Measles is a very contagious viral
illness. It's also known as rubeola. It causes a distinct rash and a fever. Measles is
spread through direct contact with droplets from coughs or sneezes from a person with
measles. Although not as common, it can be spread by droplets in the air. The symptoms of
measles happen about 7 to 14 days after coming in contact with a person with the
What are the symptoms of measles?
Measles often starts with cold-like
symptoms, such as:
Within another few days, a red rash
appears. It often starts on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body. Once the
rash appears, the fever may get much higher. This rash fades after 4 to 7 days as
symptoms go away.
The symptoms of measles may look
like other health problems. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for
How is measles treated?
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
A child who doesn't have enough
vitamin A may need to take extra doses of this vitamin. Vitamin A does not treat measles
by itself. But in people with vitamin A deficiency, it lowers the risk for serious
complications and death from infection. Most people don't know if they are lacking in
vitamin A. So your child's healthcare provider will probably give your child extra
vitamin A if he or she has measles. Other treatment includes:
What are possible complications of
Most children get better with no
lasting effects. But measles can lead to serious complications or even
death. Complications of measles are:
Middle ear infection that may
lead to hearing loss
Infection of the lungs (pneumonia)
Infection of the upper airway with trouble breathing and cough (croup)
Infection of the brain (encephalitis)
How can measles be prevented?
The measles vaccine is part of the
routine vaccines recommended for children. Children should be vaccinated for measles
with 2 doses:
For children who have not been
vaccinated, getting the vaccine up to 3 days after exposure to measles may prevent the disease.
Children who have had measles are
immune for life.
When should I call my healthcare
Call your child's healthcare provider right away if you suspect measles. Get emergency care if your child has: