Facebook Pixel

Measles: Symptoms and Vaccine Recommendations

By HERWriter
Rate This
Measles related image Photo: Getty Images

Here are some interesting U.S. facts provided by the New York Times and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about measles:

• Measles can be a deadly disease for children
• One out of 1000 will die because of measles
• 400–500 will die this year as a result of measles
• The measles vaccine has led to more than 99 percent reduction in measles
• Three to four million Americans are infected annually with measles
• This year, 48,000 will be hospitalized because of measles

• 1,000 people will develop chronic disability from measles encephalitis
• 6 - 20 percent of those who get the disease will get an ear infection, diarrhea, or pneumonia
• One out of 1,000 people with measles will develop inflammation of the brain

According to the CDC, ʺMeasles is highly contagious. Infected people are usually contagious from about 4 days before their rash starts to 4 days afterwards.ʺ Also, measles generally starts out as a fever and other flu symptoms follow. One key symptom is the red itchy rash which appears a few days after the initial symptoms begin.

The New York Times states additional symptoms of measles include:
• Fever
• Sensitivity to light
• Redness and irritation of the eyes
• Bloodshot eyes
• Sore throat
• Cough
• Tiny white spots inside the mouth
• Muscle pain
• Runny nose
• A red itchy rash
• Rash appears 3 - 5 days after the first sign of illness
• Rash lasts 4 - 7 days
• Rash starts at the head and spreads down the body
• Rash may appear as flat, discolored areas and solid, red, raised areas that later join together

To relieve symptoms of measles, The New York Times states you may try the following:

• Bed rest
• Vitamin A
• Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
• Humidified air

The CDC recommends the following measles vaccine schedule for children and adults. The measles, mumps, rubella vaccine (MMR) age recommendations are as follows:

• 12-18 months
• A second dose before the age of four
• One or two doses for adults between the ages 19-49.
• One dose for adults 49+

According to Reuters, ʺMore than one in 10 parents use an 'alternative' vaccination schedule for their young children, including refusing vaccines altogether, according to a U.S. survey.ʺ

Vaccines are important because they protect our children against illness and possible debt from hospitalizations or days off work due to illness. There is no scientific evidence which demonstrates the MMR vaccine causes autism.

The following adults should obtain the measles vaccine:

• International travelers
• Travelers planning a cruise
• Women of childbearing age
• Employees at hospitals
• Employees at medical facilities
• College students
• Trade school students
• Other students beyond high school

The vaccines you need as an adult or senior are based on previous immunizations, your age, and future travel destinations.


CDC - Measles: Homepage. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 4, 2011, from

Jr., D. G. Measles - Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment of Measles - NY Times Health Information. Health News - The New York Times. Retrieved October 4, 2011, from

Measles - PubMed Health. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved October 4, 2011, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002536

Measles Fact Sheet. World Health Organization. Retrieved November 4, 2011, from

Pittman, G. Parents delaying, skipping recommended vaccines| Reuters. Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | Reuters.com. Retrieved October 4, 2011, from

Vaccines: VPD-VAC/Measles/FAQ Disease & Vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 4, 2011, from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/measles/faqs-dis-vac-risks.htm.

Reviewed October 4, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


Get Email Updates

Measles Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!