Symptoms of Measles gets resolved itself after 7 to 10 days. However, the doctor may prescribe medicines to relieve the symptoms. These includes:
- Medication for reducing fever
- Antibiotics in case if any bacterial infection develops like ear infection or pneumonia
- Vitamin A supplements
Some home-care measures which may help the patient are:
- Drink plenty of fluids like water, juice and herbal tea to prevent dehydration which occurs due to high fever and sweating
- Get adequate rest
- Use humidifier or steam inhalation for a sore throat and cough
- Give rest to your eyes by avoiding bright light or by wearing sunglasses. Also, stay away from reading or watching TV as it may strain your eyes.
Immunisation is the proven method of preventing Measles. Children are given MMR vaccine which protects them against three severe infections seen in childhood namely, Mumps, Measles and Rubella. This vaccine is given to children at 12 months age and then a second dose is given between the ages of four and six years. These two doses give them lifelong protection from measles.
Adults who haven’t been vaccinated should also get vaccinated as soon as possible.
If you have not been vaccinated, and you get exposed to measles, you should get vaccinated within 72 hours of exposure.
Since measles is a viral infection, there is no specific medical treatment for it. The disease runs its course which is about two weeks. The infected child/adult need a lot of rest, plenty of fluids and symptomatic treatment. They should be kept away from spreading the infection. Measles does not occur twice, so if you get infected once then, you are immune for life.
Complication of measles can be any of the following conditions:
- Ear Infection: Bacterial ear infection is the most common complication of measles.
- Laryngitis or Bronchitis: Measles may cause inflammation of larynx or lungs.
- Pneumonia: Lung infection can lead to pneumonia which can cause high fever, cough and difficulty in breathing.
- Encephalitis: This is a rare complication of Measles. It occurs due to inflammation of the brain that may cause convulsions, vomiting, coma or even death.
- Problems in pregnancy: Measles during pregnancy may lead to pregnancy loss, preterm labour or the birth of a low birth weight baby.
- Low platelet level: Measles can also lead to a decrease in platelets in the blood.
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- Miller D.L. Frequency of complications of Measles. Brit. Med. J. 1964; (2):75-78
- Measles Cases and Outbreaks. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html. Accessed on 20th June 2016.
- About Measles. Available at http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/measles.html#. Accessed on 20th June 2016.