You or your children have measles. This is a viral illness. It is transmitted by droplets from breathing passages of a person who has the virus. This is a very contagious disease. Typically, the most susceptible family members will develop the disease. The MMR immunization given in childhood generally prevents this illness which is most common in childhood.

Measles has an incubation period of ten to twelve days. It is already contagious a few days before any diagnosis (learning what is wrong) is made. A newborn baby up to 6 months of age will generally have immunity which has been passed on from the mother. It is best to avoid contact with people from one week after exposure to five days after appearance of the rash.

Early in the illness there will be fever, followed by a hacking cough, and soreness (inflammation) of the eyes (conjunctivitis). This is followed in a couple of days by a flat red rash that appears on the upper body. After appearing on the upper body, the rash will spread downward. The rash varies in how it looks.


  • It is necessary to get adequate bed rest.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • Drink plenty of fluids.

  • Keep your child isolated from others until the rash is gone.

  • Keep your child out of bright light to protect their eyes.

  • The cough can be treated with a humidifier and cough medicine.


You or your child develops:

  • A severe headache or irritability.

  • Unusual sleepiness or delirium.

  • Repeated vomiting, labored or rapid breathing.

  • You or your child has an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C), not controlled by medicine.

  • Your baby is older than 3 months with a rectal temperature of 102° F (38.9° C) or higher.

  • Your baby is 3 months old or younger with a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.