Measles Questions And Answers: For Parents And Caregivers


What are the symptoms of measles?

Measles typically begins with a fever, followed by cough, runny nose, sore throat and/or red, watery eyes. Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth. Three to five days after symptoms begin a rash appears. The rash begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. Small raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots. The spots may become joined together as they spread from the head to the rest of the body. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104° F. After a few days, the fever subsides and the rash fades.

Who gets measles?

People who have never received a measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine or who are not up-to-date on their MMR have the highest risk of acquiring measles. Particularly, children less than 12 months of age, who are not old enough to receive MMR, and immunocompromised persons have an increased risk.

What complications are associated with measles?

Complications from measles are more common among children less than 5 years of age and adults 20 years of age and older and are highest in infants, unimmunized pregnant women, and immunocompromised persons. Diarrhea, middle ear infection, and pneumonia are the most commonly reported complications. More severe, but less common complications include inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), seizures, and death.

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