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Everything you need to
know about Measles

Measles is a virus-borne ailment. The measles virus can be found in nasal and throat mucous. It is transmitted by the air and direct touch with someone who has it. The virus can survive for up to two hours on surfaces and in the air.

It is extremely contagious. You have a 90% risk of getting measles if you haven’t been vaccinated and are in a room with someone who has it.

One of the factors that make measles so hazardous is that you can be contagious for up to four days before developing the rash. As a result, you could easily transmit the virus without even realising it. After the rash fades, you’ll be contagious for another four days.

Symptoms of Measles

Measles is normally spread out over a period of 2-3 weeks. You won’t show any symptoms for the first 10-14 days after coming into touch with the virus. This is the period of incubation.

After the incubation period has passed, a high fever is usually the first sign of infection. The fever will linger for four to seven days. You may have the following symptoms during that time:

  • Runny nose
  • Red eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Small white lumps in your mouth (doctors call these Koplik spots)

A red bumpy rash appears after these symptoms. It typically begins at the hairline and progresses to the neck, chest, limbs, feet, and hands. Your fever may reach 40 degrees Celcius (105 degrees Fahrenheit) or greater as it spreads. Finally, the rash fades from the top of your body to the bottom, beginning with your face.


You’re contagious to others for eight days, including the four days before and after your rash appears.


Your doctor will examine your rash attentively to determine whether you have measles. They’ll also search your mouth for little white Koplik spots. They may also perform a blood test to confirm it.


Measles is a contagious disease that spreads swiftly and readily. It can be contracted by being in close proximity to someone who has it. It spreads by coughs and sneezes. If you come into contact with any additional nasal or oral fluids from someone who has it, you’ll get it.

The virus can survive for up to two hours on surfaces. It can be picked up by contacting the surface and then rubbing your nose, eyes, or mouth.

If you do any of the following, your chances of having measles increase:

  • Aren’t vaccinated, especially if you’re a child or pregnant
  • Have you been out of the country?
  • If you live in a region where many individuals are unvaccinated, you should consider getting vaccinated.
  • Are vitamin A deficient
  • Have an immunodeficiency as a result of a medical condition or treatment


Measles has been steadily increasing over the last 5 years, In the United Kingdom, about 1 in 5 people who get measles end up in the hospital. The most serious issues affect children under the age of five and people over the age of twenty. These may include the following:

  • Infections in the ears. This is a relatively common bacterial-caused problem. These ear infections can sometimes result in irreversible hearing loss.
  • Bronchitis, laryngitis, or croup are all possible causes of measles. The measles virus frequently causes inflammation in your voice box or bronchial tubes, which are the airways that lead to your lungs.
  • Diarrhoea. Measles causes diarrhoea in less than one out of every ten people.
  • Pneumonia. A serious infection of the lungs is possible.
  • Encephalitis is a brain infection that can result in deafness and damage to the brain. Measles affects about 1 in 1,000 persons. You could get it immediately away or months later, depending on how severe your illness is.
  • Low birth weight, early birth, or even the mother’s death can all occur during pregnancy.

Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a relatively unusual condition that can occur seven to ten years after a person has had measles. SSPE is a deadly condition that affects the central nervous system.

When to call a doctor

If you or your child has come into contact with someone who has the measles, you should see your doctor very away. This is especially critical if you or your child belong to a group that is more prone to difficulties. A blood test to determine your immunity to measles may be recommended. You may also be offered rapid immunisation or a protective antibody injection if necessary (immunoglobulin). It’s a good idea to phone your doctor first or call 111. They will be able to advise you on what to do next.


Medicine will not cure you if you contract the measles virus (most medications do not destroy viruses). Drinking enough fluids and getting plenty of rest are the greatest ways to speed up your recovery and avoid issues.

Although there is no specific cure for measles, there are steps you may take if you suspect you’ve been exposed to it.

  • Vaccination after exposure. You can obtain a measles vaccination up to 72 hours after being exposed to the virus if you’ve never had one before. If you acquire it, the vaccine can reduce your odds of getting it and make your symptoms less severe if you do.
  • Immune serum globulin is a kind of immunoglobulin that is found in the blood. If you’re pregnant, extremely young, or have a condition that makes your immune system weak, this protein injection can help. It must be obtained within 6 days following virus exposure. The injection may either prevent measles or reduce the severity of your measles symptoms.

Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to help treat a bacterial illness caused by measles, such as an ear infection or pneumonia.

You can assist relieve your measles symptoms at home by doing the following:

  • NSAIDs that lower fever, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, or naproxen. Do not give aspirin to children
  • Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. Measles is more likely in children who have low vitamin A levels. It can be increased to make measles symptoms less severe
  • Rest
  • After fever and sweats, drink plenty of fluids to rehydrate yourself
  • For easy breathing, use a humidifier
  • To ease eye irritation caused by bright lights, utilise dim lights or sunglasses


You’ll be sick for a few weeks if you acquire the measles. Fortunately, it can be avoided.

Immunisation is by far the most effective strategy to stop the spread of measles. The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination has nearly eradicated the infection in the United Kingdom. That isn’t to say that no one gets measles anymore; it just isn’t as common. If you live in the United Kingdom and contract it, it was most likely brought in from another country.

After two doses, the MMR vaccine is 97% effective. Doctors recommend giving the first dose to children between the ages of 12 and 15 months, and the second dose at 3 years and 4 months.

Although MMR shot side effects are uncommon, you may experience:

A painful, red, or swollen region where the shot was administered


a minor rash

Pain or stiffness in your joints for a short period of time

The MMR vaccine might trigger a high temperature or convulsions in some people.

Autism is not caused by MMR immunisation. Many types of research have been conducted on the MMR vaccine and autism. There is no evidence of a relationship between the two in any of them.

The MMR vaccine should not be given to some persons. It’s possible that you’ll have to skip it if you have:

  • Any allergies to the ingredients
  • A disease that causes your immune system to deteriorate.
  • Immune system difficulties in the family
  • A condition that causes you to readily bruise or bleed.
  • Tuberculosis
  • In the last four weeks, I’ve had another immunisation.
  • Any ailment that is causing you to feel drained

If you’re pregnant, think you might be pregnant, or have just had a blood transfusion, you may need to postpone your MMR immunisation.

If you can’t get an MMR injection, you’ll need to take precautions to avoid infection. Make certain you:

  • Hands should be washed thoroughly and frequently with soap.
  • Any cuts or damaged flesh should be bandaged.
  • Maintain a safe distance between your hands and your face.
  • Don’t let other people use your utensils, napkins, or tissues.


In most cases, the prognosis is great. You’ll probably be immune for the rest of your life once the disease has passed. The outlook for long-term difficulties is less certain in cases when there are serious complications, and it varies case by case.