What are the first symptoms, and how quickly do they usually show up?
People usually get a fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes first. Within a few days, a red rash starts on the face and can spread to the rest of the body. If you notice those signs, tell your doctor right away.
What are the possible complications?
Diarrhea and ear infections, which may lead to hearing loss, can happen as a result of measles.
Pneumonia and brain swelling are other potential complications. About 1 or 2 of every 1,000 children with measles dies of it, the CDC estimates.
How is measles spread, and how easily?
You can catch measles from anyone who has measles. If you’re not immune, you’re very likely to get it if you’re around someone who has it, because the virus spreads so easily.
Just a cough or sneeze from an infected person launches the measles virus into the air, where you can breathe it in. People can spread it 4 days before they first get the measles rash, and for 4 days after the rash starts. The virus can live for up to 2 hours on a surface or in the air. You can get it if you touch an infected surface and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.
Measles is so contagious that 90% of people who aren’t immune will get the disease if they’re close to someone who has it.
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