Aside from the usual symptoms of measles, which can include flu like symptoms, the characteristic red rash, coughing, fever, conjunctivitis and grey spots in the mouth, your child may also experience ear infections, lung infections, acute encephalitis or brain inflammation and breathing difficulties. These more severe symptoms and complications can even be fatal.
The measles virus is highly contagious, and has a two week incubation period. The rash that most of us recognise as measles is actually only apparent about three to five days after your child is contagious, and will last about three to five days, with a further four day period that your child can infect others after the spots disappear. Usually, your child will have other symptoms before the rash appears, however.
As it’s so contagious, it’s important that you keep your child with measles out of school while he or she is contagious, to prevent the spread of the virus.
Although there have been rumours and concerns about the measles or MMR vaccine that is administered to babies aged 12 to 15 months, it’s the best way to prevent your child from getting measles, and you should definitely have your child immunised, unless your doctor advises you otherwise.
Your child will receive another, booster shot, at around four or five years of age, and by that time, your child will be 99% likely to be immune to measles.