Measles is a highly contagious airborne virus with 21 strains and while there is no cure at present, there are vaccines that can prevent you from contracting it.
There are two types of measles; rubeola and rubella (German measles). Rubeola is considered more common however if a pregnant woman contracts it, she will be at a greater risk for early delivery or a miscarriage.
- A dry cough
- A runny nose
- Inflamed eyes
- A sore throat
These symptoms will appear 6 – 14 days after your exposure to the virus.
Patients may get a 38 C – 40 C fever. Then, grey and white spots with a bluish centre appear inside the mouth followed by reddish-brown spots on the face and the upper neck. In three days, the rashes will spread down to the feet. After six to 10 days new rashes will not appear and it will start to heal.
- Eye infection
- Ear infections (which may lead to the permanent loss of hearing if left untreated)
- Respiratory tract infections (laryngitis and bronchitis)
It was found that one in 15 cases suffer from serious complications. Those who are unvaccinated, have vitamin A deficiency and a weak immune system typically experience these complications at a greater rate. Women who are planning to have a child or are already pregnant should talk to their doctor right away to know the safest and most effective way to make sure they have immunity from the disease.
Keep yourself hydrated
It’s common for patients to suffer from diarrhoea or frequent vomiting because of the disease, so you have to try and stay hydrated by drinking water or taking other re-hydration solutions.
Complications include different kinds of infection from the eyes, ears and even the respiratory tract so it’s important to take antibiotics for it not to worsen.
Take Vitamin A supplements
If the patient is deficient in Vitamin A, supplements may provide some assistance and prevent complications, however, this should only be done if recommended by your GP.
Cough medicine is unlikely to help with a measles cough but placing a bowl of warm water in the room or using a humidifier could help make it easier to breathe.
Dim the lights
Sufferers can develop a sensitivity to light so dimming the lights or keeping the room dark can help make them more comfortable.
Stay in isolation
The measles is a highly contagious disease and staying indoors prevents it from spreading. If you have family members who have not been vaccinated, they should not get close to you and vice versa.
Vaccination is your best defence against the measles and has been in use around the world for over 50 years.
Measles and Vaccination in Queensland
In the second week of March 2018, there was a report of a person with measles visiting Woolworths and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Many were worried that it would start an epidemic because the disease spreads very quickly. Aside from that, 70 people were diagnosed with measles in Queensland in 2014 — the highest in 17 years.
The National Immunisation Program has a free vaccination schedule for kids who are 12 – 18 months. Four-year-olds that have not received the second dose of their vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella will also receive it for free.
Queensland residents can go to Greg Keily Chemist to receive immunisations for Whooping Cough, Influenza, Measles, Mumps and Rubella. They have qualified pharmacists and are also a part of the Queensland Pharmacist Immunisation Pilot that allows patients to get vaccinated without having to book at their GP.