Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment of Measles

Published:  March 1, 2024

Measles is on the rise. As of February 22, 2024, a total of 35 measles cases were reported by 15 states. For more information regarding cases and outbreaks in the US, visit the CDC’s website at

How do you get it?

Measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. It can spread to others through coughing and sneezing.

The incubation period is typically 11–12 days from exposure to measles virus until the first symptoms appear (prodromal symptoms). A rash follows 2–4 days later and usually lasts 5–6 days. Measles is infectious 4 days before and 4 days after the onset of rash.

Measles Signs and Symptoms

  • High fever (may be as high as 104℉)
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Rash (3-5 days after symptoms begin)

What complications should I be worried about?

  • If you or your child is in a high-risk group, the most common complications are diarrhea and ear infections.
  • In more severe cases, pneumonia and brain swelling can occur.
  • In extremely rare cases, a condition called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis can be seen, which is a condition affecting the nervous system that can lead to death in about 10 out of 100,000 infected persons.

How can I get tested?

A throat swab and a blood test are available to test for measles.

What treatment options are available?

Treatment is primarily directed at controlling the symptoms. There is no pill to treat measles infection.

How do I prevent getting infected?

The best ways of preventing infection are getting the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and avoiding contact with infected individuals.

What should I do if I think I have measles or have been exposed?

  • It’s always advisable to schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor at AllCare to get evaluated. Since measles is very contagious, it’s best to start with a telemedicine visit. Your doctor will let you know if you need to come in for testing or further evaluation.
  • Isolate yourself from others, particularly those who may be in high-risk groups.
  • Wear an N95 mask if you are unable to isolate around certain individuals.

Click here to download our AllCare Primary & Immediate Care one-pager on Measles!