Measles and you

Measles is a contagious viral illness which presents with the tell tale symptoms of a very high fever followed by a red blotchy rash that erupts over the whole body. Often there are associated symptoms such as a cough, runny nose, fatigue or sore red eyes.

In Australia most people are vaccinated against measles. This vaccination is based around two doses of the virus which then provides the patient with life- long immunity. Unfortunately for the very old or young or those without a competent immune system they cannot have the vaccine and rely on herd immunity from the community (in other words, most people being vaccinated) to protect them.

There is no treatment for measles. Antibiotics do not work as the illness is viral. Most people who have measles recover fully with rest, fluids and analgesics to treat the discomfort and ease the fever. Occasionally, measles develops into a serious disease that requires urgent treatment and can even be life threatening. Spread of measles occurs by people coughing or sneezing. It is highly contagious. In order to reduce the spread of measles patients should remain at home until fully recovered.

If you’ve been in contact with someone with measles and you are not immune (you have not been immunised or have not ever had a measles infection), there are different treatment options. Speak with our team of doctors to discuss your options – download the My Emergency Dr app to connect to a Specialist Emergency Doctor for an urgent health assessment and treatment. Available from