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Commonly known as ‘choti mata’ Measles is one of the commonest Viral fevers with a rash. This potentially serious viral illness infects the respiratory tract. Measles is one of the most contagious diseases known

Sex or Age most Affected

All ages, but most common in children.

Signs & Symptons

Measles symptoms usually occur in the following sequence:

  • Fever, often 1020F and above.
  • Fatigue.
  • Appetite loss.
  • Sneezing and runny nose.
  • Harsh, hacking cough.
  • Red eyes and sensitivity to light.
  • Koplik spots (tiny white spots) in the mouth and throat – diagnostic.
  • Reddish rash on the forehead and around ears that spreads to the body.


Measles is caused by Rubeola virus infection that chiefly affects the skin and respiratory tract. The incubation period after exposure is 7 to 14 days.

Risk Increases With

  • Crowded or unsanitary living conditions.
  • Population groups that are not immunized.
  • Measles epidemics. The disease becomes more virulent as it spreadS.


  • Immunize children against measles.
  • If a child has not been immunized against measles and is exposed to it, a gamma globulin (antibodies) injection may prevent or reduce the severity of the disease


Diagnostic Measures

  • Observation of symptoms.
  • Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.

Possible Complications

  • Pneumonia.
  • Encephalitis or meningitis.

Probable Outcomes

A child who has been immunized against measles or has had the disease will probably never develop it.


General Measures

  • Don’t read books or watch TV during the first days when the eyes are sensitive to light.
  • Use steam inhalation to soothe the cough and thin lung secretions so they can be coughed up more easily.
  • Take morning and evening temperatures; keep a record. If the fever is 103F (39.4C) or higher, report it.


  • Your doctor will not prescribe antibiotics for measles, which is due to a virus. However, if complications arise, such as pneumonia or a middle-ear infection, antibiotics may be necessary.
  • Don’t give aspirin to a person younger than 16. Use acetaminophen instead to relieve discomfort and reduce fever. Some research shows a link between the use of aspirin in children during a virus illness and the development of Reye’s syndrome.



Rest until the fever and rash disappear. Encourage a child to rest, but don’t force it. Light activities are acceptable once eyes are not painful. Children should not return to school until 7 to 10 days after the fever and rash disappear.


No special diet. Give extra fluids, including water, tea and fruit juice. Maintaining an adequate fluid intake is very important in keeping lung secretions thin and preventing lung complications.

Contact your Doctor

  • Your child has symptoms of measles.

The following occurs during treatment:

  • High fever accompanied by a sore throat.
  • Severe headache, even several weeks after infection.
  • Earache.
  • Convulsion.
  • Excessive lethargy or drowsiness.
  • Breathing rate above 35 breaths-per minute or breathing difficulty.
  • Blue, gray or purple lips or nails.
  • Thick, discolored nasal discharge or sputum.
  • Cough that persists longer than 4 or 5 days.