If you suspect your child having measles with a fine rash of tiny dots that spreads to the lower extremities, your first thought might be to head to the doctor. However, doing so will spread the virus to everyone you come in contact with, without knowing some precautions you can take. Measles is dangerous for unvaccinated infants and pregnant women. That is why it is crucial to call your pediatrician first and ask if your doctor can visit your child at home.
Measles is a very serious respiratory virus that is considered one of the “standard childhood disease”. Measles is a highly contagious viral disease which usually causes a full-body rash and respiratory.
When someone with the virus coughs or sneezes, contaminated droplets spread through the air and land on nearby surfaces. A person can catch the virus by inhaling these droplets or by touching them and then touching their face, mouth, eyes or ears.
Measles Signs and Symptoms
Once exposed to the virus, it can take 10 to 12 days for symptoms to appear. Your child can get the virus from someone who doesn’t even know they have measles yet.
The effects of measles in the body include cold-like symptoms, such as a fever, cough, runny nose, sore or red eyes and being more tired or lethargic than usual. After two or three days, a distinctive rash will appear. The rash is red and blotchy and starts on the head, before spreading to the rest of the body.
Most children who have measles are sick for less than a week and should start to feel better about two days after the rash appears. The cough may persist for two weeks.
Measles Can Be Prevented
The measles vaccination is a safe and effective way of protecting your child against this viral disease.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the MMR vaccine, which also includes protection against mumps and rubella, for all children at age 12-15 months, with a second dose before the start of kindergarten or at age 4-6 years old. Two doses are also recommended for healthcare providers and post-high school-aged young people or students headed off to college.
If you’re unsure that your child is protected against measles, try to find your child’s vaccination records or written documentation of measles immunity. Your pediatrician can also test your child’s immunity through a simple blood test.
Measles Treatment for Babies and Child
There’s no specific treatment for established measles infection. Treatment involves self-care to manage symptoms.
Take your child to your pediatrician.
It’s best to ring ahead in case your pediatrician needs to make arrangements to reduce the risk of measles spreading.
Paracetamol or Ibuprofen will help reduce fever. Follow instructions on the bottle or prescription from your pediatrician. Never use aspirin for children or teenagers, and do not use paracetamol for more few days without consulting your pediatrician.
Dress them lightly.
This will also reduce fever. If they feel cold and shaky, cover them up until the shakes stop and they feel comfortable, then remove the clothes and blankets again.
Isolate your child.
Your child cannot go to school or daycare until eight days after the rash first appears.
Give them fluids.
A fever can lead to dehydration, so offer your child water and other fluids often.
Use humidifiers or place a bowl of water.
Cough medicines will note relieve a measles cough. Humidifiers or placing a bowl of water in the room may help. If the child is over 12 months, a glass of water with a teaspoon of lemon juice and two teaspoons of honey may help. Do not give honey to infants.
Keep room darkened.
Keeping the lights dim or the room darkened may enhance comfort levels, as this disease increases sensitivity to light.
Give vitamin-A supplements.
These can help prevent complications, but they should only be taken with a doctor’s agreement.
Don’t forget to wash your hands carefully when caring for your child with measles.
Though some children with measles may need to be hospitalized, it’s possible to recover at home as long as your child doesn’t develop any complications.
Even in a regular, uncomplicated case of measles, you can have a fever of 103 to 105 degrees for five to seven days, and many people will need medical attention as they may be at risk for developing complications like an ear infection, diarrhea, pneumonia, or encephalitis.
Measles and its potential complications are preventable through vaccination. Vaccination not only protects you and your family but also prevents the measles virus from circulating in your community and affecting those who can’t be vaccinated.
Dr. Garcia and Dr. Caceres at Pediatric Associates California will provide you with quality pediatric services that include immunizations that follow the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Schedule your appointment today at (559) 728-4133 (Fresno office) or (559) 673-6085 (Madera Office).