Complications, Prevention and Management of Measles Infection
Measles is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system, and its severe form can even lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, or death. This viral infection spreads when an infected person sneezes, coughs, talks, or through water droplets that spread in the air when you inhale those particles. In 2018, despite the vaccine being present more than 140,000 people died due to measles under the age of five. This viral infection can be prevented by vaccination. Talk to a specialist for infectious diseases if you have any concerns.
Healthy children and adults who get measles infection have a negligible risk of potentially life-threatening complications, and the majority make a full recovery. The following groups have an increased risk of complications:
- Young kids under the age of five,
- adults over 20 and
- pregnant women
- persons with a weaker immune system,
- those who are undernourished, and
- those who lack vitamin A
One or more problems are experienced by about 30% of measles patients. Measles can result in fatal consequences such as pneumonia and brain inflammation (encephalitis).
There may also be additional measles side effects, such as:
- hearing loss
- pregnancy issues, such as miscarriage or preterm delivery,
- severe diarrhea,
- blindness, and
- subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), a rare degenerative disorder of the brain system that manifests years after infection
- You are extremely rare to contract the disease more than once. Your body has built up immunity to the infection after contracting the virus.
Measles and its associated side effects, however, can be avoided with immunization. In addition to protecting you and your loved ones, vaccination also stops the measles virus from spreading throughout your neighborhood and infecting people who cannot receive the vaccine.
Treatment and prevention
There is no specific treatment for measles because they are not sensitive to antibiotics. Viruses and symptoms usually disappear on their own in 2 to 3 weeks. The only thing you need to focus on is rest, nutrition, diet, and drinking fluids. You can also take over-the-counter medications to reduce fever after consulting with the doctor. An oral rehydration solution can be used to prevent dehydration. A humidifier is recommended to ease your cough and sore throat.
In case of severe symptoms or to prevent complications, the doctor gives a measles vaccine within 72 hours (about 3 days) of exposure, a dose of immune proteins called immunoglobulin to boost your immune system, and two doses of vitamin A supplements to prevent vision damage. Vitamin A also reduces the number of measles deaths.
To prevent measles infection, you can follow these tips:
- Vaccinate your child with two doses of measles vaccination. It is 97% effective to prevent measles.
- Maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands before and after eating, using the bathroom, and before touching your face, mouth, and nose (especially when going outside to meet people).
- Don’t share your personal items such as toothbrushes, towels, eating utensils, or drinking glasses.
- Avoid making contact with sick people.
In case you have measles, then follow this:
- Stay at home. You can notice a rash on your body in 4 to 7 days.
- Avoid contact with people who are vulnerable to the infection such as old people, young children who are not vaccinated, or immunocompromised people.
- Cover your nose and mouth at the time of cough and sneezing. Dispose of all the tissues properly. If you don’t have a tissue, use your elbow, not your hand.
- Make sure to wash your hands properly and frequently to disinfect the surfaces or objects you touch frequently.
Looking for infectious disease specialists in New York? At Doral Health and Wellness, we have specialists for Infectious Diseases that can help you manage your condition. For more information, you can visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11212, or call us at 1-347-384-5690. You can also visit our website at https://doralhw.org or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries.