What Are the Basics of Measles?

What is measles?

Measles is a contagious disease that attacks the respiratory system. Often, it occurs in children who have not been vaccinated.

If measles is untreated, it can trigger various complications including pneumonia and ear infections, and these complications can be life-threatening. However, a vaccine can help prevent people from having measles.


What are the signs and symptoms of measles?

Symptoms of measles occur within 10 to 14 days after the exposure to the measles virus, and they include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Red eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Red skin rash
  • White spots in the mouth
  • Sore throat


What is the cause of measles?

The cause of measles is a type of virus. If a child or an adult is infected, the virus will live in his or her nose and throat. After that, when he or she talks, coughs or sneezes, the droplets containing the virus can go into the air and spread among other people.

In some cases, the droplets can fly onto the surfaces. Then, if another person touches the droplets, he or she can also be infected as the person puts the hands in the mouth or rubs the eyes and the nose.


How to prevent measles?

A vaccine can help prevent measles. There is a kind of vaccine called MMR. MMR refers to measles, mumps and rubella. Therefore, this vaccine can help prevent these three diseases.

In the United States, newborn babies are often given the vaccine when they are 12 to 15 months old. Besides, they will get a booster shot before they go to school.


What are the treatments for measles?

Actually, there is no specific treatment for measles as drugs cannot kill measles virus.

If the patient has complications, the doctor may prescribe some medicines to treat these complications, including:

  • Tylenol or ibuprofen
    These can help control fever, ache and pain. What’s more, children and teenagers should not take aspirin.
  • Vitamin A
    This supplement can help reduce the severity of the condition.
  • Antibiotics
    If the patient has pneumonia or an ear infection, antibiotics can be helpful.


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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.