Measles is a viral infection caused in the respiratory system by the rubeola virus. This kind of epidemic disease could be devastating once it enters a person’s body since it could spread rapidly and is very contagious.
This disease can spread from one person to another through contact with an infected saliva or mucus. You can get high chances of catching the infection when you make contact or at least share utensils with someone who is infected.
According to the World Health Organization’s statistics on the cases of measles in the year 2014, measles is the leading cause of death in children most especially the ones under the age of 5.
Serious as it may seem, you can still keep yourself from getting infected by measles. And the first resort you should do is to know what causes measles and familiarize measles’ signs.
There are two kinds of measles; (1) measles and (2) German measles.
German measles is also known as the Rubella measles is caused by the rubella virus. On the contrary, measles is the one caused by the rubeola virus.
What causes measles?
This disease is caused by a virus called paramyxovirus Like what I’ve mentioned above, measles might only infect you when you tried having contact with someone who has measles. You might also be infected if you catch the virus when an infected person coughs or sneezes near you. However, measles is not like other airborne diseases that could survive on objects for a long time. Measle virus could only stay at an object for as long as 2 hours only. Some people even got themselves vaccinated with anti-measles. However, research suggests that this airborne virus is too contagious that only 10% of the vaccinated people could be saved from the virus.
Symptoms of Measles
The signs and symptoms of measles usually appear after 10 to 14 days of being exposed to the said virus. In order to further detect measles on the rise, check out the following measle symptoms.
- Red eyes
- A cough
- Runny nose
- Body pain
- Sore throat
- Reddish-brown rash
- Light sensitivity
- White spots inside the mouth
When infected, the virus could appear in stages over a period of two to three weeks. Measles usually start to rise with a fever which can range from mild to severe. The fever may last for days and then disappear. However, the fever might come back once the reddish-brown rashes start to appear.
The first measles outbreak would start on the face. After a few days, the rashes would then go down to your arms and legs then finally to your feet.
Who is most likely to catch measles?
- An unvaccinated person. I know that being vaccinated won’t guarantee you that you’re 100% safe from measles. However, measles vaccination will still help.
- A person who travels a lot. Traveling is not bad for sure. But going places most especially where measles is pretty common could enhance the risk of you being infected.
- A person deficit from vitamin A. You should know by now that vitamin A deficiency could make you vulnerable to a number of illnesses. If you’re lacking from vitamin A, you will be more prone to catching airborne diseases such as measles.
Complications with measles
Most people who are at risk when it comes to complications in measles are those who have a weak immune system. This also includes those who have AIDS, HIV, leukemia, adults who are over 20, and very young children under the age of 5.
Measles complication includes the following:
- Ear infections
- Eye infection
- Respiratory Tract Infections (bronchitis, laryngitis)
- Febrile seizures
- Pregnancy problems (miscarriage, preterm labor)
Unfortunately for measles, there is no treatment or prescribed medications. But there are still some recommended strategies that you may use.
- Drink plenty of water
- Take vitamin A supplements
- Rest well
- Use humidifiers to treat coughs and sore throat
- Take acetaminophen to treat fever and muscle pain
You know what they always say, “prevention is better than cure”. Having said, it is always best to be extra careful than sorry. Here are some ways to you can do to lessen possible risks of catching measles:
It won’t hurt to vaccinate just to prevent measles outbreak. You may ask your doctor about MMR vaccine. This is a vaccine that may not only keep you from catching not measles but may also protect you and your loved ones from mumps and rubella virus.
For measles vaccination, children can only be vaccinated with MMR vaccine at 12 months. They will only be exempted and could be vaccinated earlier when traveling internationally. But when the child reaches 4 to 6 years of age, be sure that the child will receive his/her second dosage of vaccine.
If you know someone who has measles, the best thing to do is to stay away from the infected person temporarily. On the other hand, if you caught the measles virus, it is recommended that you do not return from doing any activity or maybe visiting places such as the school or work to make sure you do not transmit the virus to other people.
To wrap things up, it is best that you are aware of the possible illnesses that may harm you. Informing and updating yourself about the dos and don’ts won’t hurt. Most especially when dealing with contagious diseases like measles, you have to be fully informed about the risk factors and how to treat it. Otherwise, you might suffer from other complications.