Measles is a contagious viral disease, best seen in young children aged 1 to 3 years, although it may also affect infants more rarely. As a rule, it remains a benign disease, but it still requires medical supervision as a precaution.
Measles: why are infants rarely affected?
- Before the age of 6 months, cases of measles are very rare, because in the vast majority of cases, baby is still under the protection of maternal antibodies during this period. Of course, this protection is only possible if the mother has already contracted this disease in her childhood (contracting measles offers immunity for life against this disease, as for chickenpox and most so-called infantile diseases) or that she was vaccinated against the measles virus: which is the case of most women in France.
What are the symptoms of measles?
- The main symptom of measles is a rash accompanied by a high fever (usually over 39 degrees C). The red spots usually appear on the baby's face and neck before spreading to the trunk and then to the legs. Throughout the eruptive period, baby may also appear tired and grumpy, cough, runny nose and possibly other ENT disorders (eg conjunctivitis, otitis, angina) and / or digestive disorders such as diarrhea. In the majority of cases, the symptoms disappear within a week or so, with the exception of fatigue, which can still persist for ten days.
Measles of baby: what treatment?
- Measles or not, since the baby has a fever, always consult a pediatrician as a precaution. Even more so if the baby is also suffering from diarrhea, because measures must be put in place to prevent possible dehydration. In the majority of cases, the doctor prescribes a medication for paracetamol fever (by the way, paracetamol will also help relieve any sore throat). He may also recommend using ORS (oral rehydration solutes) for a few days and regularly clean the baby's nose with saline pods.
- In summary: most of the time, in case of measles, it is limited to relieve symptoms until the viral infection heals itself. However, in the presence of signs of bacterial superinfection (eg, otitis), antibiotics may also be required.
Measles: what prevention?
- Measles is a benign disease in the vast majority of cases, but more rarely, it can cause more or less serious complications. As prevention is better than cure, MMR (Rubella-Mumps-Measles) vaccination is strongly recommended for all children under 2 years of age: usually, the first injection is made at 12 months and the second at 16 to 18 months.