Video:How to Identify Measles in a Childwith Dr. Danelle Fisher
Learning how to identify measles in a child is easier than you may think. Watch this About.com video to see tips for figuring out whether or not the child has measles.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Identify Measles in a Child
Hi I'm Dr. Danelle Fisher, Board Certified Pediatrician with www.WestchesterPeds.com and I'm here today for About.com to talk to you about how to identify measles in a child.
Measles is a disease caused by the measles virus. Measles used to be a common childhood disease, but since the introduction of the measles vaccination in the late 1960's it has become a lot less common.
How can you tell if your child has measles? Symptoms begin with a fever for 4 days, sometimes up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, runny nose, sore throat and red watery eyes or conjunctivitis. After 2-3 days a rash appears inside the mouth called Koplik's spots. These are white bumps on a reddish background on the inside of the cheeks. After 3-5 days a red rash starts on the face and works its way down the body.
Are Measles Contagious?
Measles is a highly contagious disease spread by respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing. Measles is so contagious that an infected person will pass it on to 90% of his or her household contacts that are not immune. A person with measles is contagious for 2-4 days before symptoms start, and for 2-5 days after the start of the rash.
The diagnosis of measles is usually made based on symptoms, especially if Koplik's spots are seen. There are laboratory tests for the measles virus that check respiratory specimens, blood or saliva but these tests are rarely performed. Measles is a viral illness with no specific treatment. The symptoms may be treated with over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the fever. Lots of fluids and rest will help. The best treatment is prevention and the best prevention is with a vaccination for measles.
This vaccine is combined with a vaccination for mumps and rubella and is called MMR. The vaccine is given to children in two doses. The first dose, given at 12-15 months of age, is 97% effective against measles. The second dose, given at 4-6 years of age, is up to 100% effective against measles. Other forms of prevention include good hand-washing, covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, frequent cleaning of surfaces that are touched often, and staying away from others when you are sick.
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