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Measles (rubeola) is a respiratory illness that causes a red rash to appear on the skin. This condition is easily spread, or contagious. Measles can be very serious, especially in children who are younger than 5 years of age.
This condition is caused by a virus. It can spread from one person to another through droplets released into the air when a person with the condition talks, coughs, or sneezes. Children can get this condition by breathing in these droplets or by touching a surface where the infected droplets fell and then touching their mouths or noses.
Infected air droplets may be contagious for 2 hours.
Symptoms usually begin 8–10 days after coming into contact with the virus. The rash is the last symptom to develop and lasts 3–5 days. In rare cases, there is no rash.
If your child also develops a bacterial infection, he or she may need antibiotic medicines. Antibiotics do not cure measles.
Managing itching, pain, and discomfort
Be aware that measles cases are often reported to a public health agency. You may be contacted by a public health department and asked questions about how your child got infected.
These symptoms may represent a serious problem that is an emergency. Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away. Get medical help right away. Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.).
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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