Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Measles treatments and prevention

2-minute read

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 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. If your child has a serious case of measles or develops complications, they may need to be treated in hospital.

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 with the MMRV (measles-mumps-rubella-varicella) vaccine. If the MMRV dose is not received at 18 months, MMR is given again at 4 years.

Immunising your child with the recommended two doses provides them with 99% immunity against measles. If your child isn’t immunised and you think they have 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.

Vaccinations for adults

Adults born between 1966 and 1994 may not be fully vaccinated against measles. Most children during this time would have received at least one dose of the vaccine, but may not have received the follow-up dose that is now recommended.

People born before 1966 are generally considered to be naturally immune to measles because of the high likelihood that had the virus during their childhood.

If you were born during or after 1966 and are not sure if you have had two doses of measles vaccine, you can see your doctor about catch-up vaccinations. Most states and territories provide these catch-up vaccinations for free.

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 2019

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Measles - including symptoms, treatment and prevention

Measles causes middle ear infection and pneumonia and in 1 in 1000 cases, brain infection, often leading to death or permanent brain damage.

Read more on SA Health website

Rubella (German measles) | Australian Government Department of Health

Rubella, or German measles, is a contagious disease with symptoms that include fever and rash. It can affect people of all ages but can be prevented with vaccination. Treatment includes rest, fluids and medication for fever.

Read more on Department of Health website

Measles | Australian Government Department of Health

Measles is a highly contagious disease, spread by contact with infected peoples body fluids. Symptoms include a red rash and fever. Measles is prevented by vaccination. It can affect non-vaccinated people of all ages. Measles has no treatment most people get better on their own.

Read more on Department of Health website


Measles is a highly infectious disease that is usually spread through air-borne droplets of the virus.

Read more on WA Health website

Measles (rubeola) infection information | myVMC

Measles is a vaccine-preventable infection which typically affects children and causes fever and rash. It can be fatal or cause nervous system damage.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Childhood vaccination (immunisation) information video | myVMC

Vaccines for children such as MMR vaccine and Varicella vaccine are safe and prevent serious infections like measles and mumps which can be fatal.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Rubella (German measles) infection information | myVMC

Rubella is a vaccine-preventable, contagious viral infection. It is usually mild, but infection during pregnancy can kill or damage the foetus.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website


Measles Category: Infections and Parasites Topic: Viral Infections Send by email View as PDF Send by post Measles is an acute, highly infectious illness caused by the measles virus

Read more on Queensland Health website

Free reminder app for parents

​NSW Health is reminding parents to download a free reminder App to their smartphones to help ensure their children are fully immunised on time against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Rubella (German measles)

Rubella (German measles) Category: Infections and Parasites Topic: Viral Infections Send by email View as PDF Send by post Rubella is a viral infection and is sometimes called German measles, although it is not related to measles itself

Read more on Queensland Health website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo