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February 12, 2024

Measles, a highly contagious viral infection, has been a significant public health concern for centuries. While the development of vaccines has made considerable strides in reducing its prevalence, occasional outbreaks still occur. 

What causes measles?

Measles is caused by the morbillivirus, an exceedingly contagious virus. It is an airborne disease, meaning it spreads via the air when an infected person breathes, coughs, sneezes, or speaks. 

It is transmitted through respiratory droplets, often when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can remain in the air for an extended period. This makes it highly contagious. Additionally, measles is extremely resilient, surviving on surfaces for several hours.

What are the signs of the measles?

Symptoms often appear eight to twelve days after being exposed to someone with measles. However, it has been reported that symptoms can appear up to 21 days following exposure.

The most common measles symptoms are:

·      Tiredness

·      A high fever

·      A barking cough

·      A runny nose

·      Red or bloodshot eyes

Several days after the onset of these symptoms, a red, blotchy rash will emerge. These spread from your face to cover your entire body. The rash typically persists for about seven to ten days. Other measles symptoms could include:

·      A painful throat

·      Muscle ache

·      White patches on your mouth

·      sensitivity to light

What are the complications of the measles?

Measles can cause a variety of problems, some of which are severe. Some persons are more likely to have complications, such as:

·      Pregnant women

·      Infants and toddlers

·      Adults aged 20 or older

·      People with impaired immune systems

The complications of measles include:

1.  Ear infections

Ear infections are among the most common measles complications.

2.  Vomiting and diarrhea

Vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration or the body to lose too much water.

3.  Pneumonia

Measles can lead to pneumonia, especially in individuals with weakened immune systems. In severe cases, this pneumonia can be life-threatening

4.  Encephalitis

About 1 in 1,000 people with measles can develop a complication called encephalitis. This condition involves irritation and swelling (inflammation) of the brain.

Pregnancy problems include:

·      low birth weight

·      preterm birth (in people who have measles during pregnancy)

Factors Increasing Measles Risk 

Factors that may increase the risk of measles include:

1.  Being unvaccinated: If you haven’t received the measles vaccine, your chances of contracting measles significantly increase.

2.  International Travel: Visiting countries where measles is prevalent raises the risk of getting infected.

3.  Vitamin A Deficiency: Insufficient vitamin A in your diet increases the likelihood of experiencing more severe measles symptoms and complications.

How is measles treated?

There is no cure for measles. The virus must complete its course, which typically takes 10 to 14 days.

You can control your symptoms as follows:

·      Get lots of rest.

·      Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or acetaminophen to treat aches, pains, and fever.

·      Gargle with salt water.

·      Drink plenty of fluids.

·      If your eyes are hurting, avoid strong light.

To avoid transmitting measles to others, stay home from work or keep your child home from school. After four days of having the rash, you can normally resume your normal activities. People in your family who have not been vaccinated are at risk of contracting measles and should avoid the infected person.

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