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Children's Health

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Bacterial and Viral Rashes


A paramyxovirus causes the measles. A safe and effective vaccine is available to prevent this disease, but outbreaks in people who have not been adequately vaccinated still happen.

  • Symptoms
    • The disease usually begins with nasal congestion, eye redness, swelling and tearing, cough, lethargy, and high fever.
    • On the third or fourth day of the illness, the child will develop a red rash on the face, which spreads rapidly and lasts about 7 days.
    • Another rash consisting of white spots inside the cheeks, may also develop.
  • Treatment
    • Once the disease begins, no medication treats measles. However, your doctor may offer treatments to care for cough, eye symptoms, and fever. Aspirin products cannot be used as they can cause a life-threatening condition called Reye syndrome.
    • Some children develop secondary bacterial infections of the middle ear, sinuses, lung and neck lymph nodes. These can be treated with antibiotics.
    • Children who have measles appear quite ill and are miserable, but the illness usually gets better without lasting ill effects within 7-10 days after symptoms started.
    • You can prevent your child from getting measles by making sure they receive the recommended vaccinations. The measles vaccine is part of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine given at age 12-15 months and repeated at age 4-6 years.


Rubella (German measles)

Rubella is a much milder disease in children that's also caused by a virus (Rubivirus). Symptoms may begin 14-21 days after exposure to the virus. If contracted in the womb, rubella is a much more serious disease, causing deafness, heart abnormalities, eye problems, retardation, and other conditions in the newborn.

  • Symptoms in children
    • Rubella begins with a pink/red rash on the face then spreads to the rest of the body and gets better in about 4 days.
    • Your child does not appear to be very ill but may develop swollen lymph nodes in the neck, especially behind the ears.
  • Prevention
    • Rubella is also easily prevented with an effective vaccine (the MMR).
    • Rubella can be very serious to an unborn child if the mother develops rubella early in her pregnancy. All women of childbearing age should have their immune status verified.


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