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Measles is a disease caused by a virus. It's also called rubeola. It’s one of the most contagious viruses in humans. It's spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or shares food or drinks. The virus can travel through the air. This means that your child can get measles if your child is near someone who has the virus. This can happen even if that person doesn't cough or sneeze directly on your child. The virus can spread to others 4 days before the rash starts until 4 days after the rash appears.
The first symptoms of measles show up about 7 to 18 days after contact with the virus. They include a high fever, a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat, and a cough. The lymph nodes in your child's neck may swell. Your child may feel very tired and have diarrhea and red, sore eyes. As these symptoms start to go away, your child may get tiny white spots inside their mouth, followed by a rash of flat, red spots. The rash usually starts 3 to 5 days after the first symptoms. It starts on the face and spreads down all over their body.
Care at home, such as rest, fluids, and pain relievers, is often the only treatment your child needs.
If your child has had measles, your child can't get it again.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Measles can cause serious health problems, especially in children under 5 years of age. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
If your child needs medical care, it’s important to tell the doctor or nurses that your child has measles before going to a clinic or hospital. This is so they can take precautions to prevent the virus from spreading to others.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Be sure to say that your child was diagnosed with measles. Measles is very contagious. The doctor may not want your child to be in contact with other patients. You will be given instructions on what is best for your child.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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Adaptation Date: 9/15/2023
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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