Measles is considered typically a childhood illness though adults can get the viral infection that can cause measles. The incidences of measles in the United States have dramatically inclined since children are immunized against measles, but some outbreaks occur. What do measles look like?
The most widely known characteristic of measles is the rash it causes. There are two common types of measles, red measles and German measles. The red measles, also known as the hard measles or 9-day measles, is caused by the rubeola virus. Red measles is sometimes given other names related to the length of time the person has the disease such as 7-day measles, 8-day measles, or 10-day measles.
The German measles is caused by the rubella virus. When “measles” is used in medical resources, it is usually referring to the red measles while the German measles are typically called rubella.
The rash associated with the red measles is little, red bumps that start on the face and spread to the trunk, arms, and legs. The person may develop gray spots on the inside of the mouth. After the measles infection clears, the skin may peel like skin peels after a sunburn.
The rash from the German measles is not as severe as that caused by the red measles. A German measles rash is large pink or light red blotches. The rash caused by measles from the rubella virus starts as pink spots that may form larger pink patches. Like the red measles, the rash from German measles starts on the face before spreading to the trunk. The measles symptoms can include pink eye, sensitivity to light, and a sore throat.
Both types of measles cause fever and rash. An infection of the rubeola virus can also cause pneumonia and encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain. If a pregnant woman contracts the German measles, it can cause birth defects. The unborn infant may develop heart , eye, or hearing defects. The fetus is also at risk for learning disorders and miscarriage. Adult women who contract German measles may experience joint pain.
Both types of measles are spread typically through coughing and sneezing. Treatment for the measles is similar to treatment for the flu. Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen is used to reduce the fever. The person may be instructed to get extra rest and drink plenty of fluids. An antibiotic is not usually prescribed unless the person also develops an ear infection or pneumonia.