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Measles: Symptoms and Treatment

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Biology
Wordcount: 1805 words Published: 16th Jul 2018

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  • Katie James

Measles are very contagious disease. They are spread by someone coming in contact with infected mucus and or salvia. An Infected piece of the virus can go through the air and settle on anything and any person in close contact will become infected. Children are more common to get the disease especially if they are not vaccinated. Some basic symptoms of measles include rash, watery eyes, dry cough and fever. It takes more than one week for the virus to get comfortable in the body. That means in can take several days for the symptoms to effect someone. The virus has no treatment. So its best to get the vaccine to protect oneself. If one does get the measles virus, limit the interactions with others, to prevent spreading the disease to someone else and contaminating surfaces. Doctors can usually diagnose a patient with measles disease when they find out the symptoms. Complications from measles can happen to people. There are common less severe complications, ear infection and more serious complications like brain damage. Once a person gets measles the can not get them more than once. The body will be immune from the measles for life.

Measles are a viral infection located in the respiratory system (Dawn M. 2013). Measles are a disease in which it is very highly contagious when in contact or exposed to. The measles virus can live on surfaces for many hours. Measles are mainly a childhood disease but it has no limit on age and people of any age can get measles. Measles can be described as an endemic disease which means it is frequently existing in a community and peoples body are able to put up a fight against the disease (Dawn M. 2013). The opposite would happen if measles go to a place where people have never been exposed, death and serious illness may affect the people who get the virus. Its important to identify the symptoms measles have on people and know the treatments and preventions available to people.

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How would someone be able to identify or know that they have the measles? The measles virus will enter the body and not show any signs of the body being affected by the disease until nine to even 14 days after the virus has entered (Mayo clinic staff, 2014). The most noticed sign of the measles is a skin rash. The rash look red and has itchy bumps. The rash can last up to seven days (“Measles”, 2016). The measles rash can show signs on the body within three to four days after the body has been exposed to the virus (“Measles,”2016). Most of the time the rash will begin on the head and behind the ears and it will slowly spread all over body, it may take two to three days for the rash to spread all over the body (“Measles”, 2016). The rashes red spots will eventually grow and combine together this will make the skin look very red and irritated. As time goes on the rash turns a brownish color (“Measles”, 2016). Measles rash can be very serious and cause a great amount of illness. Its important understand measles rash versus a rash caused by a different disease. The rash is only part of the measles virus. Fever is also a symptom of measles (Mayo clinic staff, 2014). The fever could be sever or just a mild one. The fever may drop and then rise again as the rash is spreading. Other symptoms of measles may include a running nose, body aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, a cough and a sore throat.(“Measles”, 2016) When a person has the measles they may be sensitive to the light. Red eyes, swollen eyes, the feeling of inflammation in the eyes and watery eye are all symptoms of having the measles (Mayo clinic staff, 2014). Also koplik’s spots will develop in side the mouth, cheeks and throat are all signs of measles (“Measles”, 2014) The spots in the mouth have a greyish, white color tent to them (“Measles”, 2014). If the symptoms of measles virus do not improve after a number of days, or all symptoms have went away except the fever if may very serious and a doctor should be contacted. Normally once the body is exposed to the virus, the immune system will make start making antibodies and help fight off the virus as well as give the body lifelong immunity against the measles virus. It is not highly expected for a person to get measles more than once. (Pommerville. J.C, 2016)

Diagnosing measles for a doctor is usually fairly easily if the signs and symptoms discussed are present in and on the body (Ryan K.J, 2010). If the doctor can not diagnose with certainty. They can order a blood test and this will be able to check the blood for the measles virus. Since measles are highly contagious, children should not return to school at least until five days have passed since the rash has appeared or longer if needed (Knott. D.L, 2014).

How does the measles virus and develop? How are the measeles transmitted? Right after the virus enters the body, the virus multiplies in the back of throat, lungs and the lymphatic system (Dawn. M, 2013). The virus likes to live in throat mucus and nose of the infected person (Dawn. M, 2013). A person is contagious usually four days before the measles rash will appear and is still contagious four to five days after the rash is on the body (“Measles”, 2014). It is not likely that a person will get measles twice. If a person has not been infected by measles before or if they have not been vaccinated, as soon as they come in close contact with an infected person they are really pushing it and are more then likely going to become ill (Mayo clinic staff, 2014). About ninety percent of people who are not vaccinated and live in the same house as someone who has measles will develop the measles virus (Dawn. M, 2013). The measles virus will spread from one person to many others. If a non infected person comes in physical contact with a person you is, they will get the virus. As well as if the non infected person touches anything that has been infected by the virus and then putting the hand in the mouth, rubbing nose and or mouth (Dawn. M, 2013). It can also be spread by a infected person coughing or sneezing around others who are not infected. The virus can stay active on surfaces for about two hours (Mayo clinic staff, 2014). Measles is disease the affects only humans, animals cannot spread or get the measles virus (Knott. D. L, 2015).

Measles are very contagious and its important to get the measles vaccine because measles can lead to serious complications. What are some complications of measles? More common complications can lead to eye infections, laryngitis and an ear infection causing earaches (Mayo clinic staff, 2014). Other complications include bronchitis, and decrease in blood platelets (Mayo clinic staff, 2014). These ones so far are not life threating but are still something to be aware of when having the measles virus. Less common but more serious illness that could come from measles could be brain inflammation and this can cause brain damage and death, it is not that likely but it is still a possibility (Ryan K. J, 2016). Difficulty breathing or having chest pains can be a complication (Ryan K. J 2016). The measles virus can affect nerves or muscles that lead the to eyes. If this happens a person may squint as a complication from the virus (Ryan K. J, 2016). Other serious complications could be blindness and having a preterm baby or even a miscarriage (Mayo clinic staff, 2014)

Once a person becomes infected by the measles virus, how is it treated? When it comes to the measles virus there is no certain treatment. There is no prescriptions of medication to give to a person infected by the measles virus. The virus symptoms will usually go away in two to three weeks ( Dawn M, 2013). Thought there is no way of treating the measles virus there are ways help relieve some of the symptoms. Getting plenty of rest will help your immune system. Taking an appropriate amount of Tylenol or I ibuprofen can help keep the fever down and relieve any body aces. Drinking a lot of fluids will help keep the fever down ( Mayo clinic staff, 2104). To help a sore throat or cough, a humidifier may give an ease to the throat. A person should stay in places that are not super bright to keeps they eyes from getting to inflamed. Taking vitamin A supplements are shown to help prevent serious complications from the measles virus (Measles, 2016). The treatment for the measles virus only eases the symptoms until the immune system of the body takes care of the infection.

Measles virus is not a pleasant virus to get. The best way someone can be preventive in not getting the measles virus is by getting the MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine is a three in one vaccine that prevents you from getting measles, as well as mumps and rubella (Pommerville. J.C, 2016). The immunizations people get help prevent an outbreak of the measles virus. Children are able to get the first MMR vaccine at the age of 1 years old ( Mayo clinic staff, 2014). They can get a second dose between the ages of four and six (Mayo clinic staff, 2014). If adult has not received the immunization they can always get vaccinated by a doctor. People who should not take the vaccine are women who are pregnant (Knott D.L,2015). Since measles are extremely contagious and there are no specified treatments to cure the measles virus, the most important and best way to stay clear of the virus is by prevention (Measles, 2016). Which is by a person getting a vaccine and eliminating the chance of becoming infected by the measles virus.


Dawn, M. (2013). Measles: History, Symptoms, Treatment, and Effects of the Vaccine. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Knott, D. L. (2015, March 02). Measles | Health. Retrieved March, 2017, from https://patient.info/health/measles-leaflet

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, May24). Measles. Retrieved March, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/measles/DSOO331

Measles (2016, March). Retrieved March, 2017, from http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en

Pommerville, J. C., & Alcamo, I. E. (2016). Fundamentals of microbiology (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Ryan, K. J. (2010). Sherris medical microbiology (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical.   


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