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Measles (Rubeola) Overview

With vaccination being as common as it is, most people don’t know anything about the symptoms and treatment of measles. Measles, also known as rubeola, is an infectious viral disease that affects the respiratory system and occurs in winter and spring.

The most common symptoms of measles are fever, a hacking cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis, and a spreading rash. Measles can also cause serious complications.

The incubation period for measles is about 2 weeks from one’s exposure to the virus to the time the rash appears.

Most symptoms of measles subside 1 or 2 days after the rash begins, but the cough and rash often last 10-14 days.

Measles, like all viral diseases, cannot be treated by antibiotics. Also, like most viral illnesses, a measles infection can usually be left to run its course. Fortunately, most children and adults recover from within 2-3 weeks without developing any serious complications.

Usually, the only treatment that is required for measles sufferers is treatment of the symptoms with paracetamol, regular rinsing of the mouth, and plenty of fluids to drink.

Serious (but rare) complications can result from measles, such as diarrhea, croup, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, conjunctivitis, myocarditis, hepatitis, and brain inflammation (encephalitis). Immediate medical treatment should be obtained if there is sign of any of these occurring.

Measles can also make the body more susceptible to other diseases, such as ear infections or bacterial pneumonia.

The symptoms and complications of measles are usually more severe in adults.

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