Measles, or rubeola, is an infection caused by the rubeola virus. Measles is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is also spread through direct contact, such as sharing cups or toys.



  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen: These medicines decrease pain and fever. You can buy them without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give to your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Ibuprofen can cause stomach bleeding and kidney damage if not taken correctly.

  • Cough medicine: This is given to decrease your child's urge to cough and help him rest.

  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Call your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

Manage your child's symptoms:

  • Give your child plenty of liquids: This will help prevent dehydration. Ask how much your child should drink each day. Give your child water, juice, or broth instead of sports drinks. He may need an oral rehydration solution (ORS). An ORS has the right amounts of water, salts, and sugar your child needs to replace body fluids. You can buy ORS at most grocery stores and pharmacies.

  • Help your child rest: Your child should rest as much as possible and get plenty of sleep.

  • Use a humidifier: A cool mist humidifier will help loosen the mucus in your child's throat and make it easier to breathe. It may also soothe your child's cough.

  • Give your child healthy foods: Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. This will help your child feel better and have more energy. If he is not hungry or gets tired easily, try feeding him smaller amounts more often.

  • Protect your child's eyes: Keep the lights dim or give your child sunglasses to wear. This will help decrease pain caused by sensitivity to light.

  • Avoid the spread of germs: Keep your child away from others. He will need to stay home from school or daycare until the fever and rash are gone. This usually takes about 8 days.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child's cough lasts for more than 4 days.

  • Your child coughs up thick mucus.

  • Your child has an earache.

  • Anyone in your household develops a rash.

  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your child has trouble breathing or is breathing faster than normal.

  • Your child has a headache, drowsiness, and stiff neck.

  • Your child seems confused or less alert than usual.

  • Your child has a seizure.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Measles (Aftercare Instructions)