Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: 16th March marks Measles Immunisation Day, observed primarily to raise awareness about the illness and the importance of getting yourself immunised against it.
Measles is a viral disease and is communicable in nature, meaning it is contagious. It can spread through contact with infected mucus and saliva. The coughing or sneezing of an infected person can release the virus into the air and that virus can survive on surfaces for several hours, due to which, anyone within close proximity can become infected with it.
As a baby, you get a set of vaccines that aid you in resisting certain dieseases. One of those vaccines include the MMR vaccine, which is a combined drug injected into you to void off Measles, Mumps and Rubella.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measles remains a common disease in many parts of the world, including Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa.
Measles is one of the leading cause of death in children. Of the 139,300 global deaths related to measles in 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that most of the victims were under the age of 5.
As per a 2011 report of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 222 cases of measles. Mentioned below are points telling you all you need to know about the disease.
Symptoms of measles generally appear within 14 days of exposure to the virus. They include:
5. Sore throat
6. Runny nose
7. Sore eyes
8. Photophobia (discomfort when looking at light)
The diagnosis can be confirmed through examination of skin rash by the doctor and you can also be required to get a simple blood test. Besides this, the virus can also be detected in urine, throat or eye specimens.
There is no prescription medication or any specific antiviral treatment to treat measles. Complications like ear infection, bronchitis, miscarriage or preterm labor, decrease in blood platelets, blindness, severe diarrhea, etc., may require antibiotic treatment. However, your doctor may recommend:
1. Acetaminophen to relieve fever and muscle aches
2. Rest to help boost your immune system
3. Plenty of fluids (six to eight glasses of water a day)
4. Humidifier to ease a cough and sore throat
5. Vitamin A supplements
Like they say, prevention is better than cure, you can definitely keep the following basic points in mind and maintain better hygiene.
1. Get yourself vaccinated against measles (MMR vaccine) if your past vaccination records don't mention the MMR vaccine.
2. Wash your hands often. If soap and water aren’t available, clean your hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
3. Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
4. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
5. Try to avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups, with people who are sick.