While measles can affect anyone, there are some risk factors that elevate the risk of contracting the disease or aggravate the symptoms. Some of these risk factors include:
- Vitamin A deficiency—If you are vitamin A deficient, you’re more likely to contract measles or have severe symptoms.
- Being unvaccinated—Over 90% of those unvaccinated are at a greater risk of developing measles.
- International travelling—Travelling to countries where measles is more common (and less controlled), such as in developing countries, puts you at a higher risk of developing the disease.
When to see a Doctor
You should contact your doctor as soon as you suspect that you, or your child or other close family-member, may have measles. It is also advisable to contact your doctor through telephone before you can visit. This is necessary because your doctor may need to make arrangements, in order to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others.
You should also contact your doctor if your child is an infant, or your child is under medication that suppresses the immune system. If your child has cancer, tuberculosis, or other conditions that affect the immune system, you should contact your doctor immediately.
You or your child will normally recover after treatment. But, you should also contact your doctor if you suspect a complication, or if the symptoms get worse. The main severe symptoms to look out for include:
- A fit (convulsion).
- Breathing difficulties.
- Lack of fluid in the body (dehydration)—this is visible when you or your child have extremely dry tongue or mouth.
Upon visiting a healthcare facility, your doctor will check the rash, in order to determine the severity of your condition. Your doctor will also examine other symptoms associated with measles, such as a sore throat, cough, fever, and white spots in the mouth. A blood test may also be conducted as an added assessment procedure.