#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: German Measles

Q: Good evening doctor, my friend’s mom has German measles. What can she take? Thanks

A: Rubella is also called German measles or 3-day measles. It is a contagious viral infection with red rashes like the regular measles we all know. But, rubella is different from the ‘regular’ measles (also known as rubeola) as it is less severe and less infectious than rubeola. The symptoms of rubella are pretty mild and include mild fever, headache, aching joints, runny nose, red eyes, red rash that starts from the face and spreads, painful lumps at the base of the skull (lymph nodes) etc.

These symptoms usually develop 2 to 3 weeks after exposure to the virus. One gets exposed to the virus by inhaling droplets from the sneeze or cough of an infected person or through direct contact with respiratory secretions (eg mucous) of an infected person. An infected person is able to pass on this infection from about 10 days before the rashes appear to about 1 to 2 weeks after the rashes appear. This means that one can pass on the infection before they even realize they have an infection.

Another means of transmitting this infection is from a pregnant mother to her baby. This transmission is through the blood stream…which may have been what happened in this case. This can lead to death or birth defects (deafness, cataracts, heart defects, brain damage) in the baby, especially when this infection is contracted during the first trimester. These defects are referred to as Congenital Rubella Syndrome.

This infection is relatively mild and would ordinarily not require treatment except for isolation especially from pregnant women. In a pregnant woman, however, the effect of this infection can be quite serious for the baby.

Once you have had rubella, you are, usually, immune and will not have it for the rest of your life. So the chances of having this infection again are pretty slim.

To prevent this, generally avoid people who are sickly and have a suspicious looking rash. There is a vaccine that protects against MMR, however, it is not recommended for everyone. Have a chat with your doctor about the relevance of this for you

I hope y’all are keeping safe? I’m still putting together more COVID-19 Q&A. Send in more questions you want answered on that.

Stay safe, people ;D

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