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Measles and your Child

Aug 17, 2007
Measles is also called rubeola and is a very contagious respiratory infection that is caused from a virus. Today it is not as common as it once was because we now have a measles vaccine, however, the cases of measles has risen over the last couple of years. The reason is that parents are not getting the measles vaccine for their pre-school children.

Symptoms of measles include a full body rash but the first symptoms that are noticed are a hacking cough, a runny nose, high fever, and watery red eyes. Pretty much the same symptoms you would notice with the flu. Some children have more measles on their body than other children and some even have them in their ears and mouth.

The rash looks like a red or reddish brown blotchy rash. They normally begin on the face and spread to the neck, then to the body and all the way to the feet.

Measles can be transmitted by a person that already has them by a simple cough or sneeze. Anyone that breathes in the same air after a cough or sneeze can catch measles.

The best way to protect your child against measles is by getting them vaccinated, however, this does not mean they will not get measles but the chances are slimmer and if they do it will be a mild case.

The measles vaccine is normally given at 12 to 15 months of age and again at age 4 to 6 years of age prior to entering public school. However, there are some children that should not receive the vaccine and they include children with active tuberculosis, lymphoma, leukemia, or any child that has a suppressed immune system.

Since measles is a virus, there is not much you can do to make it go away, it will run its course and then be gone. However, there are a few things you can do to make your child more comfortable.

You should watch your child and check them for fever. In some cases, measles can lead to other health problems such as bronchitis, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, conjunctivitis, croup, encephalitis, and myocarditis. Measles also lowers your child's resistance against ear infections.

For fever, you can give your child Tylenol or Motrin as directed. For itching, you can give them tepid oatmeal baths. You child should drink plenty of clear fluids such as fruit juice, water, and tea. They should rest and not return to school for 7 to 10 or until the fever and rash are completely gone.
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