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 and as such, should be diagnosed and monitored by a doctor. Most cases will disappear within ten days.
Thanks to immunisation (with the MMR vaccine), the measles infection has been rare in recent years, but new figures show that it is on the rise again, with over 2,000 cases recorded in England and Wales in 2012. It is airborne, 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 and then spreads to head, neck, and the rest of the body. Other symptoms include:
- fluctuating temperature which can reach over 40.6C and last a number of days
- tiny white spots in the mouth and throat
- cold-like symptoms including runny nose, sneezing, swollen eyelids, red eyes
- light sensitivity
- harsh, dry cough
- nausea or vomiting
- aches and pains, overall feeling of unwellness
- reddish-brown rash which begins with small patches that quickly expand in size and join
If your child shows signs of this rash, together with a high temperature, it is advised that you see a doctor.