MEASLES (Red Measles; Rubeola)
MEASLES (Red Measles; Rubeola)
DESCRIPTIONRed measles is a serious virus illness that infects the respiratory tract and skin. This is one of the most contagious diseases known. The skin, eyes, and upper-respiratory tract are involved. Red measles affects all ages but is most common in children.
Appropriate health care includes:
Home care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSTemperature of 102F (38.9C) or higher.
Loss of appetite.
Sneezing and runny nose.
Harsh, hacking cough.
Red eyes and sensitivity to light.
Koplik spots (tiny white spots) in the child's mouth and throat.
Reddish rash on the child's forehead and around the ears that spreads to the body.
Measles symptoms usually occur in the following sequence:
Measles is caused by a rubeola-virus infection that chiefly affects your child's skin and respiratory tract. The incubation period after exposure is 7 to 14 days.
RISK FACTORSCrowded or unsanitary living conditions.
Population groups that are not immunized.
Measles epidemics. The disease becomes more virulent as it spreads.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Immunize your child against measles. See Appendix 1 for the recommended schedule.
If your child has not been immunized against measles and is exposed to it, a gamma globulin (antibodies) injection may prevent or reduce the severity of the disease.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Blood counts by the laboratory (sometimes).
Encephalitis or meningitis.
PROBABLE OUTCOMEA child who has been immunized against measles or has had the disease will probably never develop it.
A child who has been passively immunized with gamma globulin is protected against measles for about 3 months.
Urge your child not to read books or watch TV during the first days when the eyes are sensitive to light.
Use a cool-mist humidifier to soothe the child's cough and to thin lung secretions so they can be coughed up more easily.
Take morning and evening temperatures; keep a record. If the child's fever is 103F (39.4C) or higher, reduce it. See Appendix 17, How to Reduce Your Child's Fever.
MEDICATIONYour doctor will not prescribe antibiotics for measles, which is a virus. However, if complications arise, such as pneumonia or a middle-ear infection, antibiotics may be necessary.
Don't give aspirin to a child younger than 16. Use acetaminophen instead to relieve discomfort and reduce fever. Some research shows a link between the use of aspirin in children during a virus illness and the development of Reye's syndrome.
Encourage your child to rest--but don't force it -- until the fever and rash disappear. Light activities are acceptable once the eyes are not painful. The child should not return to school until 7 to 10 days after the fever and rash disappear.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet. Your child should drink extra fluids, including water, tea, lemonade, cola, and fruit juice. Maintaining an adequate fluid intake is very important in keeping lung secretions thin and preventing lung complications.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Not until signs of infection have faded and when appetite has returned and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of measles.
The following occurs during treatment: temperature above 103F (39.4C), accompanied by a sore throat; severe headache; earache; convulsion; excessive lethargy or drowsiness; breathing rate above 35 breaths-per-minute, or breathing difficulty; blue, gray or purple lips or nails; thick, discolored nasal discharge or sputum; cough that persists longer than 4 or 5 days.