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What is Tigdas Hangin (German Measles)?

What is Tigdas Hangin (German Measles)?

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Tigdas hangin, or German measles in English, is a contagious viral disease common among babies and kids. Rubella (German measles) isn’t life-threatening like measles (rubeola), although it does cause discomfort and some pain for the patient.

Because tigdas mostly occurs in children, parents need to understand the condition in case their kids contract the disease.

Here in the Philippines, we have plenty of beliefs and misconceptions surrounding tigdas hangin. It’s not wise to follow these notions blindly, especially since it’s your child’s health that’s at stake.

We list the common things Filipinos say regarding German measles and verifying whether they’re factual or not.

  1. Adults can’t get German measles

woman scratching her back
Adults who haven’t been vaccinated against tigdas hangin are more susceptible to those have been vaccinated. Symptoms are also likely to be worse in adults, which include muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes and headaches. Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

False. Adults can get tigdas hangin, but the likelihood is higher for children. The condition typically occurs in infants ages 6 to 24 months. Very young babies aren’t vulnerable to measles because they’re still protected by the antibodies they received while in the womb. These antibodies start breaking down past six months, so the protection dissolves.

Adults are still susceptible to tigdas hangin if not vaccinated. You’ll also recover from German measles much slower than kids. And the symptoms are more serious. Other than fever and rashes, tigdas hangin can cause the following symptoms for adults:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Pain and swelling in the joints
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Mild conjunctivitis (inflammation of the lining of the eyelids)
  1. You can treat tigdas hangin with antibiotics

Antibiotics should always be taken with doctor’s advice when you get tigddas; the medication isn’t prescribed until you start showing symptoms that need this treatment. Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

False. Never self-medicate with antibiotics. You need proper medical advice before taking antibiotics. Otherwise, you may contribute to the increase of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Tigdas hangin treatment involves medication for the symptoms. Patients can take medication to reduce their fever, such as paracetamol, and antihistamines for their cold. It’s not advisable to give aspirin to children, unless your doctor says otherwise. Aspirin has been linked with Reye’s syndrome.

Those who have been exposed to measles may also receive post-exposure vaccination within 72 hours of contracting the disease. People with weakened immune systems and pregnant women may be given antibody injections to protect them against tigdas hangin.

  1. The German measles vaccine isn’t worth it

woman getting vaccinated
Communities that have a low immunization coverage are susceptible to outbreaks of tigdas hangin or German measles, as it’s referred to in English. Photo by CDC from Pexels

False. Measles spread astonishingly fast among non-immunized people, so it’s best to get vaccinated. This is why communities with low immunization coverage are susceptible to measles outbreaks.

The rubella vaccine is typically administered to babies during their first nine months as part of the measles-mumps-rubella immunization. The second dose should be given when the child turns one.

  1. You can’t bathe if you have tigdas hangin

baby in a small bathtub
Lukewarm water bath alleviates fever caused by tigdas hangin. Photo by Henley Design Studio from Pexels

False. People with tigdas hangin can take a bath.  Bathing with lukewarm water can alleviate the discomfort caused by the fever. Make sure the water isn’t too hot because it may cause the redness of the rashes to worsen.

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  1. Tigdas hangin goes away on its own

little girl catching bubbles
In general, tigdas hangin goes away on its own after a week or longer for adults. Photo by Leo Rivas on Unsplash

True. The good thing about German measles is that it goes away naturally after a week or so. It can be longer for adults, though. This is why you don’t need to medicate when you have tigdas hangin, you only need to manage and alleviate your symptoms.

Even though it’s a non-threatening condition, tigdas hangin should still be carefully monitored, especially on young children. Watch out for serious symptoms, such as high fever, pneumonia, seizures, labored breathing, and incoherent speech. If your child shows any of these symptoms, bring them to the doctor immediately.

  1. German measles starts from the upper body then spreads downward

temperature check
Tigdas hangin usually begins with a fever, with coughing followed by rashes when the fever goes down. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

True. The telltale signs of tigdas hangin are tiny red dots that appear anywhere on the head then progress down to the lower extremities. This is why parents often examine the back of the ears of their children to check for German measles.

Tigdas hangin typically starts with a fever, sometimes accompanied by a cold or cough. The rashes appear once the fever starts going down.

As parents, the best thing you can do to protect your child against tigdas hangin is to have them vaccinated. Especially now that we’re in the middle of a public health crisis, you can’t take chances when it comes to your child’s health.

Review the childhood immunization schedule to confirm if your kid’s vaccines are updated.

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