My 1-year, almost-10-months old baby recently had tigdas hangin or baby measles, also called roseola infantum.
Two weeks ago, my baby Gabby had colds and cough. At around dawn on Monday last week, he felt feverish; I took his temperature via ear thermometer and got confirmation that he has fever, for which I gave him baby paracetamol (I used Tempra). He had fever on and off for the rest of the day and night. The next day, with his fever still subsisting, I brought him to the doctor, who suspected that he has tigdas hangin. She said that tigdas hangin is uso (prevalent) nowadays. She also said that if her diagnosis is correct, the fever will last for 3 days, and that rashes will appear on Day 4, so we shouldn’t panic if we see rashes appear.
On Day 4, some rashes indeed started to appear on his neck and tummy, but he still had fever. In order to rule out dengue, we brought him back to the doctor who ordered a complete blood count (CBC) and platelet count. An hour (and many screams and cries from Gabby, hehe) later, we got the results of the tests: his platelet count was high, and the CBC indicated a viral infection, consistent with the earlier diagnosis of tigdas hangin. He did not have fever after that, but surely enough, more rashes started to appear on his tummy, back, and eventually, his face, arms and legs. The rashes did not seem to bother him, though. And once he stopped having fever, his healthy appetite went back with a vengeance (though not his appetite for his formula; I’m thinking he’s gotten sawa (tired) of the taste of his milk). We were in a bit of a worry though, as he is part of the entourage for the wedding of Anzen’s friends, which was last Sunday. We were afraid that his rashes wouldn’t be gone by then. I was praying for at least, no rashes on his face (the rest of the body will be all covered up by his barong tagalog and pants, anyway ). Luckily, by the time Sunday rolled by, the rashes on his face were gone, and those on the rest of his body have started to fade, too.
So what is baby measles or tigdas hangin? We didn’t know much about it initially, except that the doctor said that it is not contagious, and my mother said that the rashes which accompany it fade faster that those caused by ordinary measles. Here’s what I learned, based on my experience with Gabby, as well as what I unearthed during my research:
- the rashes are not itchy at all, as Gabby seemed to be totally unaware of them;
- the fever is a bit on the high side, and will last for at least 3 days (Gabby had fever of up to 38.9 C, at least, for 4 days; Pregnancy.org says that the fever will last for 3-5 days);
- It is contagious only during the febrile period, or when the child has fever; once the rashes appear (which is usually when there is no more fever), he is no longer contagious;
- The rashes are concentrated mostly on the trunk; in fact, Gabby’s rashes on his tummy and back were, at one point, so numerous and close together that they did not look like individual rashes but more like big red welts;
- The ones who usually get infected are babies and toddlers;
- The severity and the duration of the rashes differ from person to person; Gabby was pretty much covered in rashes from head to toe, and the rashes started to fade by the third day, though by the 5th day there are still some left. My sister said her son Nikoi only had a few rashes on the face and neck, I think, during his bout with baby measles when he was about 4 years old. Per pregnancy.org, the rashes typically last for 24-48 hours;
- it is caused by the HHV-6 virus;
- apparently, you develop some sort of immunity to the disease once you contracted it;
- there is no drug or medicine for this, it being viral; you just let it run its course. Of course, if the baby has fever, you give him paracetamol to relieve him, as well as sponge baths every so often so that he will feel relief from his elevated body temperature;
- give your baby lots of water, and plenty of nutritious food and rest;
- give your baby lots of love and attention, as it will make him feel less cranky and improve his mood even if he’s feeling crappy from the sickness.
Here’s a picture of the rashes, which I found on smartparenting.com.ph:
Kawawa naman, right?