Skip to main content Skip to Navigation Skip to Footer
page banner image


Measles is an infection that spreads very easily. Measles spreads through the air when an infected person breaths, coughs, or sneezes. It can survive in the air for up to two hours. Measles can be spread from four days before the rash appears until four days after the onset of the rash.

Measles usually starts with cold-like symptoms, followed by a rash a few days later. Some people may also get small spots in their mouth.

Cold-like symptoms:

  • A high temperature
  • A runny or blocked nose
  • Sneezing
  • A cough
  • Red, sore, watery eyes
  • Spots in the mouth. Small white spots may appear inside the cheeks and on the back of the lips after a few days. These spots usually last a few days

After a few days.


  • A rash usually appears a few days after the cold-like symptoms.
  • The rash starts on the face and behind the ears before spreading to the rest of the body.

Most people fully recover from measles within two to three weeks. Some people can get very sick if they get measles. Measles can lead to ear infections, pneumonia, and in some rare instances brain swelling and even death. Pregnant individuals can have a miscarriage or give birth prematurely.

What do I do if I have measles?

If you have measles:

  • Stay at home and do not have any visitors. Stay home for four days after the appearance of the rash.
  • If you need medical attention, call ahead to let the health care provider know that you are coming so that they can put measures in place to protect health care workers and other patients.
  • Avoid close contact with babies and anyone who is pregnant or has a weakened immune system. Measles can be very serious for these groups.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Do not share any utensils, glasses, cups, or water bottles.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Throw used tissues in the garbage and wash your hands.

What is the treatment for measles?

There is no specific treatment for measles. There are things you can do to help ease the symptoms. Resting and drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, and good nutrition can help you while you recover. Since there is no treatment, prevention is very important. The MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine is a safe and effective way to prevent measles.

What do I do if I have been in contact with someone who has measles?

Public health identifies and notifies contacts of an infected person. If you are identified as a contact, watch for signs and symptoms of measles for 21 days. If you develop any symptoms, call your health care provider. Call ahead to let them know that you have symptoms, and inform them that you are a contact of someone with measles so that they can put measures in place to protect health care workers and other patients.

Can measles be prevented?

Yes. Having the MMR vaccine is the best way to prevent measles. The MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine is a safe and effective way to prevent measles.

Am I eligible to get an MMR vaccine?

Check your immunization records. If you are unsure if you are up to date with your MMR vaccine, call your health care provider.