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Measles is a potentially serious, highly contagious infection caused by the measles virus.
Infection is easily transmitted by kissing or being coughed or sneezed upon by an infected person. The recent introduction of an effective vaccine against measles has greatly reduced the number of cases in many countries, though some developing nations continue to experience serious measles epidemics in children.
Symptoms of measles begin with a runny nose, cough, muscle aches, fatigue, and a slight fever, often accompanied by redness of the eyes and sensitivity to light. Later, the fever rises and a mildly itchy red rash develops on the face and spreads to the lower body. In severe cases, there may be high fever, convulsions, pneumonia, or severe diarrhea, and some severe cases can result in death.
Treatment of measles is aimed at minimizing discomfort as the symptoms develop. Since people with measles tend to run a high fever, reducing the temperature with a lukewarm bath can reduce aches and other discomforts.1 Adding mineral salts or oatmeal to the bath water may reduce the itchiness of the skin.2, 3 Because of their sensitivity to light, being in a room with dimmed lights will be soothing to the person with measles.
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.