Shaken Baby Syndrome

A large number of child deaths are reported in South Africa each year. A lot of deaths relate to neglect, abuse or murder. Despite this, there's a knowledge gap in relation to understanding the issue....

Amniotic fluid problems

The importance of amniotic fluid Amniotic fluid is essential for pregnancy and foetal development. Amniotic fluid is a watery substances residing inside a casing called the amniotic membrane or sac. ...

Choosing a pre-school

Becoming a parent is a momentous; life-changing event filled with hopes, expectations and naturally some fears. Parents often learn and grow alongside their children, as they face the challenges of pa...

Newborn reflexes

Although newborn babies are physically helpless and vulnerable at birth, they have a number of amazing innate abilities or reflexes. Reflexes are involuntary movements or actions, designed to protect ...


Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast that can lead to infection. The word “mastitis” is derived from the Greek word “mastos” meaning “breasts”, while the suffix “-itis” denotes “inflammation”. Ma...

Pelvic floor exercises

Although your new baby will probably bring you immense emotional satisfaction, physically you may feel uncomfortable and strange in your own skin. After 9 months of pregnancy and hormonal changes, you...


Babies cry because they need to communicate something and most parents, especially new moms, find it distressing to see or hear an unhappy baby. In time, you will learn to recognize the various causes...

Antenatal Classes

Antenatal classes are informative sessions provided to prepare expecting parents for the birth of their child and the early days of being a parent.Most antenatal classes are run by Midwives and occasi...


The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 was launched on the 11 May 2011. It is a global declaration of war against road crashes and fatalities. According to Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, MP Minister of ...

  • Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Tuesday, 21 July 2015 16:28
  • Amniotic fluid problems

    Thursday, 14 May 2015 12:54
  • Choosing a pre-school

    Friday, 10 April 2015 17:50
  • Newborn reflexes

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:49
  • Mastitis

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:41
  • Pelvic floor exercises

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:20
  • Colic

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:11
  • Antenatal Classes

    Monday, 03 June 2013 09:34
  • Strap-in-the-Future

    Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:52


Measles is one of the most contagious and dangerous viral diseases because of the possible associated complications. The scientific name for measles is rubeola and it should not be confused with German measles or rubella. Measles is caused by a virus known as the paramyxovirus. The incubation period for measles is usually 1-2 weeks. Your child is contagious 4 days before the rash appears and for 5 days afterwards. Once your child has had measles, she acquires lifelong immunity and therefore cannot contract the disease again (BBC Health;, 1998-2010).


How is measles transmitted?

Measles is transmitted by droplets from the nose, mouth and throat of an infected person, through the mechanisms of coughing and sneezing. The measles virus is able to remain in the air and cause disease for up to 2 hours after the infected person has left the room (, 200-2010).


Who is at risk?

·                Anybody who has not had measles may become infected, but it is most common in children between the ages of 1 and 4.

·                Infants up to 4 months of age are protected by their mother’s antibodies, provided that their mother has had the disease herself.

·                Occasionally, a child who has been vaccinated may develop the disease. Usually she shows no signs of the illness but if she does, her symptoms are generally mild, non-communicable and without the severe complications associated with the natural virus.

·                People who are malnourished, have compromised immune systems, for example from HIV or cancer, children with vitamin A deficiencies and pregnant women are at a higher risk of contracting measles.

·                Children who have not received the proper vaccination series are more likely to become infected with the measles virus (BBC Health;, 2000-2010).



·                After exposure to the virus, symptoms usually take 10-14 days to develop. Early symptoms resemble the common cold, with runny nose, cough, and red, watering eyes that are sensitive to light, as well as a low grade fever. During this time, your child is at her most contagious.

·                In the next 3-4 days, symptoms intensify and the fever rises to 40°C.

·                Abdominal symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

·                One of the classic signs of measles develops just before the appearance of the measles rash, namely Koplik’s spots. These tiny white spots resemble grains of sand on a red base and appear on the inside of the cheeks.

·                At the height of the fever, on the fourth or fifth day, a flat, blotchy, red rash appears. Once the rash has developed, the fever normally breaks.

·                The measles rash generally begins on the face or behind the ears and works its way down the body.

·                On the face and upper body the rash is often red and raised in appearance, with spots that are confluent or run together.

·                On the lower body, the rash tends to appear in discrete patches.

·                After approximately 3-4 days, the rash begins to fade and disappears in the same order in which it arrived. This usually takes 5 days and your child is no longer considered to be contagious towards the last days of the rash.

·                Some peeling of the skin may occur (BBC Health; Collins, 2003; Leary, 1990).



If you suspect that your child has measles, consult your doctor within 24 hours to confirm the diagnosis. Your doctor will treat your child symptomatically with the use of analgesic and antipyretic drugs (paracetamol and mefenamic acid) in order to reduce fever and relieve general discomfort. Ensure that your child rests and gets plenty of fluids. Avoid exposing her to any bright light that may be painful to their sensitive eyes. During the contagious period, keep your child away from siblings, friends and family (Collins, 2003; Leary, 1990).


Contact your doctor immediately if

·                Your child has a high fever for more than 3 days, the fever recurs after it has broken, or your child is increasingly drowsy.

·                You suspect a secondary bacterial infection may be present, such as otitis media or pneumonia, which will require antibiotic treatment. This happens occasionally after a viral illness.

·                Your child has consistently high fevers since in children this may result in febrile convulsions.


The most dangerous, yet one of the rarest, possible side-effect of measles is the inflammation of the CNS, resulting in illnesses such as meningitis or encephalitis. Symptoms include fever, headaches, vomiting, stiff neck, drowsiness, seizures and coma. Approximately 1% of measles cases result in blindness, due to a combination of a vitamin A deficiency and the virus itself (, 2000-2010;, 1998-2010).