Diagnosis & treatment for children who have measle symptoms

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Measles is a highly contagious virus of the respiratory system which most commonly affects children. It usually clears up on its own, but in some rare cases, it can lead to serious complications & as such, should be diagnosed & monitored by a doctor. Most cases will clear up within ten days.

“Our team here at the Harley Health Centre reception will be happy to assist you in making an appointment for your child to come & see one of our GPs, & to answer any questions you may have. You can also use our online booking system.
During your appointment, the doctor will examine your child & discuss with you their symptoms & give you an assessment of what is going on. If you require medication, or further treatment & evaluation with a paedatrician, both referrals & prescriptions are included in the cost of your consultation. If you decide to go ahead with any medical testing that may be recommended, please note that this will cost extra, depending on the tests involved.”


“Thanks to widespread immunisation (with the MMR vaccine), the measles infection had been rare in recent years, but new figures show that it is on the rise again. The UK saw over 900 cases of measles in 2018, roughly three times the number of cases documented in 2017. Over 230 cases were reported in the first half of 2019, & in the same year, the World Health Organisation declared a global measles crisis.

Measles is a highly contagious, airborne infection, transmitted by the transfer of tiny droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

The most marked symptom of measles is a dense, reddish-brown, spotty rash that starts around the ears & then spreads to head, neck, & the rest of the body. This rash usually develops a few days after the onset of initial symptoms, which are similar to those of a cold or flu.

Other symptoms include:
fluctuating body temperature which can reach over 40.6C & last a number of days
tiny white or greyish spots in the mouth & throat
cold-like symptoms including runny nose, sneezing, swollen eyelids, red eyes
sensitivity to light
a harsh, dry or hacking cough
nausea or vomiting
aches & pains
overall feeling of unwellness
a reddish-brown rash which begins with small patches that quickly exp& in size & join

If your child shows signs of this rash, together with a high temperature, it is advised that you see a doctor. Although the majority of cases will clear up within a week or two, some cases of measles can last for several weeks, & may cause other problems such as ear infection, diarrhoea, croup, pneumonia, & encephalitis.

The best method of prevention for measles is immunisation. It is advised that both adults & children ensure that they have had two doses of the MMR vaccine to ensure their immunity.”


Is measles deadly?

It is extremely unlikely that a case of measles will be deadly (1 in 25,000 cases). It does have a range of potential complications, which are more likely the younger your child is, & if their immune system is compromised. Common complications include vomiting, diarrhoea & subsequent dehydration, eye, ear & chest infections. Less commonly, measles can affect the liver, optic nerve, heart, & nervous system.

Why do I need two doses of the MMR vaccine?

Your immunity increases by 4% with the second dose of the vaccine. One dose gives around 93% immunity, whereas with two doses, immunity is 97%.

Can I prevent measles?

Immunisation is the best way to prevent measles. If you are not immunised, but have been exposed to someone who has measles, an immediate vaccination could prevent you from contracting the infection. Speak to a doctor if you are unsure of your immunity.