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Measles - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Measles?

Measles also known as Rubeola is a type of viral infection which affects the respiratory system. An infectious condition, this disease spreads when a person comes in contact with any infected saliva or mucus. It is also airborne in the sense that an infected person can release the virus in the air when they sneeze or cough.

Causes and Risk factors

The measles virus is able to live on the surface for several hours, causing the infected particles to remain in the air and as such any person within its vicinity may get infected. Sharing utensils like spoons, towels, brush etc. with an infected person increases the risk of infection. Studies showed that measles was the primary cause for death among children worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that most of the victims in its reports were children under the age of 5. The disease is found to mostly occur in unvaccinated children.

Some parents have a wrong notion that vaccination can lead to certain side effects in their children. It is not entirely true. Only in the rarest of cases the vaccine has been found to cause deafness, brain damage, coma, deafness and autistic characteristics.

Children who lack Vitamin A in their diet are at an increased risk of measles.

Diagnosing and Treating Measles

An experienced doctor would be able to tell the case by examining rashes on your skin and checking for characteristic symptoms of the disease such as whitish spots in and around the mouth, cough and sore throat. A blood test may be conducted for further affirmation. As such, there is no prescription medication to treat measles. The symptoms of the virus appear within two or three weeks. The doctor may prescribe medications and supplements to ease the symptoms and help your immune system.

Complications surrounding Measles

It is important to be administered a measles vaccine as the condition may lead to fatal repercussions if left untreated. Associated complications include ear infections, bronchitis, miscarriage, blindness, diarrhea and decreased blood platelets.

Treatable by medical professional Require medical diagnosis Lab test required Short-term: resolves within days to weeks Spread through the air or contaminated surfaces
Symptoms
Pain and inflammation in the ear Red rashes and red spots on the skin Coughing Puffy eyes Sneezing

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Measles: Symptoms and Treatments!

MBBS, Diploma In Dermatology And Venerology And Leprosy (DDVL)
Dermatologist, Chennai
Measles: Symptoms and Treatments!

Measles refer to an infection caused by a virus of the same. It mainly affects the respiratory system and its onset is accompanied by high fever, runny nose, frequent coughing and itchy rashes all over the face. It is extremely contagious and spreads through saliva or even mucus. This infection has several symptoms. Some of them are-

  1. Persistent coughing: Affecting the respiratory system, the onset of measles can be identified by persistent and a nagging cough, one that refuses to recuperate.
  2. Fever: As discussed above, if you are infected by the measles virus, chances are very high that you will suffer from extremely high fever. It is often accompanied by chills.
  3. Sore throat: The throat forms an important part of the respiratory system and if it is infected, its repercussions can be felt in the throat. You will have extreme difficulty in eating or swallowing food when suffering from measles.
  4. Small white spots develop inside the mouth: Sometimes you may notice outbreak of small white spots in the interior of your mouth. In case you do, do not take it lightly. This is an important symptom of measles and you must consult a doctor immediately. 

Notwithstanding the contagious nature of the infection, there are various treatments available in order to treat this infection. Some of them are-

  1. Acetaminophen: This is used to relieve one of fever as well as pain in the muscles.
  2. Take rest: Suffering from measles is an extremely uncomfortable situation and taking rest always helps. Your immune system, being infected by a virus is rattled and needs sufficient rest to recuperate. 
  3. Drink lots of water: Nothing can be an alternative to water. Therefore when suffering from measles, drink as much water as you can. Try to drink at least six to seven glasses of water, a day in order to purge your system.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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Measles - How They Affect You? + Treatment

FELLOWSHIP IN PCCM, FELLOW-PEDIATRIC FLEXIBLE BRONCHOSCOPY, FELLOWSHIP IN PEDIATRIC CARDIAC CRITICAL CARE, D.C.H., M.B.B.S
Pediatrician, Ahmedabad
Measles - How They Affect You? + Treatment

Measles or rubeola as it is also known is one of the leading causes of children’s death around the world. This viral infection is communicable through the air and spreads through contact with infected saliva and mucus. Thus, sharing cutlery or glassware with an infected person can increase a person’s risk of suffering from this disease. Thankfully measles can be prevented through vaccination known as MMR. This vaccination is given to infants and also protects them against mumps, rubella and chickenpox. The first dose of MMR vaccination is given when the child is about 1 year old and a booster dose is repeated when the child is 4-6 years old.

One of the most characteristic symptoms of measles is a reddish rash that begins inside the mouth and later erupts all over the body. This is usually preceded by a high fever, cold, cough, sore throat and swelling of the lymph nodes. Fatigue, diarrhoea and redness of the eyes are other symptoms of this disease. Measles symptoms are not apparent the moment a person is exposed to the virus. It can take 7 to 18 days for symptoms to become visible after catching the infection, this is known as the incubation period. Measles affects adults is a more severe way than children.

Children and adults with a weak immune system are highly susceptible to complications associated with measles. In some cases, it can lead to life threatening conditions, such as pneumonia and encephalitis or inflammation of the brain. Other complications associated with measles include ear infections, bronchitis, blindness and a sharp fall in platelet count. A pregnant woman suffering from measles also has a high risk of miscarrying the baby or preterm labour.

There is no definitive form of treating measles and doctors typically address the symptoms while prescribing medication. In most cases, the symptoms and the virus should disappear in two to three weeks. Some of the common forms of medicine prescribed to deal with measles are:

  1. Medication to relieve fever
  2. Antibiotics to prevent or treat accompanying bacterial infections
  3. Vitamin A supplements to reduce the severity of measles symptoms
  4. Pain relievers to deal with muscle pains

In addition, the patient needs plenty of rest and fluids to strengthen the immune system. The use of a humidifier can also help treat a sore throat and cough. Bright lights can aggravate headaches and irritation and hence should be avoided. Hence, avoid watching television and activities like reading. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a pediatrician.

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Chicken Pox - Should You be Immunized Against it?

DDF, FCCP, MD , MBBS
General Physician, Delhi
Chicken Pox - Should You be Immunized Against it?

Chickenpox or varicella is a type of viral infection that causes itchy rashes accompanied by tiny fluid-filled blisters. It is highly communicable to those who have not experienced this disease earlier or have not been immunized against it through vaccination. 

The vaccine against chickenpox is a shot protecting anyone, who has already contracted the disease. It is known as the varicella vaccine since chicken pox is triggered by the virus called varicella-zoster. The vaccine is prepared from a living but a weakened virus.

Why would you require a chicken pox virus?

  1. The risk behind the condition aggravating into something life threatening is high among adults, infants and people possessing a weak immunity system as they are prone to developing serious complications as well. There is no way you can predict who would be the next prey.
  2. The illness is extremely contagious and can get transmitted either through air while coughing or sneezing or by direct contact especially with the fluid present in the chicken pox blisters. For this reason, you need to stay segregated until and unless all your blisters have dried up or crusted over. The illness may induce itchy rashes all over your body along with fussiness, cough and headaches.
  3. The vaccine is recommended for all adults and adolescents who have not been infected by chicken pox ever earlier. A vaccine called MMRV offers a combined protection against varicella, rubella, mumps and measles.
  4. The vaccine has to be administered in two shots. However the medicines are not devoid of mild side effects,for instance, swelling in the region where you have been injected alongside mild rashes.

Who should not opt for the vaccine?

  1. Pregnant women since the effect of the vaccine on your fetus is yet to be unraveled
  2. People who are allergic to neomycin and gelatin ( a gelatin-free varicella vaccine is actually available)
  3. People suffering from diseases caused due to a weak immunity system or taking high dosage of steroids
  4. Cancer patients who have to be treated with chemotherapy, drugs and X-rays
  5. People who have had a blood transfusion in about five months before receiving the shot. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor.
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Pneumonia - How Best Can You Prevent Yourself?

MBBS, F.E.M-RCGP(UK)
General Physician, Gurgaon
Pneumonia - How Best Can You Prevent Yourself?

Pneumonia is a type of lung infection that may affect one or both lungs. In this condition, the air sacs, also known as alveoli, fill with pus or fluid, which makes it difficult to breathe. Moreover, pneumonia is known to cause inflammation in the air sacs. This disease may range from mild to life-threatening and the severity depends on the cause of inflammation, the organism fostering your infection, your age and general health. 

Symptoms:

Most common symptoms associated with the condition are:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shaking chills
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Rapid breathing
  • Dry cough
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing
  • Nausea 
  • Muscle aches
  • Bluish skin tone due to oxygen deficiency 
  • Blood in sputum that is coughed up mucus
  • Labored breathing
  • Confusion 
  • High fever

Causes

  1. Bacteria: One of the most common causes of pneumonia is the bacteria named as Streptococcus pneumoniae. This type of pneumonia may occur after you have had flu or a cold or maybe even on its own. Moreover, it may affect only one part of the lung i.e. the lobe and is also known as lobar pneumonia. 
  2. Viruses: Viruses are one of the main reasons why children below 5 years of age suffer from pneumonia. Viruses that cause pneumonia may also cause cold or flu. Viral pneumonia is usually mild and may be treated at home itself. However, in some cases, it may be very severe and life-threatening. 
  3. Mycoplasmas: Mycoplasma is a type of bacteria that doesn't have a cell wall around the cell membrane which is why they are usually unaffected by most antibiotics which target cell wall synthesis. The symptoms of pneumonia caused by mycoplasmas are mild and the patient does not require bed rest. This type of pneumonia is known as 'Walking Pneumonia'. 
  4. Fungi: People with weakened immune systems or chronic health problems usually develop pneumonia due to fungi. You may also develop fungal pneumonia by inhaling large doses of it mainly found in soil or bird droppings.

Prevention against Pneumonia

It is important for all of us to prevent ourselves from pneumonia and for that we can follow the below mentioned steps:

  1. Know about the symptoms of pneumonia first: It is difficult to detect or diagnose pneumonia, especially in people over the age of 65. In older patients, the common symptoms such as fever, chills, cough may not be experienced. You should watch out for non-respiratory symptoms like weakness, dizziness, delirium and confusion. It is even more difficult to diagnose pneumonia in people who are suffering from preexisting conditions.
  2. Practice good hygiene: Common respiratory Infections, influenza and cold may cause pneumonia. You should follow hygienic habits. Wash your hands regularly before meals and use hand sanitizers in order to prevent the illness from spreading. You should also maintain proper oral hygiene as several oral infections may also lead to pneumonia. You should also keep away from people who are affected by pneumonia or any other illness like flu, cold and serious diseases such as measles or chicken pox. All these factors may cause pneumonia.
  3. Get vaccinated: It is recommended for people of all ages who may be at a risk of getting pneumonia to get vaccinated and immunized against pneumonia causing virus called pneumococcal pneumonia. This is a one-time vaccine, which prevents and reduces the severity of pneumonia. A booster vaccine after every five years may also be prescribed. Elderly people should be vaccinated against all diseases which cause pneumonia.
  4. Quit smoking: Smoking accounts for being a major cause or risk factor for pneumonia. It increases a person’s chance of getting pneumonia as the lungs’ ability to defend themselves from the infection is reduced. By quitting smoking, you will be able to prevent pneumonia.
  5. Maintain a good general health: Maintaining an overall good health and following healthy habits will help you in preventing pneumonia. This is because your immune system stays strong and is able to fight efficiently against pneumonia-causing infections. A proper diet with all essential nutrients is also recommended along with regular physical exercise and proper rest.

Severe cases of pneumonia are capable of making you suffer and you may be admitted to a hospital. According to studies, it has been estimated that more than 60% of people over the age of 65 need to be hospitalised because of pneumonia. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a pulmonologist.

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