Measles: Symptoms, Cause & Treatment

Measles is highly contagious disease, characterized by fever, cough, conjunctivitis (inflammation of the lining of connective eye / conjunctiva) and skin rashes. Measles is caused by a paramyxovirus type measles virus infection. Measles virus transmission occurs by inhaling spray saliva measles. People with measles can spread the measles virus within 2-4 days before the onset of skin rashes and 4 days after the rash there. Before the measles vaccine is widely used, measles outbreaks occur every 2-3 years, especially in children aged pre-school and elementary school children. If someone has had measles, then the rest of their lives will be immune to measles.

Causes of measles

Measles (morbilli, rubeola, or red measles) is an infectious disease that is highly contagious (infectious) early prodrome period, ie the range of the first 4 days since the appearance of the rash. Measles is caused paramyxovirus (measles virus). Measles virus transmission occurs through saliva splashes from the nose, mouth and throat with measles (water borne). The incubation period is 10-14 days before the measles symptoms appear.

Immunity to measles, obtained after vaccination and active infection. Passive immunity obtained a baby born to mothers who have immune (lasts for 1 year). People who are susceptible to measles are: infants older than 1 year, babies who are not immunized against measles, adolescents and young adults who have not been immunized against measles second.

Symptoms of measles

The emergence of the first measles symptoms occurred approximately one to two weeks after contracting the virus. These symptoms will disappear approximately two weeks thereafter. The following is the initial symptoms that will be experienced by people with measles:
  • Red eyes and sensitivity to light.
  • Symptoms resemble a common cold such as sore throat, dry cough and runny nose.
  • Limp and exhausted.
  • High fever.
  • Aches and pains.
  • Listlessness and loss of appetite.
  • Diarrhea or / and vomiting.
  • Small patches of grayish white in the mouth and throat.
Measles rash appears later than four days after the first symptoms and last about seven days. Initially will emerge from behind the ears, then spread to the head and neck, and eventually to the rest of the body. Initially, spotting small, but will grow quickly before patches were fused.

You should immediately contact a doctor, clinic, or the nearest hospital if you suspect your child has measles. Diagnosis of measles can be done by looking at a combination of symptoms that appear and through a saliva sample test.

Measles complication

Measles can lead to complications which can be fatal, although this is very rare. Infants and children with severe malnutrition to be the group most susceptible of contracting measles. Besides them, people who have poor immune conditions are also more vulnerable to contracting. For example AIDS patients, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, and patients with chronic diseases. Children over the age of 12 months and unconditioned healthy, rarely have complications.

Below is a complication of measles that can occur:
  • Seizures caused by fever.
  • eye infections
  • Middle ear infections.
  • Infections of the respiratory tract and lungs, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
  • Dehydration
  • Inflammation of the vocal cords.
As for the complications of measles are less common are:
  • Inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord or meningitis.
  • Brain infection or encephalitis.
  • Squint due to the impact of the virus on the nerves and muscles of the eye.
  • Hepatitis or liver infection.
  • Problems on the nervous system and heart.
  • Optic neuritis, or inflammation of the optic nerve that can cause permanent blindness

Measles treatment

The human immune system will naturally fight measles virus infection. There is no specific medication to deal with measles. The condition of patients usually get better without treatment within one to two weeks. Before the immune system fight viral infections, the condition of the body at first be uncomfortable due to symptoms experienced measles. There are several ways you can help the immune system in the fight against measles virus:

1. Increase fluid intake: Give plenty of water to avoid dehydration in children. Water consumption also can relieve itchy throat due to cough. Remember that when the body has a fever, the need for fluid increases.

2. Controlling fever and relieve pain: Ask your doctor to determine which medication is more appropriate dosage and expiry rules. Generally for adults who have a fever and pain, can be given paracetamol or ibuprofen. You can give paracetamol in liquid form for your child.

3. Overcoming eye pain occurring: Use a cotton cloth soaked in water to clean the dirt in the eyes during measles infection. Eyes with measles will become more sensitive to light. To overcome this, close the window with curtains or replacing dimmer lights at night.

4. Treating other symptoms: There will likely appear similar symptoms such as runny nose, or cough. You can consume a warm drink to relieve these symptoms. In addition, you can do therapy inhalation of vapors. For small children, you can bathe with warm water. Warm drinks containing lemon and honey can be given to young children. Keep in mind, for children under one year should not be given honey.

5. Be aware of the emergence of serious diseases: Be aware of the occurrence of complications that may arise when the body is fighting infection. The signs of the emergence of a more serious condition is:
  • Difficult awakened or decreased consciousness
  • Symptoms of dehydration such as dry mouth and lack of frequency of urination
  • coughing up blood
  • Seizures
  • confusion
  • hard to breathe
  • Pain in the chest, especially when breathing


The best way to prevent measles is to receive immunizations since childhood. There are two options for measles vaccination. A special measles vaccine given at the age of 9 months, 2 years and 6 years. This is the type of measles vaccine are included in the compulsory immunization by government advice. While measles vaccination incorporated in the MMR vaccine, given at age 15 months and again at the age of 5-6 years. MMR vaccination is, a combination vaccine for measles, mumps, and German measles.

A newborn baby will have antibodies to measles if the mother had suffered from measles or been vaccinated against measles before pregnancy. These antibodies provide protection for the first few months. So special measles vaccine or MMR given when the baby is older than half a year.

Both types of vaccinations against measles above, is not recommended for pregnant women in a state that has not been protected from measles. But for women who want to get pregnant and have never been exposed to measles, he could be vaccinated against measles. See your doctor to get more information about measles and its effects on pregnant women.

Measles is highly contagious. If you are suffering from measles, avoid crowded center at least four days after the appearance of the measles rash first time. This is important in order to avoid the spread of infection to others. Avoid direct contact with people who are susceptible to viral infections such as infants, small children, and pregnant women.
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Writen by: Mr Soed - Monday, May 11, 2015