Measles is a highly infectious disease that usually occur in epidemics. Most adult have already had measles, so for them there is a little danger, for the disease rarely occurs twice in the same person. Measles usually begin with chills and fever, followed by hacking cough, running nose and eyes, and a general feeling of weakness and lassitude. After about three day large pink blotches appear on the skin of the face and neck, and also on the mucous membranes of the mouth. The rash looks like pink flakes of bran, and usually spreads all over the body.
At the height of the illness the temperature may go up to 104 degree Fahrenheits or more, and the child feels very ill. Usually there is swelling around the eyes, and the child may to protect his eyes from any strong light. He has a deep chest cough and suffers intensely from itching skin. Within two or three days the fever slowly comes down to normal and the rash fades leaving a brown discoloration which may continue for a wee or more.
Some cases of measles go on to more serious conditions, such as tonsillitis, pneumonia, and otitis media or midle ear disease. One rate but serious complication is ecephalitis, or inflimmation of the brain.
Keep the patient in bed, in a cool room, and protect his eyes from bright light. Give him some suitable cough syrup. If the skin is very itchy, apple calamine lotion several times a day. Keep the skin clean by frequent bathing. Nose drop are often beneficial in clearing the nasal passage and keeping the airways open. This will help protect the ears from infections, and prevent other complications in the throat. It is well to call your doctor, especially if the child has a deep cough, for pneumonia is one of the most frequent causes of death following measles.
Gamma globulin has proved of some benifit in protecting children who are weak or ill from some other causes. Best treatment of all is to prevent the disease from coming on by the use of measles vaccine. This is now available everywhere and all young children should be given the benifit of this full protection. However, if your children has already had measles, there is no point in giving him the vaccine. All other children should be protected inadvance.