Measles In Infants/Babies - Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Measles In Infants

Image : Shutterstock

Are you worried about your infant’s health? Do you want to know about measles so that you can protect your infant from it?

If you can relate to the above questions, read this post. Find out the causes and measles in babies. Also, learn about the treatment option for infants.

What Is Measles?

One of the world’s most contagious infections, measles is spread by the paramyxovirus. It primarily affects children. The most visible sign of the disease is an eruption of small, irregular spots called Koplik’s spots on the inner cheeks in the mouth. A minute bluish or white speck appears in the center of each of these spots. (1)

How Does Measles In Babies Spread?

The measles virus spreads through the air. It readily attacks the vulnerable parts of the human body like the lungs, intestinal lining and the cornea. If a patient who is suffering from measles, sneezes or coughs, he emits droplets of moisture into the air that carry the virus. It can lead to the spread of the viral infection. Your baby may also contract the infection through direct contact with the patient. It may take ten days for the symptoms to appear, even if your baby is already suffering from measles. However, if you think your baby has contracted the infection, take her to the doctor immediately to conduct further medical tests to confirm the disease. An early detection can help prevent measles from affecting the whole body.

[ Read: Cradle Cap in Babies ]


To confirm measles, your doctor might ask you to take your baby for a saliva or a blood test.

Common Symptoms Of Measles In Infants:

Here are the common measles symptoms in babies:

  • High fever, usually more than 104 degree F
  • An itchy rash that first appears on the face and then spreads all over the body.
  • Runny nose
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Sore throat and cough

Risk Factors:

Measles may lead to other health complications like middle ear infection, which can even impair hearing ability. It can cause pneumonia. It can also lead to measles encephalitis, a measles-induced inflammation of the brain tissue. Pregnant women with measles can give birth to a premature baby. The newborns temporarily develop immunity due to the antibodies they get from their mother. However, children up to five years of age are vulnerable to this malady. (2)

One out of every four people infected with measles needs hospitalization. One patient out of every thousand with measles suffers from encephalitis, which leads to brain damage. Even with the best care, 1-2 cases out of every 1000 prove to be fatal.

Even those who survive measles are likely to suffer from serious health complications including blindness, loss of hearing and neural damage. Measles usually affects children younger than five years of age and adults older than 20 years of age.

Avoid going to crowded places like airports and malls to prevent contracting the infection. Ensure your child’s protection with timely immunization. (3)

[ Read: Bacterial Infections In Babies ]


According to Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), doctors should administer two doses of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) to children. The schedule for the vaccination is:

  1. First dose between 12 and 15 months
  2. Second dose between 4 and six years of age.

If the baby is 6-11 months old and is traveling abroad, she will need an extra dose of MMR. While children above one year should take two doses of the vaccination at least 28 days before travel.

A single MMR vaccine shot can protect 90 to 98 people among 100 from developing the disease if they get it at the right age. Doctors give 250 mg of normal human immunoglobulin to infants who are less than six months old.(5)

Side Effect Of Vaccination:

Your baby may suffer from redness or soreness at the site of the injection. The discomfort will last for two days.


If left untreated, measles takes the form of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis or SSPE, a fatal brain infection. Since, measles is a viral infection antibiotics cannot treat it. The pediatrician may advise the following treatment to cure your baby measles:

Your doctor may advise you to increase your baby’s fluid and water intake to keep dehydration at bay. Even ice lollies can help in cooling the excess heat in the body.

Give paracetamol or ibuprofen to your baby according to your doctor’s prescribed doses.

If your child is suffering from any secondary complication along with measles, your doctor may suggest antibiotics to treat it. Vitamin A supplements can rule out any nutritional deficiency, which can trigger secondary complications. Therefore, some doctors prescribe vitamin A formulations for babies suffering from measles. (7)

Now you know how to protect your precious baby from measles. Go ahead and enlighten other moms!

Did your baby suffer from measles? Please, share your experience and advice.

Recommended Articles:

The following two tabs change content below.
Profile photo of Keerthy Ramachandran

Latest posts by Keerthy Ramachandran (see all)

Profile photo of Keerthy Ramachandran

Keerthy Ramachandran

Featured Image