Measles, also known as rubeola, is an infection caused by a virus. It is a highly contagious respiratory infection and causes skin rash all over the body. A person with this condition also shows flu like symptoms such as cough and runny nose. The infection spreads through contact with droplets from mouth, nose or throat within an infected person.

In addition, when infected people sneeze and cough, the virus can be found in droplets in the air. People who have active measles infection may have immunity to the disease. Similarly, those people who have been vaccinated against measles also have immunity to the disorder and are not likely to suffer.

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There has been a misconception that a MMR vaccine, which is administered to children to prevent infection by measles and other conditions like rubella and mumps, can cause autism. However, there have been no clinical suggestions that this vaccine actually causes autism and parents who do not let their children vaccinated subject them to infection of measles.


What are the signs and symptoms of measles?

Many people discover that they have measles when a full body rash develops. However, there are primary symptoms of this condition, which appear before the rash. A hacking cough, high fever, runny nose, and red eyes are the first symptoms even before the rash develops on the skin. Koplik’s spots are a marker of measles and these are small red spots, which have blue white centers.

These spots appear in the mouth. On the skin, measles rashes have reddish brown blotchy look or they may appear red. These rashes appear first on the forehead and then spread to other parts like face and the body until they affect the feet and arms. People who have not been vaccinated will most likely acquire the disease when they live in same household with an infected person.

Difference between measles and German Measles

German Measles or Rubella is a mild, 3 day infection that does not cause much complications in children However, it may cause birth deformities in children born to mother who are infected during the course of pregnancy.  Measles or Rubeola is a more serious disease and can cause complications like pneumonia and ear infections.  It is important that woman of child-bearing age get immunized against German Measles one month before becoming pregnant.

Treatment of measles

Although there is no specific treatment for measles, when a person suffers this condition, treatments can be administered to manage the symptoms. The signs of measles will last for about 2 weeks and it is advised that you give a child a lot of fluid and ensure adequate rest. A non-aspirin medication may be given to a child who is having fever as a result of an attack by measles. This will help alleviate the fever.

The reason why aspirin should not be given to children suffering from measles is that the use of this medicine is associated with development of Reye syndrome. Not only should aspirin be avoided in treating symptoms of measles like fever but it should also not be administered to children who suffer viral diseases.

Reye syndrome is a very rare but serious disorder that can affect the liver and brain. Reye syndrome occurs mainly in children who are recovering from viral infections. When aspirin is administered in children recovering from viral infections, it can lead to Reye syndrome.

Vitamin A has been praised of decreasing complications associated with measles. In addition, there are complications, which may arise in children with measles such as pneumonia, croup, diarrhea, otitis media, and encephalitis and these may be treated with use of antibiotics.  If you suspect that your child has measles, it is essential that you immediately consult a doctor.

Additionally, when measles has been diagnosed, it is important that closer examination be maintained as other conditions could also manifest. When a child has measles and she or he is taking medicines that suppress immune system, a proper follow up on the response to treatment of measles is needed.

Similarly, people with cancer, tuberculosis, and diseases, which affect the immune system, need close attention as they recover from measles. It is important for parents to get their kids vaccinated through the routine childhood immunization as it helps prevent the disease.


Measles is preventable through vaccination. Infants remain protected from measles for the first 6 months from birth and this is because they get an immunity, which is passed on from their mothers. Older kids need to be immunized against measles and there are health regulations, which stipulate how measles vaccinations should be administered.

The measles-mumps-rubella vaccination- MMRV given to children at age of 12 to 15 months is part of the immunization against this disease. In addition, the MMRV immunization administered at age of 4 to 6 is also another part of preventing the attacks by this disease. When administering immunization against measles, there are exceptions. People such as pregnant women should not be given this MMR vaccination.

Similarly, children with untreated leukemia, cancers, and tuberculosis also must not be immunized with measles vaccine. In addition, people with suppressed immune system should not be given the vaccine. When outbreaks of measles occur, people who have not been immunized can be injected with measles antibodies known as immune globulin. These antibodies make the symptoms less severe or prevent measles attack altogether.

Measles Pictures




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