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There are numerous symptoms with childhood disease that can confuse and fustrate a new parent. These viral infections, such as measles, German measles, chickenpox and mumps, are common in children and most children are immunized to insure the outbreak will not develop into more serious complications.

The measles or rubeola virus will produce symptoms within 7 to 14 days after infection. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, sore throat, hacking cough and red eyes. Tiny white spots appear in the mouth between 2 to 4 days later and the rash appears between 3 to 5 days after the symptoms start. The child is contagious from 2 to 4 days before the appearance of the rash and until between 2 to 5 days after the onset. The measles rash will start around the ears and on the face or and neck. In more severe cases it may spread to the trunk, arms and legs. The rash appears as irregular, flat, red areas that soon become raised, usually 3 to 5 days after the symptoms begin and will last from 4 to 7 days.

The incubation period for German measles or rubella is between 14 to 21 days. Symptoms begin with the child feeing mildly ill for about 5 days. Swollen lymph nodes will appear in the neck and back of the head with occasional joint pain. At the start of the illness the throat will become red but in most cases not sore, with a rash appearing in around 3 days. The child will be contagious from shortly before the onset of the symptoms until the rash disappears. In the case of an infected newborn, the child is usually infective for several months. German measles start on the face and neck, spreading to the truck, arms and legs. The rash will appear as a fine, pinkish, flat one that begins between 1 and 2 days after the onset of the symptoms, then last for 1 to three days.

Chickenpox or varicella has an incubation period of 14 to 21 days. Symptoms include a mild headache, moderate fever and a feeling of illness. The child is contagious from a few days before the onset of symptoms until all the crops of vesicles have crusted. Chickenpox usually appears first on the trunk and then later on the truck, then spreading to the face, neck, arms and legs. Occasionally it will spread to the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. The rash appears as small, flat, red spots that become raised and form round, fluid filled blisters against a red back ground before finally crusting over. These spots will tend to appear in crops so that various stages of the infection are present simultaneously. The spots appear shortly after the onset of the symptoms and will usually last anywhere from a few days to 2 weeks.

With the mumps virus the salivary glands are affected. Symptoms begin 14 to 24 days after infection and include chills, headache, poor appetite, low fever, pain when swallowing or chewing especially acidic liquids and a feeling of general illness. Around the second day the salivary glands will swell and the temperature will rise. Mumps are less contagious than measles or chickenpox and occurs most often in late winter or early spring. Although this infection usually occurs in children 5 to 15 years of age, it can manifest at any age. One infection of the mumps virus will usually provide life long immunity to the child.