My Child Has Measles – What Now?

The Measles Virus

The Measles Virus

Measles (rubeola), is a viral infection which effects the respiratory system. It is very contagious and is commonly spread through having contact with an infected person’s mucous and/or saliva. The measles virus can live for up to two hours in the air after an infected person has coughed or sneezed and several hours on a surface. So always cover your mouth and/or nose if you cough or sneeze, and don’t spit, it’s a filthy bloody habit.


  • Infected people can spread the virus from around 4 days before the rash appears until around 4 days after the rash has appeared
  • You can only get the measles once, after the initial infection you are immune for life
  • Measles is solely a human disease; it is not found in other species

Measles Symptoms

Measles symptoms usually start to be visible around 7 to 14 days after the initial infection and typically include:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Watery, red eyes (Conjunctivitis).
  • 2 to 3 days after other symptoms are visible White spots appear in the mouth (Koplik spots)
  • 3 to 5 days after other symptoms are visible a rash of flat red spots appears – usually starting around the hairline and face before spreading down to the rest of the body
  • When the rash is visible there may be a sharp rise in the person’s temperature, and raised bumps may appear on top of the flat red spots
  • After a few days the rash begins to clear and the fever subsides

Measles Complications

Anybody can suffer measles complications but some age groups are at a higher risk. Such as:

  • Babies less than one year old
  • Children with poor dietary habits
  • People with a weakened immune system from things like cancer, HIV/Aids or other conditions and associated medications
  • Teenagers
  • Adults over 20 years old
  • Pregnant females

Common Complications May Include:

Uncommon Complications May Include:

Rare Complications May Include:

  • Serious eye disorders such as optic neuritis
  • Problems effecting the nervous system or heart
  • Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) a very rare, but fatal central nervous system disease which can develop 7 to 10 years after being infected with measles

Complications In Pregnancy

If you become infected with measles while you’re pregnant, there’s a risk of:

Measles Treatment

Prevention is the answer – Measles can be prevented with MMR vaccine which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. 

There is no treatment for the measles virus it generally runs its course in 2 to 3 weeks.

Your doctor may recommend:

  • Some over the counter medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to bring down the fever and relieve muscular aches and pains
  • Plenty of rest to help boost the immune system
  • Plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
  • If you have a humidifier it may help to ease a sore throat and/or cough
  • Vitamin A supplements – Read More