, it is always advisable to offer him a precautionary antibiotic course to fight with other infections.
Home care tips for a child suffering from measles
It should further be noted that like any other viral infection, the appropriate home care provided to your baby can be helpful for him to cope up with the infection in a better way. In this regard, parents should incorporate some of the home care tips presented herewith to ensure faster recovery.
- Give plenty of fluid: For younger children below six months of age, it is always advisable to breastfeed them frequently in order to keep them hydrated and provide necessary nourishment in order to fight with the infection. The older babies should be offered sips of water, fruit juices and blended cereals, within a span of every 2 hours.
- Dim the room lighting: It has been reported that children with measles if exposed to direct bright light can become highly irritable and uncomfortable, and hence should always prefer to sleep in a dimly lit room.
- Provide a lot of rest: Sufficient rest during viral infection will always help children cope up faster. Thus, parents are always advised to restrict physical activities of their kids at least for a month till their immune system gets back to normal.
How measles can be prevented?
Some easy and general tips can help parents to achieve a higher level of hygiene at home, in order to prevent infection of measles.
- Breastmilk protects: Studies have indicated that mother who breastfed their kids have passed on natural immunity to babies, which can protect them from severe illnesses at least till 12 months.
- Avoid crowded areas: Any viral disease spread easily in crowded areas and is found to be more common in particular seasons, such as winter or spring etc. Thus, parents have to be extra cautious during these particular seasons to avoid the spread of infections.
- Maintain hygiene: The viral particles present on the surface can be alive for two hours, which can readily infect anyone who comes in direct contact. In this regard, perfect cleanliness and hygiene maintained at home is essential to prevent the spread of infection.