The Symptoms of Measles

FIRST STAGE: Chilliness, followed by symptoms of catarrh of the upper air-passages; eyes red and tearful; hoarse and dry cough; pain in the head and limbs; disturbance of digestion; nausea, and sometimes vomiting; eyes sensitive to light; sometimes violent sneezing.

SECOND STAGE: Increase of fever; in small children, sometimes convulsions; appearance of eruption about the mouth and eyes, which soon extends to the neck, chest, and over the lower part of the body; itching and tingling of the skin.

THIRD STAGE: Fever and eruption nearly disappear; spots covered with branlike scales.

Measles is an eruptive, contagious disease which may occur at any age, although children are most likely to be affected by it. It generally occurs in epidemics, and is infectious as well as contagious. It begins much like a severe cold or influenza. After two to four days, the eruption appears, and consists of small, slightly elevated, reddish spots. When pressed with the finger, the red coloring disappears, and the spots soon run together, forming irregular clusters which often have a quarter-moon shape. The eruption feels rough to the finger. Occasionally little vesicles or blister-like spots are seen. The disease reaches its height upon the third day of the eruption. At the end of the fifth or sixth day, the spots become of a yellowish tinge, and there is a marked amelioration in all the symptoms. The catarrh gradually subsides, and by the end of two weeks the patient is generally well. The period of incubation, or time which elapses after exposure before the symptoms of the disease make their appearance, is about one week.

A form of the disease in which the spots are unusually dark, is known as black measles. The disease sometimes assumes a very malignant form. Complications sometimes occur, the most dangerous of which are pneumonia and bronchitis. Inflammation of the eyes is also very common, the eyes sometimes remaining sore for a long time after the patient has recovered from the disease itself. Croup is an occasional and very fatal complication. Inflammation of the bowels sometimes occurs.