Measles is one of the most dangerous diseases for children. This falls under viral infection of the body. However, the vaccination for the disease covers the major part of the risk but before the vaccine got invented, this was a disease that used to kill millions of children around the world every year. Being a viral disease, this is limited in its nature i.e. it lasts only for few days but it leaves the surviving children weakened for several months even after the disease is no more in the body.
Measles is viral disease and hence there is no perfect medicine available that can be sure-shot for the disease. Therefore, the best way to get rid of this disease is to prevent it rather than treating it. Fortunately, vaccine is available to fight against the disease.
Measles are also known as rubeola and is highly contagious. This is rarely a respiratory infection and it has tendency to go off with its own but it troubles a lot till the period it houses the human body.
This is due to the paramyxo virus that thrives in the air and therefore, the disease is also airborne. There are two three major ways to spread the disease. They are as follow…
- If a child comes in direct physical contact with another child who has the disease, then the child too has chances to get affected.
- The virus of this disease can live in sputum, phlegm and saliva of a child and therefore there are chances to spread if that infected child coughs, sneezes or spits.
- Rarely, but there are chances that the disease can spread even if a child is kept in isolation. This could be due to an air, which is also a career of the infection.
In Ayurveda, it is called as romantika. This is a disease caused by vitiation of two doshas of the body namely Pitta dosha and Kapha dosha. The fluctuation in either the Pitta or Kapha dosha will lead to the disease called as measles.
Once the paramyxo virus enters into child’s body, it takes ten to twelve days for its symptoms to occur clearly. The symptoms of measles are quite general and they follow a particular pattern in all affected children…
- Incubation period – this is the time lag between exposures to the virus to the actual culmination of the disease. It can last long up to 10-12 days. It is probably on the 14th day form exposure that the primary rashes on the skin begin to appear.
- Prodrome – prodrome sets in when an incubation period gets over or completed. This features of an onset of common cold like symptoms. A child will have a running nose and watery eyes. Fever begins after 1-2 days and temperature of the body may rise up to 103-104 degrees Fahrenheit. In some cases, it can be ocular complications like conjunctivitis.
- Appearance of the rashes – rashes start appearing one to two days after the common cold symptoms are shown. Rashes are generally pinkish and then darken rapidly. Koplik spots appear those are pinhead like macropapules. These spots may appear blue in color. The rashes usually begin on the cheeks and then continue to progress down to the trunk and then to limbs.
- Disappearance of rashes – nearly about three to four days later, the rashes begin to fade and then go away in a same fashion they got appeared. Once the rashes go away, there may or may not be fever in child’s body.
Measles is an airborne disease and hence, it is quite difficult to prevent. However, there are some precautions that can be very useful avoiding the disease to occur in the child. They are mentioned below
- keep the child away for the first three days of infection. Do not touch a child and while communicating with child, hold handkerchief around the nose. This will prevent the disease to spread to other children.
- Keep all the clothes, bed clothing and utensils well separated those are used by a child. Disinfect them regularly.
- Get vaccination done. This is the one and only best way to prevent measles.
The diet that is healthy will ensure that a child is well protected from the paramyxo virus as well as the side effects of the disease. Measles can cause severe dehydration within the body and therefore, the food must be supply for the loss of water. One should include lots of fresh fruit juices in the child’s diet especially citrus fruits like oranges, grapes, lemons and cantaloupes that contain high water.
Vitamin A rich foods are also to be given. This will build up the body’s resistance power against microorganisms. You can get Vitamin A in papaya and carrots and therefore, include these two items in food for a child.
As said earlier, this is a viral disease and therefore, no perfect treatment is available/invented that can be sure-shot for treating measles. What all we can do is make a child immunized against it. There is a vaccination available as MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) that can be given to a child for protection from the disease.
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