What is Measles?

Measles is a serious respiratory disease that is spread easily through coughing and sneezing. Measles is a very contagious virus that can spread even if the person with measles is no longer in the room. Measles can also be spread by an infected person even before a rash or any other symptoms appear.

Measles is spread from person to person through the air by infectious droplets. Severe cases of measles can cause pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage, and death. One to three children out of 1,000 in the U.S. who get measles will die from the disease.

Symptoms of Measles in Children

  • Fever—which can become very high
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Feeling run down, achy (also known as malaise)
  • Red, watery eyes (similar to pink eye)
  • A rash that runs from the hairline to the face and neck
  • Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots)

Symptoms typically appear seven to 12 days after exposure to measles but may take up to 21 days.

The best way to prevent measles is to get vaccinated. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends healthy children receive the first dose of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine between 12 and 15 months and then a second dose between 4 and 6 years. Learn more on the APP Web site.

If you think you or your child might have measles, call ahead to your doctor to help prevent from infecting others by allowing the practitioner to be prepared for your visit.  

 Find a trusted pediatric expert at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver