What are the Symptoms of Measles?

What are the Symptoms of Measles?

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection caused by the measles virus. Symptoms typically appear 10-14 days after exposure to the virus. Common symptoms of measles include:

  • High Fever: Typically begins a few days before the appearance of the characteristic rash, often reaching 101-105°F (38.3-40.6°C).
  • Cough: Dry or hacking cough, often accompanied by a runny or stuffy nose.
  • Runny Nose (Rhinorrhea): Excessive nasal discharge.
  • Sore Throat: Pain or discomfort in the throat, which may be accompanied by difficulty swallowing.
  • Red Eyes (Conjunctivitis): Watery, red eyes with sensitivity to light and blurred vision.
  • Koplik’s Spots: Small white spots with blue-white centers that appear inside the mouth, particularly on the inner lining of the cheeks, usually 2-3 days before the rash.
  • Rash (Exanthem): A characteristic red, blotchy rash that typically starts on the face and spreads downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. The rash usually lasts for 5-6 days and is accompanied by fever.
  • Muscle Pain or Body Aches: Generalized muscle pain, joint pain, or body aches.
  • Malaise: Feeling unwell, fatigued, or a general sense of discomfort.
  • Enlarged Lymph Nodes: Swelling and tenderness of lymph nodes, especially behind the ears and in the neck.

Measles symptoms can be more severe in young children, pregnant women, or individuals with weakened immune systems. Complications of measles can include ear infections, pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and, rarely, death.

If you suspect you or someone else has measles, it’s important to contact a healthcare professional immediately. Measles is preventable through the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which is highly effective in providing immunity against the virus.

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