Treatment Options for Measles

Currently there is no treatment available for treating measles or curing measles, once you contact the disease. Treatment of measles is therefore, mainly symptomatic. For example, for treatment of fever, commonly used fever medications are used. Use of vitamin A is also reported to reduce severity of the symptoms. Symptomatic treatment for measles include,

  • Treatment of fever with fever medication is required. Over the counter fever medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen etc. are good for this. Aspirin, if use should be done with caution especially for children and teenagers, because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal problem, that may occur in children taking aspirin.
  • Vitamin A: it has been seen that individuals with low level of vitamin A develop severe form of measles. Hence, supplementation of vitamin A at the dose of 200,000 international units per dose for two days id recommended. This can help reduce severity of symptoms of measles in such individuals.
  • Antibiotics: many people may develop complications due to measles, such as ear infection. These people need antibiotic for ear infection, which is usually due to bacterial infection.

However, certain measures can be taken to protect individuals who are vulnerable to the disease who have been exposed to the disease. These include,

  • Post exposure vaccination: if you are not immunized against measles and get exposed to measles, you may take measles vaccine within 72 hours of exposure for protection against the disease. This can be used for adults as well as infants and children. After immunization, even if you develop the disease, it will be of milder nature and duration of the disease will also be shorter.
  • Immune serum globulin antibodies: individuals with weak immune system or pregnant women, infants who are exposed to measles infection may benefit from immune serum globulin antibody injection. If given within 6 days of exposure, these individuals may be able to prevent measles or at least have less severe infection.

What can increase risk of developing measles?

You may be at greater risk of developing measles if you have any of the following,

  • If you have not received measles vaccine you are at greater risk of developing measles.
  • If you have vitamin A deficiency, you have higher risk of measles infection. Also, the severity of symptoms are more in individuals with vitamin A deficiency.
  • If you travel from low infection region to an endemic region, you have greater risk of contracting measles, even if you are vaccinated. Because, measles vaccine is not 100% effective. It is effective in 91% after single dose of vaccine and 97% after two doses of vaccine.


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