World Health Organization observes March 16 as Measles Immunization Day, aimed at providing awareness about this deadly disease.

Measles is highly contagious which mostly affects children and is caused due to a virus. There is no specific treatment plan available to treat the condition, however a vaccine would effectively prevent measles.

Kids who do not receive measles vaccine are the high risk of contracting measles. The disease is caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family and it spreads through touch and air. The virus first affects the respiratory tract before spreading throughout the body.

Signs and Symptoms:

The first signs of measles are high grade fever which begins 10 days after exposure to the virus and lasts up to 7 days.

Runny nose, cough, red and watery eyes, small spots inside the cheeks are few other initial symptoms.

A rash on face, upper neck, hand and feet last for a week before fading away.

Complications:

Measles caused major epidemics before it was invented in 1963. Measles deaths are caused due to complications associated with it. In severe cases, the deadly virus can cause blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhea, ear infections, respiratory issues and pneumonia.

Who Is At Risk:

Children under the age of 5 are at the high risk of measles.  Poorly nourished children suffering from deficiency of vitamin A are also prone to the infection.

Unvaccinated children are at the high risk and the virus is still rampant in developing and underdeveloped countries.

Prevention:

The only way to prevent measles is to get your child vaccinated. According to recent census, around 85% of the children worldwide receive one dose of the vaccination before turning one year old.

The vaccination resulted in the drop of measles deaths by 79% and has saved around 17.1 million young lives.

Measles vaccines are safe, affordable and are usually given along with rubella or mumps vaccine.  

Treatment:

There is no specific treatment available for treating measles. Complications can be avoided through good nutrition, antibiotics to treat ear, eye and lung problems associated with the virus.

Children diagnosed with measles should receive two doses of vitamin A supplements, in a period of 24 hours. It helps in restoring low levels of vitamin A and can prevent damage to the eyes. Studies reveal that vitamin A supplements have reduced number of deaths caused due to measles by 50%.