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How To Recognize Measles And Its Symptoms

We all know about measles which is a highly infectious and contagious illness, leading to the characteristic measles rash, fever, red eyes and cough. Measles may sometimes lead to major complications including encephalitis which may also lead to loss of hearing at times. You can combat measles with suitable vaccination as well.

Knowing More About Measles

You should know more about the disease itself. It is airborne and caused by a virus, while being highly contagious. Measles symptoms may be seen roughly 8-12 days after exposure. They may stay for about 10-14 days on average. This condition is also known as rubeola, red measles or 10-day measles. German measles or rubella is different.

How German Measles is Different

Rubella and Rubeola do have some similarities. They have some common symptoms including sore throat, rashes and fever. Yet, the virus causing measles is different in comparison to the one leading to German measles. The latter is a serious condition for people who are pregnant since it may lead to unfortunate miscarriages or even birth defects for the baby. Both the viral ailments may be combated with vaccines. 

People at Risk of Measles

People without vaccination are more likely to suffer from measles. Before the availability of the vaccine, almost every other individual suffered from the condition. If someone has already had measles or received vaccination against the same, then he or she is more likely to develop immunity to the virus. 

Causes and Symptoms of Measles

Some of the symptoms include tiredness, red rashes, high fever, barky cough, runny nose, red eyes and even a sore throat along with white spots on the mouth, light sensitivity, muscle pain and more. The rash usually begins with red spots and moves down from the face, covering the entire body. White spots may also start appearing over the red ones. Measles happens due to the morbillivirus and spreads through droplets which are contaminated and also through the air when people talk, cough or sneeze. It happens with kissing, sharing food or drinks, to babies from pregnant mothers and holding/shaking hands or hugging individuals. 


Respiratory and airborne droplets may stay in a space even after someone affected with measles has left. It may require 6-21 days for developing these symptoms after the infection. This is known as the period of incubation and people remain contagious for approximately four days prior to developing a rash to approximately four days after the beginning of the rash in question. 

Testing and Diagnosis

Measles is diagnosed by most healthcare providers after a thorough examination. Laboratory tests may be directed for finding this virus in samples of secretions from the throat and nose, blood and urine. 

Measles Treatment and Management

Measles does not have any specific cure and the virus usually takes 10-14 days to disappear. You can also consume ibuprofen/acetaminophen for pains, aches, and fever along with getting sufficient rest. You can also consume sufficient fluids along with gargling with the help of salt water or avoid harsh light. 

Possible Complications

There are some complications which often impact people in the following categories: 

  • Children of the age of 5 or less. 
  • Adults who are 20 or more. 
  • Those with weaker immune systems. 
  • Pregnant individuals. 

Other measles complications include infections of the ears, diarrhea, pneumonia, encephalitis and even death at times. 


When is the measles vaccination required? 

There are usually two vaccine types for safeguarding against measles. These include the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and also the MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella) vaccines. 

What are some details about the two Measles vaccines? 

The MMR vaccine is often given via a couple of shots. The first one is provided at 12-15 months while the second one is provided at 4-5 years. If a child is not immunized, measles may be combated by getting the vaccine within three days of exposure to this virus. The MMRV vaccine is given to children between 12 months and 12 years. Children should get vaccinated between 12-15 months and then between 4-6 years. 

For whom is the measles vaccine not recommended? 

Those who are pregnant should not take the vaccine for measles. There could be other aspects or reasons as well. For instance, those with a disease affecting the immune system or any allergic responses to earlier vaccines should not get the measles vaccine. You should ideally wait to get your vaccine in such scenarios. You should always consult your doctor in this regard. 

What are the precautionary steps if there is any exposure to measles? 

The best solution for combating measles is vaccination. Those working in any healthcare centre should always have a protective kit including gowns, masks and other clothing while coming into contact with affected individuals and their bodily fluids. You should also wash your hands before and after wearing gloves. Those working in industries should avoid contact with sick individuals and the same applies to those working with children as well. 

What are some basics that you should know about measles? 

The overall outlook is positive for those with measles. Once the disease vanishes, the individual will have higher chances of not suffering from the same in the future. For cases with some complications, the scope of long-term problems may vary. You should also give it at least four days after the rash to return to school/work. Contact your doctor swiftly if you think that you have got exposure to someone suffering from measles. If any of you have measles and the symptoms worsen, then you should also call the doctor right away. 

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