Measles: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and treatment

Measles is a viral disease that rapidly spreads and causes fever and a skin rash. It is also called morbilli or rubeola. Measles is the fifth topmost cause of death and illness worldwide. The viruses of this disease live in the mucus of nose and throat and spread primarily through air by coughing, sneezing and direct contact with the affected person.  The virus can stay active in the air and on surfaces for about 2 hours.

Measles is very contagious, you have a 90% chance of getting it if you are not vaccinated and are in a room with someone else who has measles. This unpleasant condition normally passes without any treatment within 7-10 days. After this, a person gets immunity for the rest of life. It is improbable to get measles second time.


Measles symptoms appear 7-18 day after exposure to the causing virus. But before knowing you can spread it to others because it spreads very rapidly. The signs of measles include:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Sore and red eyes
  • Dry cough
  • Sleepiness
  • Bluish and red spots inside the mouth


Possible complications are:

  • Ear infection
  • Blindness
  • Pneumonia
  • Encephalitis (brain inflammation) which can cause brain damage or death.
  • Premature labor, low birth weight or miscarriage if catch this disease during pregnancy.
  • Respiratory infections


This highly contagious illness is caused by infection with rubeola virus, which lives in the mucus of the nose and throat of an infected individual. The infection mainly spread through:

  • Physical contact (with an infected person)
  • Being near an infected person
  • Touching surfaces that contain infected droplets


It is very important to diagnose measles early in order to prevent its complications and spreading. Measles can be diagnosed on the basis of symptoms and possible exposure to the virus. Healthcare provider can confirm the measles by:

  • Blood test
  • Urine test
  • Nasopharyngeal (back of nose and throat) swab.
  • Medical history and travel history
  • Physical examination



There is no specific treatment for measles.  In the case of no complications test and fluids are recommended to prevent dehydration. The treatments options include:

For fever:

If the temperature of the infected person is too high it should be kept cool but not too cool. Tylenol or ibuprofen can help to control aches, pain, and fever. canton urgent care


The dim lights or a darkened room may increase the comfort, like sensitivity to light is increased by measles.


Cough medicine may not relieve the measles cough. Placing a bowl of water in room or humidifiers may help.


A high fever can lead to dehydration so, plenty of fluids are recommended to prevent dehydration.


The Measles virus cannot be controlled through antibiotics but they may be prescribed in case of additional bacterial infection.


If someone has measles then the following precautions may help to protect the vulnerable family members and friends.


It is necessary to keep the nonimmunized people away from the infected person because this infection spreads easily. During this period the infected person should not be involved in the activities in which they interact with other people.


Vaccines are the best way to prevent the spread of measles. The MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine is 975 effective after two doses. For infants, the first dose is usually given between 12 and 15 months, while the second dose is typically given between 4 and 6 year age. Talk with child’s doctor before traveling abroad about getting measles vaccine earlier. The vaccine is effective for most people but should be taken by:

  • Pregnant women or plan to become pregnant.
  • People with serious allergies
  • People with a weakened immune system ( from diseases like tuberculosis and leukemia)

Most people recover within 2- weeks.

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