Measles is a very contagious viral illness. The illness is more severe in young children, and adults over the age of 20 years. It causes death in about 1 in 3,000 cases.

It is spread through the air and by direct contact from person to person. It can pass from a sick person through coughing, sneezing and also talking. The virus can stay in the air or on infected surfaces for as long as 2 hours.

A person with measles can spread the virus from 4 days before, to 4 days after the first sign of a rash.

Once you are in contact with measles, it usually takes about 14 days for the rash to develop. However, you can develop symptoms anywhere from 7 to 21 days after being in contact with measles.

Check your vaccination records or call 1-800-563-2808 ext. 5252 to book a vaccination appointment.

How can I avoid getting measles?

  • If you have not been vaccinated, then you should get vaccinated. Everyone should receive 2 doses of the measles containing vaccine as per the current publically funded immunization schedule.
  • If you have an infant or child aged less than 12 months, protect them by getting the vaccine yourself. They are at the highest risk as they cannot be given the vaccine until after 12 months.
  • If you were born before 1970 then you are thought to be protected from measles. It is recommended that you receive an additional dose though if you are travelling out of the country.

What are the signs and symptoms of measles?

  • Fever
  • Cough and runny nose
  • Red and irritated eyes
  • A red blotchy rash that starts on the head and face. It then spreads to the rest of the body
  • Drowsiness or sleepiness

I think I have measles, what do I do?

Visit your health care provider immediately. Please call ahead to warn your health care provider before going, so they can make sure to protect other patients.

What can happen if I get measles?

  • Common complications are ear infections and diarrhea. Other complications include pneumonia (lung infection), or an infection of the brain. The brain infection may include swelling or seizures, which may cause permanent brain damage.
  • Pregnant women with measles can have a miscarriage or give birth prematurely.

Can measles be treated?

There is no treatment for measles. You can only provide supportive care. You can greatly reduce the chance of getting measles by getting the measles vaccine, especially your children.

Can I get measles more than once?

No. Once you have had measles you are now protected for life.

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