Mumbai measles outbreak: Know early signs and preventive measures
The measles outbreak in Mumbai has spread panic among people across the country. According to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), as many as 13 deaths have been reported so far this year, with an 8-month-old succumbing to the disease on Wednesday. Read on to know the early signs and preventive measures that might help you protect your child from contracting this viral illness.
What causes measles?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), measles is caused by a virus from the paramyxovirus family. The virus spreads via air through respiratory droplets from sneezing and coughing. The virus infects immune cells which move throughout the body and release the virus particles into the blood. The spleen, lymph nodes, liver, thymus, skin, and lungs can all become infected with the virus.
Measles is highly contagious
Measles typically affects small children and is highly contagious. Children can contract measles if they breathe in contaminated air or touch their eyes, nose, or mouth after touching an infected surface. The measles virus can get passed on to others four days before and after rashes appear. Children are at a high risk of getting measles if they are not vaccinated.
Early signs of measles
The symptoms of measles take about a week or two to show up after contact with the virus. Symptoms typically include a runny nose, high fever, watery eyes, and coughing. Rashes also start appearing on the body of the affected child. The patient may also experience joint and muscle pain, sore throat, conjunctivitis, swollen lymph nodes, headache, and sensitivity to light.
Getting vaccinated is the only sure-shot way to prevent measles from spreading. However, it is also advisable to take care of the following: Clean hands before eating, after using the bathroom, and before touching the face, mouth, or nose. Make sure not to share personal items with people who may be contaminated. Do not come into contact with anyone who seems sick.
How can measles be treated?
Measles is a viral infection that does not respond to antibiotics. The virus must run its course which usually ends in two to three weeks following exposure to the virus. Immediately get your child to a doctor in case they have contracted the virus. Meanwhile, getting plenty of rest, drinking enough fluids, and gargling with salt water can bring some relief.