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Child diseases and conditions

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Measles

 

During childhood, this is a common infection and can be prevented with an injection of the measles vaccine. But, so far, this vaccine is not available in India and so measles is still considered as one of the diseases which a child has to have.

Measles starts with a fever, cough and cold. The eyes look red and the face flushed. After 4 or 5 days a fine, reddish rash appears first on the face, which later spreads to the rest of the body. The fever is highest at the height of the rash. After 2 days the rash begins to subside and the fever also begins to come down. And also gradually, the cough will also lessens. Sometimes, however, the fever increases instead of coming down, the cough gets worse and the breathing also becomes rapid. This might be due to pneumonia and a doctor should be consulted immediately.

Measles is considered as a visitation by a goddess and so no medical aid is sought lest the gods become angry. Some believe that complications can result if enough rash is not seen. People also believe that there are medicines which will, help bring out the rash. They even wrap up a child in blankets to help bring out the rash. These beliefs are not correct. Uncomplicated measles does not need any treatment except cool sponging, aspirin or a similar medicine or fever, a cough mixture to relieve cough and the repeated washing of eyes if there is any discharge.
Medical treatment should be given, if any complication occurs.

The usual hygiene should be maintained but there is no need to be dipping your hands in Dettol or Savlon every time you touch the child or anything belonging to him. There may be an occasion when a child in the family is rundown or has some other infection, and it would be risky for him to develop measles on top of that. It is better to prevent infection in a child less than a year old. In such cases an injection of gammaglobulin can be given under medical advice, either to modify the attack of measles or to prevent it altogether You should remember, however, that the effect of gammaglobulin lasts only 10-12 weeks, after which the child can get measles if he comes in contact with another child with measles.

 


 
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