Measles: Keep Your Family Safe

Last updated: May 23, 2019, at 2:45 p.m. PT

Originally published: May 16, 2019, at 4:26 p.m. PT

Graphic that says Measles Signs and Symptoms. Includes graphics of babies and toddlers, one with measles.

Measles is a serious disease. It can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. Measles is highly contagious and spreads when a person with measles breathes out, coughs or sneezes. One in four people with measles will be hospitalized and some will develop brain swelling due to infection, leading to brain damage. Even with the best care, some people with measles may die.

Symptoms of measles 

Measles symptoms typically include:

  • High fever (may spike to more than 104 Degrees F)
  • Cough 
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Rash breaks out three to five days after symptoms begin

Measles is highly contagious

You can catch measles from an infected person as early as four days before they have a rash and for up to four days after the rash appears. You can get measles just by being in the room where a person with measles has been. The measles virus stays in the air for up to two hours after that person has left the room.

Protect your family from measles 

The best way to protect your family from measles is to get vaccinated. Doctors recommend that all children get the MMR shot and adults should get one if they did not have it as a child. 

The MMR shot is safe and effective at preventing measles. It also protects against mumps and rubella. Getting the MMR vaccine is safer than getting measles. 

Children usually do not have any side effects from the shot. In the few who do, most side effects such as fever, mild rash, or soreness are mild and do not last.

Stay at home if you are sick

It is important to not spread measles to others. Stay at home if you feel sick. Do not go to school, work, the store, or other people’s homes. Do not have visitors to your home if you or your child have a fever or rash. 

The Y’s policy on immunization

In order to promote a healthy environment for all children in our care, the Y would like to see each child vaccinated. However, Washington State Law allows parents or guardians to exempt their child from immunizations for religious or medical reasons. Due to this law, we do not require children to be vaccinated or track their prior immunizations in order to participate in our programs. Once we become aware of an illness, we work hard to prevent sick children from using our space and/or coming in contact with healthy children. We will promptly inform parents and guardians of any known highly contagious illness incidents. During an outbreak of a highly contagious disease we recommend unvaccinated children remain at home. If you have additional questions, please contact


*Information and blog image provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington State Department of Health, Seattle and King County Public Health, American Academy of Pediatrics, Somali Health Board, and American Academy of Family Physicians. 




Category: Healthy Living