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measles - what to do if your child gets measles

(18 Posts)
feadie1 Sat 13-Apr-13 12:21:24

Hearing about the Swansea outbreak makes my heart go out to those parents as my DS had measles last year and its a really hard two weeks for all the family.
The worst thing I found is a lack of public information, or even medical advise around about how to care for your child if they do catch measles - its as if no one knows what to do anymore.
My son caught it (despite vaccine) and I really struggled to find information, and my Mum couldnt remember what to do - until someone loaned me a book which had loads of useful ways to make the child comfortable - its by Wendy Lyall called "Raising a vaccine free child"
It recommended letting the fever burn out without calpol, a long recovery period - once their spots have gone and keeping them in dim light even once the spots have gone - as otherwise their eyes can be damaged. I got sunglasses for my DS as even when we left the house weeks later his eyes hurt. Also keeping the child warm at all times is really important - not even letting them walk on a cold floor.
Anyway if anyone wants to talk I can share my experiences - as its really difficult seeing them being so ill and uncomfortable and that cough is awful.

feadie1 Sat 13-Apr-13 12:26:16

BTW the keeping warm bit is once the fever has gone - anyway the book explains it all much better

whomovedmychocolate Sat 13-Apr-13 13:06:04

Blimey you were unlucky for the vaccine not to take. Did he have both jabs?

blue22 Sat 13-Apr-13 13:19:22

What's the thinking behind letting a fever burn out? I wonder if that's true with other illnesses too. I often wonder if I'm too quick with the calpol.

LoveSewingBee Sat 13-Apr-13 13:58:25

The function of a fever, however:

- fevers can be very very dangerous in babies and any temperature over 38 degrees needs a trip to A&E as it can be life threatening in babies
- persistent fevers for more than 3 days need medical attention
- fever with lack of responsiveness or meningitis symptoms such as strong headache and/or stiff neck and/or aversion to light and/or non-blanching spots (may be just one or a few of these symptoms and not all of them) is a medical emergency

triballeader Sat 13-Apr-13 16:07:28

Avoiding drugs to reduce fever of measles?
Not a good idea when the fever of measles runs at 39.5C and can hit over 40C. If you were dealing with a lower fever then some of the vaccine had to have taken and made for a lesser form of measles.
I did not dare keep mine 'warm' as she was knocking over 39.8C before the fever broke. I kept her stripped off and under a sheet in a darkened room and as much fluid as she could drink with regular paracetamol to stop fever spikes.

Measles is a notifiable illness.
If you suspect anyone has it you should call your GP or out of hours service ASAP.
I had a home visit from the GP and two calls from the HPA to advice me on caring for my daughter.
It causes a nasty form of measles conjuctivities that makes light painful and you need to watch out for bacterial infection trying to muscle in. The cough that goes with it is horrible and nothing helps as its viral and the normal cough relief options tend to clash with the nausea and vomiting. Again watch for possible signs of a chest infection as measles tends to overwelm an immune system and then let a lot of gatecrashing bacteria join the party the virus started.
Measles is usually more serious in the under 5's and over teen's. Asking for medical advice if you suspect that is what you may be facing is wise.

Wolfiefan Sat 13-Apr-13 16:14:33

I had measles as a child (mother advised by GP not to vaccinate). Awful. Just awful. Come to think of it I had rubella, mumps and chicken pox too. My poor mum!
I have no lasting effects.
A very useful thread. I never thought of a vaccine not working. <Slightlyworried mum emoticon>I hope any affected children get well soon.

Elibean Sat 13-Apr-13 16:18:59

Bit of a change of tack, but on the subject of vaccinations not being 100% foolproof....there's been lots of (vaccinated) people with whooping cough near here recently.

I had no idea it was possible after vaccination. Though clearly a lot less likely. Ditto measles.

I had measles, as did my siblings. Dimly lit rooms, lots of calamine lotion and fever reducing meds. It was miserable, as were chicken pox, mumps, and (less so) rubella.

Elibean Sat 13-Apr-13 16:19:35

ps we all had measles because we were kids in the early 60s, not because of any anti vacc reasons.

AuntieStella Sat 13-Apr-13 16:22:31

If you think your DC might have measles;

Ring GP. It's a notifiable disease and they may want to swab to confirm diagnosis. They will advise whether to take in (if surgery layout permits - don't take suspected measles to a waiting room).

Ask for advice from practice about nursing care (most cases do not have complications, so its no different from any high fever). Ask what symptoms indicate secondary infections and/or complications and when/how to call for further medical assistance.

And if you need help holding your nerve, ring your Mum/Gran who may well have been parenting in pre-vax days and therefore know what you're going through.

secretscwirrels Sat 13-Apr-13 16:24:08

I had measles as a child in the 60s and remember being in a darkened room. I was left with some hearing loss as were many others. Everyone got measles then.

LoveSewingBee Sat 13-Apr-13 17:19:20

Dealing with fever.
All the advice, which takes into account the latest research which shows that fevers can be beneficial, actually says that fevers should be treated if they go above 38.9 C (and earlier if child is in pain or very young - if very young seek medical advice immediately) and that fevers above 40 C can be dangerous and if prolonged are likely to be a sign of a bacterial infection (most notably, but not solely, pneumonia).

The advice is also to let a child cool naturally, eg no blankets just a thin sheet, light or no clothes, room temperature of 18 C, etc. the NHS website has lots of advice. Also very important to keep the patient well hydrated.

cansu Sun 14-Apr-13 19:29:34

Dd has had measles recently. I really think you must get temperature down. She was much more comfortable when we got her temp under control with paracetamol. She had a temp of over 40 at one point and doctor advised us to give her suppositories as she couldn't swallow meds. As soon as she had these she improved. Natural cooling won't be enough for a fever like this. It is also essential to keep hydrated. Dd refused to drink so in the end I just had to squirt small amounts of water into her mouth with a medicine syringe until she was able to sip water from a cup. It was really awful to see her in such a state. She also sucked on a sponge which seemed to help her as her lips were sore and dry. I also bathed her head and eyes with lukewarm water and this seemed to help. I honestly think people think that measles is just a bit worse than chicken pox. It is much nastier. I was very surprised by how unwell dd was.

Karoleann Sun 14-Apr-13 22:18:09

I suspect any book called raising a vaccine free child, needs to be burned.

Dc1 caught measles about 6 months after his MMR. He was also very poorly, cansu gives some really good advice and we did a similar thing. There is absolutely no basis behind the burning out a fever rationale.
Having a high temperature makes you feel absolutely rubbish, we gave Dc1 calpol as often as we could.

He also had fairly bad conjunctivitis, which being viral is very difficult to treat. I ended up requesting some individual sachets (minims) of hypromellose (which is an ocular lubricant) and putting those in 3 times a day and that helped.

narmada Sun 14-Apr-13 23:43:49

What Karoleann says.

feadie1 Fri 19-Apr-13 20:33:03

Green tea works brilliantly for conjunctivitis. Tepid on cotton wool. Soothing and cleared it up quickly. Think normal tea good too.
I watched my ds temp and used nhs website as guideline so only gave him calpol when totally necessary. The fever seemed to help by zonking him out so he slept through the worst if it as well as i hoped the fever was helping his immune system fight it off.
I found oatmeal baths best for itchy skin and otherwise was shocked at how long it took him to get well again. Prob 2 more weeks after spots had gone to get him well enough for school

incywincyspideragain Sat 20-Apr-13 21:14:45

The NHS website - measles mentions vitamin a too, I think there have been several studies to show that this helps.

DoctorAnge Sat 20-Apr-13 21:33:25

Yes I remember it was rotten and the fevers were hallucinogenic.
The room must be kept dim and small sips of fluids are essential as it just burns out every ounce of hydration in your body.
The recovery time is really very long absolutely correct. You are convalescing for at the last 2 weeks from spots disappearing. You are left feeling like you've been hit by a truck. God I wouldn't want to nurse a baby through it sad
Interesting how many vaccinated children have got it regardless ...

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