Rubella/German Measles In Babies - Causes & Symptoms You Should Be Aware Of

Rubella or German Measles

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As a mother, your primary instinct is to protect your baby from the big bad world. Every fall, every sneeze, every stranger looks potentially dangerous. But with time, you’ll learn to relax a little.

But the one thing you must not relax about is vaccinations! You can’t keep your baby in a bubble. Sooner or later, your baby will encounter a virus or two. You can do nothing about some illnesses. But there are some diseases you can keep away. One of those preventable diseases is Rubella.

What Causes German Measles Or Rubella In Babies?

A contagious virus is the cause behind rubella. In developed countries like the US, rubella breakouts are rare. But it is prevalent in other parts of the world. The virus spreads when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The problem with rubella is that it can spread even before the infected person realizes he is ill. Babies are especially susceptible to the virus and can catch it easily.

[ Read: Home Remedies For Cough In Babies ]

Symptoms Of Rubella In Babies:

Most cases of rubella show some classic symptoms. Here are the major red flags to watch out for:

  • Small spots on the body that look like a red-pink skin rash. These rashes first appear on the face and then spread to the rest of the body
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • High fever
  • Cold-like symptoms
  • Headache
  • Inflamed eyes

Most of these rubella symptoms in babies go away within days. But your baby’s glands can remain swollen for weeks.

[ Read: Allergies In Babies ]

When Should You See Your Doctor:

If you notice a red-pink rash on your baby’s body, make a trip to the doctor. But don’t forget to call in advance. Rubella is highly contagious, and your doctor might want to keep other patients away from your baby. Once at the clinic, your doctor will do a physical exam to get a clear diagnosis.

How Is Rubella Treated?

Most cases of rubella resolve without medical intervention. Antibiotics do not work against viruses. So, you just need to let the virus run its course. You can expect the symptoms to go away within 7-10 days. But if your baby is uncomfortable and fussy, you can use liquid paracetamol or ibuprofen to give your baby relief from fever and pain.

Preventing Rubella:

You cannot cure rubella, but you can prevent it easily! MMR or Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccine is a sure shot way to prevent rubella among children (1). The widespread use of this vaccine has made rubella a rare disease in the US.

MMR vaccines are part of the routine childhood vaccination program. It includes two dose – the first is given when a child is 12-13 months old, and a booster shot is given when they are between 4 – 5 years old.

[ Read: Burns In Babies ]

MMR Vaccine Is Dangerous – A Myth!

A number of families today are refusing to vaccinate their babies. They believe that these vaccines, including MMR, can cause Autism in children. But this is a myth. MMR vaccine does have some side effects, but autism is not one of them (2). The fact is that the widespread use of MMR vaccine has successfully made rubella a rarity in developed countries. If you opt out of this vaccination, you are not only putting your child, but others too at risk.

[ Read: Chicken Pox In Babies ]

Side Effects Of MMR Shots:

Most vaccines come with some mild side effects. You can expect some after an MMR shot too. Here are the major side effects your baby may experience:

  • high fever over 39 oC
  • Faint red rash
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Puffy eyes
  • Tiredness
  • Swollen lymph nodes

These side effects are mild and not a cause for worry. But some people have reported low platelet count and allergic reaction after the first dose of MMR (3). But these cases are rare.

[ Read: Heat Rash In Babies ]

If your baby does develop any of these symptoms, you can help her recover at home. Just give her a lot of fluids and treat the fever with paracetamol. But if you notice more serious reactions, call your doctor.

If you are up to date with your baby’s vaccinations, you don’t have to worry about rubella. If you are putting off the MMR shot because of autism worries, please don’t! Rubella may not be a dangerous disease for your baby. But it can be fatal for unborn babies. If you are pregnant, and catch the rubella virus, see you doctor immediately.

Vaccinations are not the enemy. They have saved many lives. Let’s not throw away years of good work just because of a myth floating around.

Have you given your baby the MMR shot? Did she experience any side effects? Share your experience with us in the comment section below.

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