Measles is a viral illness that is spread through respiratory droplets (sneezing, coughing). Once the virus is contracted, there is a 7-14 day incubation period. The disease is characterized by a fever and red rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. An individual will be contagious from several days before the onset of the rash to up to 5 days after the rash appears. Koplik spots (painless bluish-white bumps on the inside of the mouth) appear around the second day of the illness. Measles is a self-limiting disease and complications are rare.
Treatment for the measles virus is supportive: adequate hydration, rest, immune support.
Proper and frequent hand-washing is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of the illness.
Unfortunately, there is no measles-only vaccine in the United States. The MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine is a live vaccine with an attenuated form of the virus. If you choose to get vaccinated, do not get the vaccine when you are acutely ill. Do not take Tylenol if you get a fever or body aches after the vaccination. This will deplete glutathione, an important antioxidant the liver needs to detox the adjuvants (added ingredients) of the vaccine, and will make your nervous system susceptible.
If you have already had the MMR vaccine, you may not need a booster shot. To determine if you still have immunity, you can have a Measles titer drawn to look for antibodies to the virus. Titers are not covered by insurance and cost ~$100. Talk to your provider if you would like more information.