Tigdas sa Baby or Measles: What Parents Need To Know

    Tigdas sa Baby or Measles: What Parents Need To Know

    Tigdas sa baby, also known as measles, has been a serious problem in the Philippines. In fact, just 2 years ago, an outbreak of measles was declared in 5 regions in the Philippines1. While measures enacted by the government have helped bring down these numbers, measles still hasn’t been eradicated in the country.

    This is why it’s important for parents to know about measles, what causes it, how it can be prevented, and what to do if their child develops this illness.

    What Is Tigdas sa Baby or measles?

    Tigdas, or measles, is an infection caused by the Measles virus, “a single-stranded, lipid-enveloped RNA virus in the family Paramyxoviridae and genus Morbillivirus.Measles is particularly serious for children aged 5 and below, and can pose a risk to adults aged 20 or older. Each year, an estimated 100,000 children still die from measles complications each year2.

    But thankfully, with the development of the vaccine and vaccination programs, measles outbreaks worldwide have gone down significantly. Despite this, measles remains a problem in countries such as the Philippines, where the vaccination rate for measles is still low.

    How Do People Get Infected?

    Measles is a highly contagious disease. It can easily spread from one person to another via droplets or aerosols; examples of this is coughing, sneezing, or being in contact with a person who has the disease3. Aside from this, the virus can also spread through contaminated surfaces, and can also remain active in the air for up to 2 hours.

    Measles can also spread easily in communities where the vaccination rate is low. This can easily turn into a measles outbreak, which is very dangerous for young children.

    Symptoms To Watch Out For

    Here are some of the symptoms of measles to watch out for4:

    • High fever that lasts about 3 – 7 days
    • Runny nose, cough, and watery or red eyes
    • Small white spots, known as Koplik spots, can be seen inside the cheeks
    • Rashes on the skin that appear after the symptoms above, and slowly spread throughout the body
    • Usually, if there are rashes, the symptoms subside.

    Tigdas sa Baby: Complications

    Measles is an illness that affects anyone, regardless of age. However, children younger than 5, adults older than 20, pregnant women, and people with weakened or compromised immune systems are prone to serious complications.

    These include the following:

    • Otitis Media or Ear infections (the most common complication of measles)
    • Pneumonia (the most common cause of death)
    • Encephalitis or swelling of the brain
    • Pregnancy complications
    • Death

    Because of these complications, it is important for people to get vaccinated, and for parents to vaccinate their children against measles. Vaccination is the first line of defense to prevent tigdas sa baby.

    What Is the Treatment for Measles?

    At the moment, there is no form of treatment available for measles or tigdas sa baby. The best way to deal with it would be to manage the symptoms. Ways to manage measles symptoms include taking fever medication, drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, and bed rest.

    .

    Measles can go away on its own after a week, but if a child or a baby has an infection, or if the symptoms are getting worse, then it would be best to seek medical attention.

    Prevention

    By far, the best way of preventing measles would be to get vaccinated. Measles (Monovalent) Vaccine is given at 9 months (6 months if there is an outbreak). Then, after, with the MMR vaccine5 (at 12-15 mos old AND 3-5 years old). This vaccine is designed to provide immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella.

    To prevent tigdas sa baby, the first dose is usually given when a child is 13 months of age, and the second dose is given when they are 3 years and 4 months. Older children and adults can avail of the vaccine at any age, if they have yet to be vaccinated.

    For children younger than 13 months, or those who cannot get the vaccine, herd immunity is the best way to avoid getting sick. However, herd immunity can only happen if a large percentage of the population is already vaccinated. In the case of measles, 95% of the population should ideally be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

    In the Philippines, to protect tigdas sa baby, the government has programs wherein people can avail themselves of the MMR vaccine for free. Parents should take advantage of this program, so that they can protect their children, themselves, as well as their community from any possible measles outbreaks in the future.

    Learn more about Infectious Diseases in Children here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Sources
    1. Questions and answers on the measles outbreak in the Philippines, https://www.who.int/philippines/news/feature-stories/detail/questions-and-answers-on-the-measles-outbreak-in-the-philippines, Accessed May 26, 2021
    2. Measles – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/measles/symptoms-causes/syc-20374857#, Accessed May 26, 2021
    3. Measles Signs and Symptoms | CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/measles/symptoms/signs-symptoms.html, Accessed May 26, 2021
    4. Measles, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/measles, Accessed May 26, 2021
    5. Measles – NHS, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/measles/, Accessed May 26, 2021
    6. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics 20th edition; Part XVII (Infectious Disease) Chapter 246
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    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Sep 06
    Medically reviewed by Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS