What is measles?
Measles is a contagious disease that spreads through the air. It is so contagious that if a person has it, 9 out of 10 unvaccinated people around that person will become infected.
At first, people with measles seem to have a cold, with symptoms such as a high fever, runny nose, cough, and sore throat. After two to four days, a spotty red rash appears. The rash appears on the head and face, then spreads to the rest of the body.
Some people are more at risk of developing serious measles-related complications:
- Kids under the age of five
- Adults over 20
- Pregnant women
Severe cases can result in hospitalization or even death. If you’re pregnant, measles can cause complications such as early labor and low birth weight.
Measles in Austin
The measles virus can cause a serious health problem in the community. If you think someone might have measles, contact 3-1-1open_in_new or your healthcare professional. Only healthcare professionals should notify the Epidemiology and Health Statistics Unit at (512) 972-5555.
Kids without insurance or who are on Medicaid can get low-cost or free immunizationsopen_in_new from the City of Austin. Call (512) 972-5520 to learn more.
How to prevent measles
- Most importantly, make sure your and your kids’ immunizationsopen_in_new are up-to-date.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick.
People who might have measles should visit a healthcare professional as soon as possible and not go to school or work.