Measles Infection: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, & Prevention

Measles is a viral disease that can spread rapidly through the air. Otherwise known as Morbilli or Rubeola, measles is an endemic disease; and people with a weak immune system are most at risk.

Measles Infection

What are the Causes of Measles?

The infection with the rubeola virus causes measles. The virus lives in the throat or mucus of the nose of an infected person. It can also for two hours on an object. The infection spreads in the following ways:

  • An infected person can spread the infection into the air by coughing or sneezing.
  • Placing fingers into the mouth or rubbing the eyes or nose after touching a surface that contains droplets of mucus.
  • Physical contact with an infected person.

 What are the Symptoms of Measles?

The symptoms of measles include:

  • Fever
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Cough
  • Coryza or runny nose

Symptoms appear within 14 days of initial infection with the virus. Symptoms after initial infection may include:

  • Red eyes
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Light sensitivity
  • Sore throat
  • White spots inside the mouth
  • Muscle aches

Who is at risk for measles?

Measles can bring complications to:

  • People with AIDS, vitamin A deficiency, HIV, and leukemia
  • Young children and adults above 20 years
  • Patients with a weak immune system
  • Pregnant women

How to Diagnose Measles?

Your doctor can confirm measles by examining your skin rash and other symptoms. If your doctor is unable to confirm measles based on observation, they may ask you to go for a blood test to confirm the presence of the measles virus.

How to Treat Measles?

There is no particular treatment or medication to treat measles. The virus and symptoms disappear within two weeks. However, your doctor may recommend:

  • Vitamin A supplements
  • acetaminophen to relieve fever and muscle aches
  • plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
  • rest to boost your immune system
  • humidifier to ease a sore throat and cough

Preventing Measles Infection

Measles vaccination can prevent measles infection. People who have had measles already are immune, so, they do not need to get the vaccination again. People who are not immune should consider measles vaccination.

Measles Vaccination

In the United States, the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine is given to children. Children get two does of vaccination, one at 12 to 15 months of age and the second dose at 4 to 6 years of age. However, pregnant women and people with a serious allergy to an antibiotic, gelatin or neomycin should not take the vaccination. Consult your doctor before taking the vaccination.


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