Isn’t it a pity that something as preventable as Rubella (or German Measles) has made a comeback?
Rubella may not be as scary as measles or mumps, but it can cause serious inconvenience. And if a pregnant woman gets it, this simple disease can lead to dangerous repercussions. So, let’s start afresh. Let’s understand rubella and ways to banish it forever!
What Is Rubella Or German Measles?
Rubella, also known as German measles, primarily affects the skin and lymph nodes. It is a viral infection and is transmitted when an infected person sneezes or coughs, just like common cold.
Before 1969, rubella epidemics were common among kids between five and nine years of age. But with the advent of rubella vaccination, the numbers dwindled to an all time low.
Today, when rubella is trying to raise its ugly head again, it is the unvaccinated who are most at risk.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Rubella In Children:
German measles and measles have similar symptoms. Here are few rubella symptoms in children:
- Mild fever for one or two days
- Tender lymph nodes
- A tell-a-tale pink-red rash that appears first on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body
- Once the rash clears, the skin may shed in fine flakes
- Loss of appetite
- Runny nose
- Swollen joints
The list may be long, but many children may develop this infection without any symptom too! Children with rubella recover within one week, but adults take longer to heal.
[ Read: Eczema In Children ]
Complications Of Rubella In Children:
Fortunately, rubella is not a big risk for children. But they can pass it on to pregnant women. Pregnancy and rubella is a deadly combination. A pregnant woman with rubella can lead to congenital rubella syndrome. This health issue can lead to problems for the developing baby. Children infected with rubella in the womb are at risk of mental and physical retardation, heart and eye issues, as well as problems with the liver, spleen, and bone marrow.
Rubella Treatment In Children:
Rubella is a viral infection. So antibiotics are useless against it. Luckily, in most cases, rubella will see itself out in a week or so.
Children with rubella can be taken care of at home. Just make your child comfortable. To treat fever and body pains, you can use acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
When To Call The Doctor:
Call your doctor if your child:
- Develops a high fever (102°F or higher)
- Appears to be getting sicker
The best thing about rubella is that it can be prevented easily with timely vaccination.
All you need to do is give your child the MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella) vaccination at 12-15 months. Another dose of this vaccination needs to be given at four to six years of age.
If you are pregnant and have not received the MMR vaccination, it’s not a good time for it. Wait for one-month post vaccination before you try to get pregnant.
[ Read: Measles In Kid ]
MMR Vaccinations – What Are The Risks:
MMR vaccines have drawn a lot of flak for causing severe side effects. But this simply isn’t true. Yes, like most other medication, MMR vaccines too can cause side effects. But nothing to the level of what the anti-vaccination brigade claims (1).
Some of the common side effects associated with MMR vaccination include:
- Mild rash
- Swelling of lymph nodes
Some other adverse effects too have been reported. But they are rare. Here’s a list:
- Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints
- Temporary low platelet count
In some very rare cases, MMR vaccination can lead to some serious health issues. Some of them include:
- Serious allergic reaction
- Long-term seizures
- Permanent brain damage
Call your doctor if your child shows unusual behavior after getting the MMR vaccination.
Tip: If your child has ever experienced a life-threatening allergic reaction to the antibiotic neomycin, keep her away from MMR vaccination. Even if your child has any other allergies, tell your doctor before her vaccination (2).
[ Read: Smallpox In Children ]
Does MMR Vaccination Cause Autism?
No! Many studies have shown that MMR vaccination does not cause autism (3). So, put your fears behind and get your child vaccinated.
Let’s put rubella were it belongs – in the history books!
So, did you get your child vaccinated against rubella? Were you worried about side effects? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!
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