posted by admin on Dec 20

Measles have been one of the most frequent of the childhood diseases. The condition is quite infectious, and is accompanied usually by a rash, with fever, cough, and inflamed eyes. Measles are caused by a specific virus which spreads easily from one person to another.
From ten to fourteen days after a child has been in contact with another who has had measles, symptoms like those of a severe cold develop. The child becomes drowsy and irritable. The eyes water and look red and the child avoids light. The appetite is poor. By the end of the third or fourth day the rash appears with individual spots that are at first pinhead size and pale red but then enlarge, become elevated and a darker red. The eruption is seen first usually on the face, scalp, and behind the ears, but then gradually covers the whole body. The fever increases as the rash breaks out. After the second or third day the rash begins to fade, the temperature falls and after seven days, usually, the patient is on the way to complete recovery.

During the first few months of life the child often has immunity from measles by antibodies derived from its mother. As the immunity wears off the child becomes susceptible, and most cases occur in children three or four years old. The child may be injected with globulin which provides immunity against measles. In 1962 a vaccine useful to prevent measles was developed by Dr. John Enders based on isolation of the measles virus.
Since the development of antibiotic drugs secondary complications of measles are more easily controlled. During the acute illness the child is kept at rest, given plenty of fluids, such as citrus drinks, a soft diet and good nursing. For itching of the skin a calamine lotion is used. The eyes are protected against irritation. For more severe cases convalescent serum or gamma globulin may be used. Measles are not a serious disease except for very small babies. Prevention and control of pneumonia at the earliest sign is most important.

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