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Measles treatments and prevention

How is measles treated?

  • Make sure your child gets plenty of rest and plenty to drink (warm drinks will ease the cough).
  • Give them paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve the discomfort and fever.
  • Put petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) around their lips to protect their skin.
  • If their eyelids are crusty, gently wash them with warm water.
  • If your child is having trouble breathing, is coughing a lot or seems drowsy, see your doctor urgently.

How is measles prevented?

In Australia, children are immunised against measles. The vaccine is given in combination with the rubella and mumps vaccine. This is known as the 'MMR' vaccine.

Your child will receive the first immunisation dose of MMR at 12 months and a second dose at 18 months (MMRV). If the MMRV dose is not received at 18 months, MMR is given again at four years.

Immunising your child with the recommended two doses provides him with 99% immunity against measles. If your child isn’t immunised and you think he's been exposed to measles, it's important to see your doctor as soon as possible – within 72 hours.

Visit Immunise Australia to see the National Immunisation Program Schedule.

Some parents are concerned that the MMR vaccine is associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but no link has been found. If you have any concerns, you can discuss them with your doctor. Further information on immunisation can be found on the Pregnancy, Birth and Baby website.

If you have measles symptoms

Call your doctor if you have any measles symptoms. Let the clinic know about your symptoms so they can consider whether you may be infectious.

Anyone who suspects they might have measles should stay home and should not attend school, child care or work. You might need to be isolated (at home or in hospital) to avoid spreading the highly infectious disease to other people.

Last reviewed: April 2016

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