What Does The Measles Rash Looks Like?

Infectious Diseases

What Does The Measles Rash Looks Like?

The City of Toronto is in panic mode. My office receives hundreds of calls and emails per day from concerned parents looking for more information on how to protect their children. One common question: what does the measles rash look like? How do I know if my child has the measles rash or another one like a roseola rash?

Measles signs and symptoms appear 10-14 days after exposure to the virus. These include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  • Koplik’s spots – tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background found inside the lining of the cheek
  • Measles rash

The infection occurs in predictable stages over 2-3 weeks:

Infection and incubation

  • For the first 10 to 14 days after infection, the measles virus incubates. There are no signs of the illness, though the person may be contagious to others

Nonspecific signs and symptoms

 

image by www.kidshealth.org.nz

image by www.kidshealth.org.nz

Acute illness and rash

  • Large, flat blotches that often flow into one another.
  • If you look closely you may see many small red dots.
  • Some can be raised but mostly they are flat.
  • Usually the rash starts around the hairline or behind the ears, spreading down to the toes.
  • When the rash resolves, it resolves from the head to the toes.

When is a person with measles contagious?

  • Starting four days before the rash appears and ending when the rash has been present for four days.
  • This means a person with measles is contagious before any symptoms are present, or during the period with mild viral infection symptoms

When to see a doctor

Call your doctor if you think you or your child may have been exposed to measles or if you or your child has a rash resembling measles.

Remember – getting the MMR vaccine will provide >95% protection against the measles virus and will help protect others that cannot yet get the vaccine.

The general information provided on the Website is for informational purposes and is not medical advice.

Do NOT use this Website for medical emergencies.

If you have a medical emergency, call a physician or qualified healthcare provider, or CALL 911 immediately. Under no circumstances should you attempt self-treatment based on anything you have seen or read on this Website. Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed and qualified health provider in your jurisdiction concerning any questions you may have regarding any information obtained from this Website and any medical condition you believe may be relevant to you or to someone else. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

Dina M. Kulik, MD, FRCPC, PEM

About Dina M. Kulik, MD, FRCPC, PEM

Dina is a wife, mother of 4, and adrenaline junky. She loves to share children’s health information from her professional and personal experience. More About Dr Dina.

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