Though not spoken about as much today, catching the measles is still a reality for children as well as adults. Also known as rubeola, the measles are caused by the measles virus which is very contagious and brings a painful, spotty, red rash that starts on the face and spreads downward. It is accompanied by a fever, coughing, runny nose and watery eyes; in rare cases, pneumonia or an ear infection may develop. If not treated, it may bring fatal results or permanent brain damage.
Though the symptoms themselves may last a week on average, the process of catching this rash can occur over a period of time if not careful. It usually starts when a person with the measles virus coughs or sneezes into the air. The infected mist is contagious for at least two hours, whether it stays in the air or lands on a surface. The measles virus can be spread four days before getting a rash and four days afterward. A measles rash can appear almost two weeks after being exposed to the virus.
The best way to treat a measles rash is to use a cortisone cream or calamine lotion to relieve itching. Ibuprofen or aspirin may be taken to reduce fever along with plenty of fluids and bed rest. There is no actual cure but it can be prevented with a vaccine. The Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine can be given to children as young a one year. Anyone who has not received the MMR vaccine but anticipate traveling to Europe or other parts of the world are strongly encouraged to get a shot as there have been recent outbreaks in the United Kingdom. I personally had the measles when I was young and was told my fever was over 104 degrees. The vaccine was available a year later.