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How to recognise measles in babies & kids

 
Would you recognise if your baby or kids had measles? We take a look at the symptoms of measles, treatment, preventing measles and how to get the MMR vaccine.
Would you recognise if your baby or kids had measles?

We take a look at the symptoms of measles, treatment, preventing measles and how to get the MMR vaccine.
 

How to recognise measles in babies & kids


Measles is a highly contagious viral disease which kills around 1 million kids worldwide each year.

It is passed on through droplets on the skin or by breathing in contaminated air.

Measles is particularly dangerous for babies or kids with underlying health problems or issues with their immune system.
 

Measles symptoms

 
  • The most infectious period for measles is 4 days before there are any noticeable changes to the skin. Meaning the disease is often passed around before there are any major signs of illness. 
 
  • A cold, runny nose, conjunctivitis, high temperature and cough usually appear at the very start of the illness.
 
  • Small white spots (known as koplik spots) will appear inside your baby's or kids mouth. They are usually surrounded with a faint red line but can be difficult to identify.
 
  • A red rash usually starts on your kids face and then spreads down their body. It might be blotchy in appearance and darker in some places than others.
 
  • It's likely your baby or kids will experience stomach ache, vomiting and nausea too.
 

Treating measles

 
  • If you suspect your baby or kids has measles you should contact your GP straight away who will perform a saliva test and be able to give you a proper diagnosis.
 
  • Depending on the severity of the case, your kids may be treated at home or admitted to hospital where they may receive anti-viral drugs and be closely monitored.
 
  • If left untreated, measles could lead to more serious complications for your baby or kids, such as deafness, meningitis, brain damage or in severe cases, death.
 

Preventing measles

   
  • Medical claims in the past reporting that the vaccine is linked to autism and crohn's disease have damaged parents' confidence in the MMR jab. Yet the evidence supporting these claims is still yet to be realised.
 
  • Babies and kids who have not had the MMR vaccine have a 90% chance of catching measles, leaving them at risk of becoming ill. 
 
  • The MMR vaccination is given in two stages - first when your baby is around 13 months old and then again as a booster prior to them starting school (between the ages of 3 and 5 years old).
 
  • In addition to measles, the MMR vaccine also protects your baby and kids from mumps and rubella.
 
  • It's difficult to determine whether your baby or kids will experience any side effects after having the MMR jab. As with all types of immunisation, the vaccine involves minuscule doses of the virus into the blood stream so the immune system can get to work to fight it off and develop long term immunity to measles, mumps and rubella.

If you have any concerns at all you should always talk to  your GP.

More kids health articles to enjoy Image source: Ministry of Health NZ
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