Measles: Causes, symptoms and prevention

measles in children

Measles is a viral infection that roots from the respiratory system. The virus stays in the mucus of the nose and the throat and it is very contagious. The virus stays alive on a surface and the air for more than two hours. It gets spread through the air or coming in direct contact with an infected person. Measles is a highly contagious infection. If you are not vaccinated you have a 90% risk of contracting it if staying in the same room with a measles-infected person. 

Causes of measles

Being a contagious disease when the infected person sneezes, coughs or talks, infected droplets can fall on a surface or get spread in the air and people inhaling them can get the infection.

It has been found out that about 90% of the infection-prone people exposed to this virus will get infected.

Signs and symptoms of measles:

The very first sign of measles is a high fever. But it takes a minimum of 10-12 days to show up after you get exposed to the virus. The fever lasts for 4-7 days and during that time you will get other associated symptoms like:

  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Red eyes
  • Tiny white bumps inside your mouth
  • Rash that starts in the hairline and gradually recedes to the neck, back of ears, torso, limbs, feet, and palms

A fever can be due to a lot of reasons so the first symptom of fever is usually not a very distinctive feature of measles. Four days before you start getting the rash, you are contagious and any healthy person in contact with you might get the disease. Also, you must remember to stay away from people after the rash has subsided since you are contagious for four days after.

Measles can make you sick for a couple of weeks, but it is preventable.

(Know more about the essential vaccinations for your kids in details) 

How can measles be prevented?

The best way to prevent measles is by immunization. The MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine is the one meant for this condition. The measles virus is totally wiped out from the United States due to this immunization but people might still get it under various circumstances.

But only after 2 suggested doses of the vaccine, the MMR vaccine is 97% effective. The first dose of the vaccine is given when a child is 12-15 months old followed by the second dose of vaccine when they are between 4-6 years old.

Pregnant women, people with the weakened immune system and those having allergies cannot get the vaccination. So, they are always at a risk of getting the virus.

However, if you are already affected by measles it is better to stay isolated as the measles is a contagious disease. Four days before and four days after the rash breaks out, the infected person is highly contagious. They must stay out of people’s company during this period to avoid the spread of infection.

It is important that you vaccinate your kids properly and reducing their susceptibility of getting measles or any such infections. Immunization protects society. 


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