Measles (Includes German Measles)
Measles is a severe contagious disease, which mostly occurs in children. A running nose, conjunctivitis, a cough and high temperature are common symptoms. About the fourth day, the fever is highest and a rash begins to appear, firstly behind the ears, then over the face and body. The red spots become bigger and darker in colour. The day before the rash comes out, minute white spots surrounded by redness appear inside the cheeks opposite the lower back teeth – these are called “Koplik’s Spots” and only appear in measles. Incubation period is 7 to 14 days (average 10 days). Bed rest and medical attention are essential. After the rash appears, the temperature subsides. If no complications occur, the child is usually able to return to school five or six days after the appearance of the rash.
German measles (Rubella) is a much milder disease than measles, and may even go unnoticed. It is caused by a virus, and its chief concern is its ability to affect the unborn foetus. Pregnant mothers who have been in contact with German measles should immediately seek medical attention. Often there are only minimal symptoms or it may be characterised by enlarged glands at the back of the neck, a cold or slight sore throat, backache and a general feeling of illness. After a few days, a blotchy, pink rash on the face, neck, and spreading over the trunk and limbs appears. The rash may faded rapidly.
The incubation period is 14 to 21 days (average 18 days). The child should be kept away from school or kindergarten until fully recovered, and for at least 6 days after the rash appears. Prevention: Girls should be immunised at about the age of 12 years.
Medical attention is necessary. Ensure that the patient does not become chilled, that the room is comfortably warm, and that no-one with a cold or influenza goes near the patient as the most common complications of measles are bronchitis, pneumonia and ear abscesses which may develop afterwards. Plenty of fluids should be given. The eyes should receive careful attention, being bathed with cool, boiled water. The patient should be washed in bed, instead of bathing. The rash will be hot and possibly itching.
Advice for the Patient
1. As with all skin conditions that involve pruritus, it is important to advise the patient not to scratch. Scratching can introduce secondary infection to the area leading to a more complicated condition to treat.
2. The patient should be advised to avoid using soap, as normal alkaline soaps will remove the skin’s natural acid protection against infection.
Products to Help
Soap Alternatives, Anti-pruritics
An anti-itch, anti-inflammatory and cleansing solution with a pH of 6.5, Pinetarsol Solution relieves itching and reduces inflammation. Bathing also helps to keep the skin and fingernails clean to red uce the risk of secondary infection caused by scratching. Add 15 - 30 mL to a warm to tepid bath (5 mL to a baby’s bath). Bathe for 5 - 10 minutes, once daily or more often in severe cases.
PINETARSOL BATH OIL
Pinetarsol Bath Oil is a non-greasy, water dispensable bath oil for the treatment of dry, itching, inflamed skin conditions. Containing pine
tar, Pinetarsol Bath Oil reduces the inflammation and relieves pruritus. Pinetarsol Bath Oil also contains emollient oils to hydrate the skin. Due to the cleansing properties of Pinetarsol Bath Oil it may be used as a soap alternative. Add 15-30mL to a warm to tepid bath (5mL to a baby’s bath or hand basin) and bathe for 10 minutes once daily, more often in severe cases. Pat skin dry.