Rubella or German Measles - Symptoms Complications and how to prevent It.
Rubella, also known as German measles, is an illness that is usually mild but in some cases can severely damage a developing fetus.
Most of the time it will only cause a mild rash, however, if you are pregnant then it can cause birth defects in the unborn baby. So it's a good idea to get immunized.
Try to keep away from anybody who has German measles while you are pregnant. its highly contagious and transmitted through airborne droplets from the coughs and sneezes of infected people.
Thanks to immunization, Rubella has become less common in the developed world.
My experience of German measles occurred when I was pregnant with my second baby. I stood near a bus stop and realised that a small child in a buggy was coughing and sneezing in my direction. Then I heard the mother state that the child had German measles. As you can imagine I was shocked, and to cut a long story short, I had a miscarriage. Whether this was caused by the child having Rubella I cannot say.
source BMA Medical Guide.
What are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of Rubella usually appear from 2 to 3 weeks after infection and may include all or some of the following:
- Swollen lymph nodes at the back of the neck and behind each ear. Sometimes the lymph nodes throughout the whole body are affected and swollen, including those in the armpits and groin.
- After 2-3 days, a pink non itchy rash will appear. This usually starts on the face then spreads to the body. This will disappear after 3 days.
- Children may suffer from a mild fever, but adolescents and adults can develop a high fever and headache.
- Sometimes in a few cases, several joints may become inflamed for a short time.
- A person who has Rubella or German measles will be infectious from about 7 days before the rash appears until about 5 days after the rash appeared.
There are a few complications that must be looked out for. If you contract rubella in early pregnancy there is a risk of miscarriage.
I had German measles when I was two years old, and I was told that my fever and rash were so severe My mother stayed up night after night sponging me down to lower my temperature. However this didn't didn't give my unborn baby protection from the virus.
So when the doctor told me that it was possible that my miscarriage was caused by being to close to the baby with German measles, because the child was sneezing, it sadly didn't surprise me. There was never definite proof in my case, but the possibility was there.
If your baby is carried to full term he or she is at serious risk of being born with abnormalities, such as congenital deafness, congenital heart disease, and something called clouding of the eye or cataracts.
In some cases rubella can cause cerebral palsy.
To catch German measles in the first three months of pregnancy is serious, but even if you are in the later part of your pregnancy it can still cause complications.
Do you believe that immunization is important?
How To Treat Rubella
There are so many viral infections out there that sometimes the doctor may not know straight away that it is in fact German measles. The rash itself is very much the same as others. Therefore the doctor will ask to do a blood test just for confirmation.
There's no specific treatment for the illness, each patient is slightly different all depending on how they react to the virus. But drinking plenty of cool fluids, and taking over the counter pain killers should, in most cases, be all you need. This will reduce fever and discomfort.
Most people tend to get better after about 10 days and the good thing is that it will give you lifelong immunity against the virus.
Can it be Prevented?
Babies are routinely immunized against rubella, as part of the standard measles, mumps and and rubella immunization that is given at 12 - 15 months.
Then again between 3 and 4 years old. This should give long term immunity.
Women who are planning a pregnancy should be tested for antibodies against rubella and should always receive advice about the immunization process.
MMR Jab panic in South Wales
Rubella or MMR Immunization and Autism Connection.
Over the last few years there has been a lot of heated debates over whether the MMR or measles, mumps and rubella, especially rubella, has caused children to become autistic.
With the decline of mothers not giving their children the shot or jab, there has been an increase of German measles around the country.
Only recently in Wales we saw hundreds of parents taking their children to health centers on advice from doctors because there had been an increase of rubella making children ill.
All these children should have been immunized but were to frightened to risk their children's health, and were scared of autism.
So why Autism?
Rosemary Kessick' son is severely autistic. After receiving the MMR jab, William started to act strangely. He was fine before the shot.
Along with his behavioral change, he had really severe bowel problems.
The debate started after William had extensive tests. A Doctor Andrew Wakefield, who was carrying out the tests began to think that the MMR shot was in fact the cause of the autistic behavior and illness.
Since then there have been many tests by doctors. The outcome is that they can find no connection between the MMR and autism.
However, there are a small number of doctors who still claim that not all cases of the rubella - autism link cannot be dismissed.
For further reading and source: MMR and Autism BBC.
- Always call a doctor if you child has a high temperature.
- If the child has swollen lymph nodes then take him/her straight to the doctor as it could be rubella/German measles.
- Keep the child indoors or within the garden. It can be dangerous for pregnant women to be near a child with measles.
- Immunization is a must. The debate over autism has been sorted out. There is no connection between rubella and autism. In fact its more dangerous for the disease to spread and make small children ill. As seen recently in Wales UK.
Doctor Explains Rubella Complications
Even though I had German measles as a child, my doctor told me that because I had been near a baby with German measles there was a possibility that I would miscarry. I was three months pregnant at the time.
I became ill, slight flu like symptoms, and then I lost the baby. Of course the doctor could never really confirm that it was caused by being in contact with someone who had rubella, but it was too much of a coincidence to treat it otherwise.
I was not aware of the child's illness until the mother, who was standing right next to me, mentioned it to her friend. If you know your child is ill with German measles do not take the child out in public until it is free of the virus.
Please be aware that its not just your child who is suffering from the illness. You have to be certain that the child cannot infect pregnant women.
The infectious period starts well before the rash appears so it can't be helped if other children catch it, but once the rash appears its just common sense to keep the child indoors.
If Your Child Has German Measles Always Get Them Checked Out By A Doctor.
Disclaimer - I am not a qualified doctor. All information is taken from reliable sources.
I wanted to share my story to show the dangers of an infected person being to close to someone who is pregnant. And the following consequences.
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