Measles generally spread through contact or by staying in close proximity with someone infected. When someone with the virus sneezes or coughs, tiny droplets containing the virus get sprayed in the air.
The droplets stay active for two hours in the air, or on a surface, during which if any baby comes into contact he can get infected. Once the baby is infected, his movements must be restricted; otherwise, everyone else in the house may also pick up the infection.
Instances of measles have reduced nowadays, with compulsory vaccination being available for infants to that fight the disease. It is given when the baby is about 13 months old and is able to ward off measles and other diseases like mumps and rubella, with almost 90 to 95 percent efficacy.
Once infected, symptoms take up to 10 days to show up. Common symptoms of measles include:
- A runny nose and cough
- Fever of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
- Sore, red, and swollen eyes
- Small, white spots in the mouth called Koplik’s spots
- Red spots may also develop behind the baby’s ears, face, and neck
- Muscle pain and body aches
- Swollen eyelids and watery eyes
- Tiredness, irritability and a general lack of energy
Measles is a viral disease, and hence, antibiotics cannot be administered to remedy the illness. The virus needs to run its course once it has infected a healthy body.
Contact your doctor immediately so that medicines can be prescribed and the baby’s fever can be controlled.
Measles in most cases takes around a week to fully subside. Most cases are mild, but some can lead to complications like:
- Ear infections
- Eye infections
- Febrile convulsions
- Swollen throat (laryngitis)
- Pneumonia or Bronchitis
Some commonly used remedies that speeds up recovery are:
- Administering plenty of fluids to bring down the fever, prevent dehydration, and to keep the overall body temperature cool.
- Administering regular breastfeeds increases immunity; giving formula milk and extra cooled boiled water.
- Giving you baby paracetamol or infant ibuprofen to ease his fever and aches and pains. Make sure it is safe for your child’s age and is given under medical advice.
- Remember never to give aspirin to your baby whilst he is suffering from any viral illness. Its use in such cases has been associated with the development of Reye syndrome.