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What is it?
Measles is a contagious viral disease that causes a rash and fever. Although measles mainly affects children, it can occur at any age.

  • Measles has an incubation period of 7 to 14 days before symptoms appear.
  • The first symptoms are those of a cold-fever, runny nose, red watering eyes and cough.
  • A day or two later tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth.
  • This is followed by a red rash. It starts on the forehead and behind the ears. The spots gradually spread to the rest of the head and body.
  • The spots sometimes join to produce red. Blotchy areas.
  • The lymph glands may be enlarged.
  • After three to four days symptoms subside and the rash starts to fade.
  • Measles is infectious from the onset of the first symptoms until four days after the appearance of the rash.

Causes: A virus
Possible complications: Acute middle ear infection, pneumonia and discomfort.
Treatment in the home: Give plenty of fluids. Give paracetamol to reduce fever and discomfort.
When to consult a doctor: If your child develops any of the following signs in addition to the rash and fever. Unusual drowsiness, refuses to drink fluids, Earache, Abnormally fast or noisy breathing, Vomiting, Severe headache.
What the doctor may do: Examine the child to see if there are any complications. Prescribe a course of antibiotics if there is associated bacterial infection.