- Childhood Illnesses Every Parent Should Know
- Childhood Skin Problems Slideshow
- Bacterial Infections 101 Pictures Slideshow
- Patient Comments: Measles - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Measles - Experience
- Patient Comments: Measles - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Measles - Vaccine Experience
- Measles facts
- What is measles? What does measles look like?
- What is rubeola? What is rubella? What are other names for measles?
- What is the history of measles?
- Is measles contagious?
- What is the contagious period for measles?
- What causes measles? How is measles spread?
- How does one become immune to measles?
- Who is at risk for getting measles?
- Is measles deadly?
- What are measles symptoms and signs?
- What is the danger of getting measles while pregnant?
- What is the incubation period for measles?
- What is atypical measles?
- What is modified measles?
- What types of doctors treat measles?
- How is the diagnosis of measles made?
- What should someone do if he or she has been exposed to measles?
- If it is not measles, what else could it be?
- Is there any treatment for measles after symptoms and signs develop?
- What are complications seen with measles?
- Is it possible to prevent measles with a vaccine? How effective is the measles vaccine?
- What is the prognosis for measles?
- Why should people get vaccinated against measles?
- Is there any truth to the fear of getting autism from the MMR or MMRV?
- Who should not receive measles vaccinations?
- Do people need to be revaccinated against measles if they are traveling to Europe?
- What adverse reactions or side effects can occur with the measles vaccination?
- If a child has an egg allergy, can they still receive the measles vaccine?
- Who should be revaccinated (receive a booster shot) against measles?
- What should I do if I am not sure if I have been properly vaccinated or my vaccine records have been lost?
- What is herd immunity? Why should people care if others choose not to be vaccinated?
- Can the measles virus be used to cure cancer?
- Where can I find more information about measles?
What are measles symptoms and signs?
A typical case of measles actually starts with a
- runny nose,
- hacking cough, and
- red eyes (conjunctivitis).
After two to four days of these symptoms, the patient may develop spots within the mouth called Koplik's spots. These spots look like little grains of white sand surrounded by a red ring and are usually found inside the cheek toward the back of the mouth (opposite the first and second upper molars).
The skin rash (also known as an exanthem or exanthema) appears three to five days after the onset of the initial symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes). The rash is a flat to slightly raised (maculopapular) red rash that usually last five to six days. It begins at the hairline and then progresses to the face and upper neck. Over the next two to three days, the rash progresses downward to cover the entire body, including the hands and feet. The rash has mostly distinct lesions, but some may overlap (become confluent). Initially, these lesions will turn white when you press on them (blanch). After three to four days, they no longer will blanch. As the rash begins to fade, there will often be a fine flaking of the skin (desquamation). The rash fades in the same order that it appears.
The fever that occurs with measles is called a stepwise fever. The patient starts with a mild fever that progressively gets higher. Fevers often reach temperatures greater than 103 F (39.4 C).
Although not as common as other symptoms, some patients may have a sore throat.
What is the danger of getting measles while pregnant?
If a woman contracts measles while she is pregnant, she may have a miscarriage, a stillbirth, or a preterm delivery. There appears to be no risk of having birth defects (unlike an infection with the rubella virus, known as German measles).