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how 'bad' are measles?

(27 Posts)
TracyK Thu 17-Mar-05 19:01:10

It seems to be a 'killer' disease these days - but as far as i remember - it was just another illness like flu or chickenpox when I was a child.
Has it got worse/is my memory wrong?

bundle Thu 17-Mar-05 19:05:34

measles is a terrible disease, i had it very badly as a child and remember the rheumatic pains i had in my legs for ages afterwards. half a million children die every year from measles, but obviously most of them are in developing countries.

tamum Thu 17-Mar-05 19:09:37

I was like bundle, it was awful. I had dreadful light sensitivity and was in a dark room for a couple of weeks. It's the most ill I've ever been, I think, and definitely far worse than CP.

bundle Thu 17-Mar-05 19:10:26

mind you, tamum, i had chickenpox pretty badly too (as an adult )

vict17 Thu 17-Mar-05 19:10:29

a woman I work with is deaf in one ear due to measles

tamum Thu 17-Mar-05 19:11:19

Good point bundle, I was only about 7 when I had CP. Dd was certainly extremely ill with it, so I should know better.

happymerryberries Thu 17-Mar-05 19:12:49

I was very ill with it. It is the illest I have ever been in my life (and I have had a mastoid and quinsynone of which was fun either). I had it just before cp (Honestly my luck!). I had a bumper dose of CP (down my throat even) and it was a walk in the park compared to measles. My poor vision has been blamed on it

bundle Thu 17-Mar-05 19:12:53

and i think i "gave" dd1 chickenpox when my virus emerged as a "shingle" (sure it was singular) a few years back when i was v stressed. thinking back i remember that itchy blister on my tummy v well and hey presto dd1 got cp and passed them onto the whole nursery...ooops

tamum Thu 17-Mar-05 19:14:20

I was just wondering what a quinsyone was hmb

happymerryberries Thu 17-Mar-05 19:15:13

It leaves you with a strange inabilty to type....Cod must have had it!!!

Twiglett Thu 17-Mar-05 19:15:40

it used to be termed a 'mild childhood illness'

I don't remember having it, but know that I did

Now I remember having mumps and how painful that was

tamum Thu 17-Mar-05 19:15:52

It's obviously been transmitted through MN

Polina Thu 17-Mar-05 19:18:45

I had what my mum assures me was an "average" case - but by the sound of things I got away really lightly! I had light sensitivity and a vile temperature for a couple of days, but then it was largely just a case of getting better and enjoying the compulsory 2 weeks off school! It certainly wasn't anything like the worst thing I have had - but I was eight when I had measles, and had already had double pneumonia and other jollies. As I am sufficiently old to be pre-vaccine, my whole school had it and the only two to have long term damage were the two who had the old vaccine (not the MMR!!!!!) but it was just something we accepted we would probably get.

I'm sure I read somewhere that good diet particularly in vitamin A levels were very important in fighting off measles, hence the greater incidence of problems in developing countries - does anyone know if this is true?

bundle Thu 17-Mar-05 19:21:49


Vitamin A and Measles

The use of vitamin A can greatly benefit children with severe measles. The July 19, 1990 (Vol. 323 No. 3) New England Journal of Medicine contains an article entitled "A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Vitamin A in Children with Severe Measles."

Although this common childhood disease often just "comes and goes," the fact is that many children become seriously ill from measles. Also, the disease kills about 2 million children a year. This study shows that the use of vitamin A supplements can have a dramatic impact on this disease, including a decrease in the length of the disease, reduced side effects (pneumonia, diarrhea and croup) and a reduced death rate.

Although this is the first major study on the use of vitamin A in measles, vitamin A therapy for bacterial, viral and protozoan infections has been known and used (although not widely) for many years.

A simple blood test may detect low vitamin A. However, the authors of this report say that "all children with severe measles should be given vitamin A supplements, whether or not they are thought to have a nutritional deficiency."

lockets Thu 17-Mar-05 19:27:07

Message withdrawn

Jimjams Thu 17-Mar-05 19:38:57

I had it aged 8. I remember feeling dreadful for about 2 days- retching in a bowl sticks in my memory. then I remember 2 weeks off school, playing with my friend who was off with whooping cough.

My mum is deaf in one ear because of measles (but she still says don't you dare give ds2 or ds3 the jab )

We were talking about measles at the last homeopahty study day I went to. My homeopath was monaing that there isn't enough measles around for her children to catch it- measles is seen as an important disease to catch by classical homeopaths. But she did say "of course we shouldn't be too blase as it can be nasty".

I have a family health book written by a consultant paed published in the 1980's and it describes measles as something like a "common self-limiting childhood illness which is usually mild". It then goes onto say something like "the only worry is the complications but these can usually be treated by antibiotics". That (very orthodox) book was probably more blase than the homeopath

Whenever the boys have anything that remotely suggests measles I shove cod liver oil into them for the vitamin A.

Apparently autistics are often low in vitamin A- always made me wonder whether that has something to do with the whole MMR thing and an atypical response to measles infection.

Jimjams Thu 17-Mar-05 19:45:04

You need to get measles at the right time though. Not good to get it pre 2 (definitely not pre 1) or once puberty has started.

Anthroposophical doctors for example (Steiner ones- funny mix of othodox and alternative) recommend not vaccinating unless you don't catch it by 9ish- then they say to have the jab.

huppa Thu 17-Mar-05 19:46:00

I´m in Germany and last week there was a case of a 14 year old girl who had died from measles. The levels of people vaccinated here are generally lower than at home and I think I read that about 11,000 people had measles last year, but not sure how this relates to rates in the U.K.

MissGalway Thu 17-Mar-05 20:04:18

bundle Thu 17-Mar-05 20:08:02

that's interesting jimjams re: vitamin a, i met someone who's doing a massive study re: vit a and pregnancy in developing countries, they're giving supplements (though obviously not to levels we are warned about in this country, just say equivalent to an egg 2 or 3 times a week) and it looks promising, similar to the studies done in undernourished children to boost their immune response.

steppemum Thu 17-Mar-05 23:24:46

The thing about measles is that it can leave you deaf and blind, and even with brain damage. Do you remember the Helen Keller story? It was about a deaf blind and dumb girl learning to speak and use a form of sign language to communicate, it is a true story, and she became deaf and blind after a bout of childhood measles. I have always understood that it is in a different category to chicken pox or mumps.

ruty Fri 18-Mar-05 15:37:47

had measles at 12, puberty already underway, in hospital and very ill with it, but no one ever said it was fatal, it was just accepted as a nasty childhood disease. Don't think i had any long term effects [ cue comedy eye twitch] Does anyone know if the measles single vaccine is dodgy for children who have problem guts? Good to know for the future..

ruty Fri 18-Mar-05 15:39:05

BTW my ds six months and has problem gut, hence the question..

bakedpotato Fri 18-Mar-05 15:45:34

dd caught measles around 14 mths, before she'd been summoned for her mmr. fortunately, in her case, it was no worse than a pretty bad cold.

Gem13 Fri 18-Mar-05 15:52:33

My sister had measles when she was 4 (in the 60s) and was very ill. She almost went into a coma and couldn't walk for weeks/months afterwards.

I grew up in the 70s and was given the vaccine.

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