Looking after a child with measles
There is no specific treatment for measles, treatment should be based on alleviating symptoms. As measles is caused by a virus, antibiotics are ineffective although these may be prescribed if a secondary bacterial infection develops. Your child’s immune system should fight off infection within a couple of weeks. If there are no complications due to measles, the symptoms will usually disappear within 7-10 days.
If your child has measles, there are several things you can do to help make them feel more comfortable, including:
Give your child plenty of liquids: This will help prevent dehydration. Give your child water, juice, or broth instead of sports drinks. They may need an oral rehydration solution (ORS). An ORS has the right amounts of water, salts, and sugar your child needs to replace body fluids.
Pain relief: Use liquid paracetamol or ibuprofen if necessary to relieve fever, aches and pains. Do not give aspirin to children under the age of 16. You must follow the dosage instructions on the bottle. It is dangerous to give more than the recommended dose.
Help your child rest: Your child should rest as much as possible and get plenty of sleep.
Use a humidifier: A cool mist humidifier will help loosen the mucus in your child’s throat and make it easier to breathe. It may also soothe your child’s cough. Alternatively, placing a bowl of water in the room will make the atmosphere more humid, which can help to relieve a cough.
Give your child healthy foods: Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. This will help your child feel better and have more energy. If they are not hungry or get tired easily, try feeding them smaller amounts more often.
Protect your child’s eyes: Keep the lights dim and close the curtains or give your child sunglasses to wear. This will help decrease pain caused by sensitivity to light.
Clean your childs eyes: Use damp cotton wool to clean away any crustiness around the eyes. Use one piece of cotton wool per wipe for each eye. Gently clean the eye from inner to outer lid.
Avoid the spread of germs: Keep your child away from others. They will need to stay home from school or daycare until four days from the start of the rash.
A doctor should be consulted if following a diagnosis of measles you are concerned about a deterioration in your child’s condition. As measles is highly contagious, you should ring ahead to the health care setting where you are taking your child, so that arrangements can be made to limit their contact with other patients. Hospital treatment may be required if serious complications develop.