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Symptoms Of Measles

It is a common fact that many people die from measles every year. But, as a matter of fact, measles is an avoidable disease and all you required to stay safe from it is to take immunization which is widely available.

Generally, the first symptoms of measles are fatigue, dry cough, fever and a burning sensation in the eyes. The eyes can also become red and itchy and light annoys them. Another notable symptom is the appearance of fine white spots on a red base inside the mouth. These spots are as Koplik's spots by medical people. These symptoms appear about 4-5 days before the rash.

It is usually on the fifth day that the rash appears. Initially it will be pink in colour. These blemished, flat spots will become larger and darker red patches later. These rashes will appear on the neck, face, and behind the ears at first and later they will spread to the stomach, chest and finally to the arms and legs. They will be usually accompanied by mild itching and will last from 4 to 7 days.

Keep in mind that measles is a very infectious disease. It is spread through coming in contact with things that are infected by secretions from the mouth and the nose of the patient. The disease can spread starting from 3 to 4 days before the rash appears up to several days afterwards. But, the symptoms will only start to appear about 8 to 12 days after a person has been exposed to the virus. Measles require the infected person to be isolated so that it does not get passed to another person. Also make sure anyone who has to come in contact with the patient and who has never had measles should be vaccinated. However, immunization is not necessary for a person who has had measles as he already developed immunity to the virus automatically.

The prescriptions for measles generally include over-the-counter fever, pain and cough medications. Patients are advised to rest in a low lit room due to eye sensitivity to light.

If the patient is a child or a teenager, there is a possibility of Reye syndrome to occur and so do not use aspirin for a pain reliever although this is a rare situation.

Measles can have many complications and some of them are even life threatening. One very serious complication usually observed is encephalitis in which the brain becomes infected by the measles virus. This is rare but if it does occur, then life-support procedures and management of seizures may be necessary. Other complications are pneumonia, sore throats and ear infections.

Signs to watch for are sore throat, ear ache, bleeding from body orifices or into the skin, difficult or rapid breathing, vomiting, headache, excessive lethargy or convulsions. Make sure to get medical assistance immediately in case any one of these happens.

Preventing measles

As there is no cure for measles, the best thing to do is to prevent it by vaccinating people before they are exposed to the virus.

Some of these vaccines are made from inactivated or killed viruses or bacteria they are designed to protect against and others are made from certain products or parts of the attacker, but not the whole disease germ. Vaccines are also made from live viruses or bacteria that are specially weakened so that they cannot cause disease in the body. Such weakened strains of germs are called as attenuated.

How vaccines work

Vaccines work by tricking the body into building up protection against a particular disease-causing virus without actually exposing it to the danger of disease. It contains chemicals that are similar to parts or products of disease germs. When vaccination is done, the immune system recognizes these chemicals as "foreign" bodies and therefore produces antibodies against them. These antibodies will match up with parts of the real disease germs also and make them ineffective.

This will ensure that the person, who has received injections of measles vaccine, does not succumb to the disease even if the real measles viruses enter his body. The cells coated with antibodies in the person's bloodstream recognize the invader fast and neutralize it. Also, as these cells remember the antigen from the vaccination and produce measles antibodies in large quantities, they will attack the invading viruses and kill them before they can multiply to dangerous levels.


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