Rubella

Learning about the German measles

Another rare childhood disease these days, rubella used to be very common and most children had it by the age of 10 years old. Nowadays, it is virtually unknown by modern children. So what is rubella? Rubella, or German measles as it is known, is caused by the rubella virus. It causes a light rash of red spots all over the body, and is normally very mild -- most attacks pass unnoticed by children. Adults take slightly longer to recover from the disease. Rubella's main danger is to the unborn -- a pregnant woman who contracts rubella may put her child at risk for deafness, cardiac issues, and death.

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What causes rubella?

Rubella is caused by the rubella virus, which is then spread by droplets in the air from an infected person's lungs. The incubation period for rubella is approximately 14-20 days. The virus may also be present in the urine, feces or on the skin, which means that frequent hand washing will keep the risk of contracting rubella down. These days, the rubella vaccine is bundled with measles and mumps to prevent contraction of rubella, so it is a fairly rare disease.

Rubella symptoms

Rubella begins with flu-like symptoms -- body aches, fever, general malaise and fatigue are normal in the beginning of this disease. A rash begins to spread over the face, trunk and limbs of the body, and is normally gone within three days, which is why rubella is sometimes known as "the three day measles". The rash is mildly itchy, but doesn't really seem to bother the sufferer.

Rubella treatment

There is really no treatment for rubella -- analgesics are given to keep down the fever and lotions may be used to relieve itching. Generally, fluids, rest and a healthy diet is all that's needed to cure rubella. Children suffering from rubella should be kept away from pregnant women. The vaccine should be administered to all children to prevent any contraction of this disease. In rare cases, rubella can cause complications, but this is rare. Its real danger is to pregnant women and newly born babies.