Rubella

Signs, symptoms & treatment for cases of rubella in a child

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Rubella is a viral infection, also known as German measles. It is a mild disease, which passes quickly, & some infected people will not even know that they have it. The name Rubella comes from Latin & means ‘little red’.

When you bring your child in to see the GP for a consultation, the doctor will speak with you about their symptoms & past medical history. They will also perform a physical examination of your child, as well as recommending any tests or further investigations that may be warranted in order to confirm a diagnosis. If a prescription is required, this will be written for you on the same day. Prescriptions & referrals are both included in the price of your consultation

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Symptoms

The most prominent symptom of Rubella is a rash. It begins around two weeks after exposure to an infected person, & usually lasts for less than a week (three to five days). The rash is mild red, can be itchy, & consists of small, raised lesions. It usually starts on the face before spreading to the rest of the body (torso, arms, & legs). In very young children, rubella usually only causes a mild rash & some respiratory symptoms.

In addition to the rash, other symptoms of rubella include:
swollen lymph nodes (glands in the neck)
a body temperature of 38C or higher (fever)
feeling unwell generally
sore throat
fatigue & weakness
inflamed joints, joint pain (this symptom is more common in adult cases)
diarrhoea
a runny nose

Complications are possible with rubella, although these are more likely to occur in adult cases. It can be dangerous for pregnant women to contract rubella as it can lead to complications for the unborn child (known as congenital rubella syndrome). These can include cataracts, deafness, heart problems, learning difficulties, & birth defects. It can also cause miscarriage.

Rubella is contagious, & can be passed on similarly to a cough or cold, through inhaling the salivary droplets of an infected person, for example by breathing them in. A person with rubella is most contagious when their rash is first developing.

Treatment for rubella is largely supportive, but it is important to see a doctor if you suspect that your child has rubella, in order to manage potential complications, & to ensure that you have the correct diagnosis. If your child has rubella, the best way to support their recovery is with plenty of fluids & rest.

The best method of prevention for the rubella virus is the MMR vaccine (which covers measles, mumps, & rubella).