Measles: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Source: Medical News Today

Measles is a viral infection characterized by the appearance of a rash throughout the body. Measles transmission occurs through contact with infected mucus or through saliva. Another name for this disease is morbili measles rubeola.

Transmission of measles starting from coughing or sneezing from an infected person can make the virus fly in the air. Viruses can live on the surface for several hours. In fact, if you drink from a glass or share food equipment with an infected person you can get measles.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that this disease is one of the main causes of the death of children in the world. This case often occurs especially in developing countries.

If you have never received a vaccine and there is a history of contact with an infected person, visit a doctor to receive the vaccine within 72 hours since contact with the infected person.

Causes of Measles

Measles is a disease caused by a type of paramyxovirus virus that spreads through the respiratory tract. Measles transmission is very easy. It is even said that 90% of patients who have not been vaccinated could be infected if they are close to the infected person.

Meanwhile, vitamin A deficiency is also a risk factor for the emergence of this disease. Children who are taking too little vitamin A have a higher risk of contracting this Rubeola virus. People who are susceptible to this disease are:

  • Babies over the age of 1 year 
  • Infants who do not get immunizations 
  • Teenagers and young adults who have not received a second immunization.
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Symptoms of Measles

Symptoms generally appear within 14 days of exposure to the virus. This disease has a fairly typical clinical picture. The first symptoms that generally arise include:

  • Reddish and runny eyes
  • Cough
  • High fever
  • Red eye
  • Sensitive to the light
  • Muscle-ache
  • Sore throat
  • White spots in the mouth

In addition, a broad skin rash is a common sign of measles symptoms. This rash can last up to seven days and generally appears within 3-5 days after exposure to the virus. The rash usually develops on the head and slowly spreads to all parts of the body. Signs of rash such us red, itchy, and lumps.

The doctor can confirm the patient’s condition by examining the skin rash and examining the symptoms that are characteristic of this disease, such as white spots in the mouth (Koplik Spot), fever, coughing, and sore throat. If cannot confirm a diagnosis based on a physical examination, the doctor usually recommends doing a blood test to check for the presence of a virus in the body.

Measles Treatment

There is no specific medicine for this disease. Usually drugs are only given to treat fever and muscle aches that accompany infection from the measles virus. Viruses and symptoms usually disappear in 2-3 weeks. However, doctors can recommend:

  • Anti-pain and anti-fever drugs to relieve fever and muscle aches
  • Immune-enhancing drugs to help boost the immune system
  • Intake of fluids (6-8 glasses of water a day)
  • Humidifier to relieve coughs and sore throats
  • Vitamin A supplements
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Measles Prevention

Immunization is common way to prevent measles. The MMR vaccine is a triple-vaccination in one that can protect you and your children from measles, mumps and rubella.

Children can receive the first MMR vaccination at the age of 12 months (or faster if there is international travel plan), and the second dose is between the ages of 4-6 years. Adults who have never received immunization can request a vaccine from a doctor as one way to prevent measles.

If you or your family member is exposed to this virus, limit interactions with other people and avoid social activities that make measles patients have tiring and exhausting activities.

Suggest adequate rest, eat healthy food, and consult a doctor so that the body’s condition improves soon. Fun fact, you cannot get measles more than once because after you get measles, the immune system in the body will be better at dealing with this virus.


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