What is it?
German measles is a mild contagious disease, characterized by low fever and a rash.
Symptoms: There is an incubation period of between 14 and 21 days before the symptoms appear. Sometimes the glands behind the ears and in the neck are swollen. A flat pink rash starts on the first or second day. The rash starts on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body. After two or three days the rash disappears. Infectious from seven days before the rash appears until four days after.
Causes: A virus
Treatment in the home: Keep your child at home to avoid infecting others. If necessary give paracetamol to reduce fever.
Possible complications: Stiff, swollen joints in older children and adults. May cause damage to an unborn child if the pregnant women is not immune.
When to consult a doctor: If the joints become swollen and painful. If you are pregnant.
What the doctor may do: Examine the swollen joint(s) and prescribe antibiotic treatment. Give advice on exercising the affected joint to prevent it from becoming permanently stiff.
Pregnancy: Take a blood test to confirm the diagnosis, since several other viruses cause symptoms similar to German measles. If the diagnosis is confirmed, you will be given the opportunity to have the pregnancy terminated, thus avoiding the risk of giving birth to a handicapped child.