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What Are the Most Common Signs of Measles in Babies?

Vaccinating against measles is suggested between the ages of one and two.
Red-rimmed eyes and photosensitivity may be signs of measles in a baby.
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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 31 August 2014
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Though most babies get vaccinated against measles, the few who get this condition are in danger of suffering from serious complications. This virus is quite contagious, but it can usually be treated using home remedies if it is caught early. Unfortunately, the earliest symptoms of measles in babies appear the same as cold symptoms, including a runny nose, cough, fever, and watery eyes that are rimmed with red. The next symptom is usually the appearance of white or red spots inside the mouth, called Koplik's spots. A skin rash may appear next, along with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and swollen lymph nodes.

The most common early symptom of measles in babies is an apparent cold that includes coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose. In fact, this virus is usually spread through the fluids that are forced out during sneezing or coughing, so it is important for affected people to cover their mouths. A fever is also often present during the early period of this virus. Some similar symptoms that are rare but possible include red-rimmed eyes and photosensitivity.

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Koplik's spots usually show up next, which are white or red bumps inside the mouth. They usually show up on the cheeks a few days after the cold symptoms appear. The next phase of measles in babies is typically a skin rash, which usually starts on the neck and face and travels down the rest of the baby's body. It may be accompanied by itchiness, and often makes the skin red and blotchy. Some rarer symptoms of measles in babies include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and even swollen lymph nodes, though these are usually observed in more severe cases.

Measles in babies may show up one to three weeks after exposure to the virus, and if not taken care of quickly, it can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis, or seizures. Any of these conditions can be quite dangerous for babies, which is why most are vaccinated against the measles, usually between the ages of one and two. It is important to note that while it is suggested to get immediate medical treatment for infants suffering from measles, there is no cure for this condition. The baby will need to stay hydrated since the measles is known to drain fluid from the body easily, requiring clothes and sheets to be changed frequently as the infected fluids come out. Additionally, a cool bath can help bring the fever down and relieve skin itchiness as the baby fights off the virus.

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