Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that affects an individual’s respiratory system and skin. Measles spreads when an individual who is unvaccinated breathes in or makes contact with contaminated particles or surfaces. An individual who has been exposed to measles will begin to show symptoms between seven and fourteen days following their exposure. This infection can be spread during the four days prior to the rash manifestation until four days after the rash starts. Certain individuals who have compromised immune systems such as those who have HIV are contagious for a longer period when infected with measles. While there is a vaccine available to prevent measles, there is no cure for the infection. Treatment for measles focuses on managing symptoms, preventing complications, minimizing contact with others, and helping the individual’s body fight the virus off. Part of treatment depends on which symptoms are affecting a measles patient.
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Conjunctivitis (pink eye) is an infection of an individual’s conjunctiva, the transparent membrane that lines the eyelid and the white of the eye. This infection results in watery eyes, swelling, and redness. Pink eye occurs in almost all individuals who contract the measles. Conjunctivitis is a symptom that manifests in the early stages of the disease, and it is accompanied by other characteristic flu-like symptoms. The measles skin rash typically appears on an individual affected by measles between two and three days after the eye infection manifests. Secondary bacterial infection of the conjunctiva may also occur in measles patients. Both bacterial and viral pink eye can be spread extremely easily from one person to the next, regardless of its association with the measles infection itself. Conjunctivitis in individuals affected by measles typically does not cause any long term damage to the eyes or eyesight. However, in some rare cases, patients may experience complications such as ulceration of the eye surface or blindness.
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