What is measles?

Measles is a highly-contagious disease that causes fever, rash and cough. It's easily spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. Getting vaccinated can prevent you from getting measles. “German measles,” also known as rubella, is a completely different illness.

Symptoms of measles

The main symptom of measles is a red rash that starts on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body. Other symptoms include:

  • Fever - typically very high (up to 105 degrees)
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Tired, achy and run-down feeling
  • Tiny white spots inside the mouth 

What to do if you think you might have measles?

If you suspect that you or a loved one has measles, contact your primary care provider immediately. 

Important: Call your doctor's office or hospital before arriving so that precautions can be taken before you get there. 

If you have an Ohio State primary care provider, call us at 614-293-5123

If you don't have an Ohio State primary care provider, contact us to schedule an appointment: 614-293-3200

Treatment for measles

Sometimes measles can lead to serious problems - you can end up in the hospital or even die from measles-related complication, such as pneumonia. Measles can't be cured. The only treatment is supportive care for symptoms you're experiencing.

Get vaccinated for measles

While there is no treatment for measles, you can protect yourself and others by getting vaccinated.

Who should get vaccinated?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if you were born before 1957, you probably had measles already and are now immune.

If you were born between 1957 and 1989, you may have only received one MMR vaccine, meaning you should get a booster shot for maximum protection.

If you got the MMR vaccine between 1963 and 1967, you got what was later determined to be an ineffective vaccine for measles. If so, you should either have your blood checked to see if measles antibodies are present or get the MMR vaccine. There’s no harm in getting another dose if you may already be immune. If you're unsure, the recommendation is to get vaccinated. 

To learn more or to schedule a vaccination: 

Current patients with an Ohio State primary care provider: Contact your primary care provider at 614-293-5123

If you don't have an Ohio State primary care provider: Contact your primary care provider's office to find out how to schedule

If you don't have any primary care provider: Contact Columbus Public Health at 614-645-1474

Subscribe. Get just the right amount of health and wellness in your inbox.