What is Measles

Measles is a contagious disease that affects the respiratory system. It is caused by a virus called Paramyxovirus. One has to note the point that the term measles is generally used to refer to English measles, which is different from the German measles. Many people use the term, ‘rubeolla’, to refer to measles and this should not be confused with Rubella which refers to German measles. The chances of kids contracting the infection are very high and it would be worth noting here that a person, who contracts measles once, will not get it again. A healthy person can contract measles if he comes in direct contact with the person who suffers from measles.

The main causes for measles are as follows. By living in the same house as that of the infected person, chances of measles spreading is very high. Cough, sneeze etc can cause the virus to be present in the air and get into a healthy person with ease. Contact with any kind of nose secretions from the infected person also can lead to showing up of the disease in a healthy person. In children who have deficiency of vitamins and who suffer from malnutrition, the chance of occurrence of measles is quite high.

The primary symptoms of this disease are seen in a week after the person is infected by the virus. Red and itchy spots form on the face, cheeks and areas around the neck. Small spots called ‘Koplik spots’ are also formed within the mouth on the inner side of the cheeks. High fever, cough, rashes on the skin etc are some other common symptoms of this ailment. The rashes remain on the skin for a period of a week and then leave behind brown spots.

The diagnosis of measles can be done when continuous fever is seen for more than three days along with cough or conjunctivitis. However, in children whose immune system is weakened by HIV/AIDS, it is required to take steps towards treatment at the earliest to avoid any possible risks. Specimens from respiratory tract and saliva are tested to confirm the presence of measles in the person before any step towards treatment is taken.

Treatment for this ailment mainly aims at reducing the fever. With ample rest and use of suitable food, measles can be gotten rid of within a week. However, it is to be noted that in some patients pneumonia is reported as a result of measles. Use of garlic oil can be done on the rashes to prevent infection of any kind. The intake of barley water and orange juice is said to be natural treatment for this ailment and helps in faster recovery.