All About Measles and How to Prevent it
Updated On Feb 06, 2023
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Measles is a potentially fatal viral infection that affects people of all ages, particularly children. Thousands of people are infected with the measles virus each year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 140,000 individuals and children lost their lives in 2018 due to measles. Furthermore, over 10,000 children across India were affected by measles in 2022, and of those, nearly 40 kids lost their lives. These numbers are enough to explain the need for prevention against measles. Read on to learn more about the causes of measles, its symptoms, how to prevent it, and other information in detail!
What Causes Measles?
Measles is an acute respiratory infection caused by “paramyxovirus.” It is one of the most contagious and life-threatening airborne diseases in the world. Primarily, the virus affects the respiratory system of an individual and further disperses throughout the body. It can potentially be a fatal disease that is likely to happen only in humans.
Signs and Symptoms of Measles
The primary warning signal for measles is a high fever, which usually happens after a week of being exposed to the virus. However, the other symptoms of the initial stage include a runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and tiny white patches inside the cheeks. With the passing of time, a rash may erupt on the face and upper neck of the measles patient. Further, the rash begins to spread to the hands and feet, which usually lasts for a week.
Above all, a person is at risk when there are certain complications associated with the disease. Generally, children below 5 years and adults above 30 years are more vulnerable to serious conditions.
Young children who are malnourished, particularly those with low vitamin A levels, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other illnesses, are more likely to develop severe measles. Furthermore, blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain enlargement), severe diarrhoea and associated dehydration, ear infections, or severe respiratory infections like pneumonia are among the most dangerous side effects.
How Can You Prevent Measles?
Listed below are some of the ways in which you can prevent measles.
- One of the best ways to prevent measles is vaccination. MMR and MMRV are the two types of vaccination available that can protect you against measles.
- Maintain good hand hygiene. Always wash your hands before and after eating, touching your face, mouth or nose.
- Don’t share your personal belongings like utensils, toothbrushes, or others with people who are already suffering from the disease.
- Always cover your mouth and nose in public places to avoid coming in contact with measles.
- Avoid coming in contact with people who are ill.
Who is at Risk of Getting Measles?
The danger of measles is higher in young children who have not had vaccinations and in pregnant women. Measles can sometimes be fatal for any person who is vaccinated but didn’t develop immunity to fight the virus. Particularly, measles is common in developing countries with low per capita income and weak health infrastructures.
What Can Be Done To Treat the Symptoms of Measles?
Here are a few measures that you can take to treat the symptoms of measles.
- Update your measles immunisation schedule immediately to slow down the spread of the virus.
- Wash your clothes in warm water and apply some lotions to get relief from itching on the rashes.
- Get a consultation with your doctor as soon as you show the symptoms of measles.
- Rest properly and avoid going to school or offices.
- Increase your intake of liquids such as water, fruit juice, or others to keep your body hydrated.
Measles is a serious health condition that can deplete all of your funds during treatment. Therefore, it is recommended that you buy a family floater health insurance policy that will provide coverage for you and your loved ones in case of any medical emergency arising in the future. There are numerous health insurance companies that provide different features and benefits under health plans. Thus, compare and choose wisely.