What Are Measles? Causes, Signs, Symptoms And Treatment

By Alley Benton
Updated April 20, 2017
Read our Disclaimer

What Are Measles? Causes, Signs, Symptoms And TreatmentMeasles, also known as rubeola, is a type of viral infection that affects the respiratory system. Measles is a highly contagious disease, which might spread through contact with infected saliva and mucus. An infected person can release the virus into the air around them when they sneeze or cough. The measles virus can live on surfaces for a number of hours, and as the infected particles enter the air and settle on various surfaces, those who come in contact with the virus can get infected.

Measles Causes:

At a basic level, it's important to note that measles is caused by infection from the rubeola virus. This virus lives within the mucus in the throat and nose of an infected adult or child. Infected people are often contagious for a period of at least four days before the typical rash that is associated with measles will appear, and they can continue to be infectious for four days after the rash has disappeared. Drinking from the same glass as someone who is infected with measles can lead to the spread of the disease, as well as sharing eating utensils. Unfortunately, measles is currently a leading cause of death in children.

Infection can occur by getting the virus spread through sneezing or coughing by an infected person, having physical contact with an infected person, or touching a surface that has had droplets of infected mucus on it. The virus can remain active away from the human body for two hours after being released by a sneeze or cough. Simply touching a contaminated surface and then rubbing your eyes or mouth could be enough to lead to infection.

Measles Symptoms and Signs of Measles:

The symptoms and signs associated with measles infections are varied, but they generally appear within 14 days from the start of exposure to the virus. The symptoms might include a cough, a fever, red eyes, sensitivity to light, runny nose, muscle achiness, sore throat, and white spots that cover the inside of the mouth.

Perhaps the most well known sign of measles is a widespread rash that seems to cover large portions of the infected person's skin. This rash can last for a period of up to seven days, and it often appears within the first three to five days of an infection with the virus. A measles rash, which can appear as itchy red bumps on the skin commonly develops throughout the head, and then gradually spreads into other parts of the body.

Measles Treatment:

If someone is diagnosed with measles, then it's important to stop the spread of infection as quickly as possible, and find ways to treat the symptoms of the virus. There's no prescription treatment or medication for treating measles, and the symptoms of the virus will often disappear by themselves within a matter of weeks. However, doctors may recommend the use of medications to relieve aches in the muscle and fever. Additionally, it's recommended that people with measles get plenty of fluids and rest, as well as vitamin A supplements.





* Disclaimer:
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.