Symptoms/disease

Measles

Mässling - engelska

Measles is a disease caused by a virus. Some people become seriously ill. The disease is rare in Sweden because the measles vaccine is included in the vaccination programme for children.

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Symtoms

Rash
You develop a rash on your body.

When you have measles, it is common to have these symptoms: 

  • You have a cough.
  • Your eyes are irritated, red and sensitive to light.
  • You have a high fever. 

You develop a rash 

After a few days, you develop a rash. The rash usually appears on the face first and then spreads to the rest of the body. The rash may look different on different skin types. 

On fair skin, the rash will be bright red at first, and then darken after a few days. On dark skin, the rash tends to be darker from the start. The rash may sometimes be hard to see. 

You may be ill for a long time 

It is common to have a fever and feel ill for five to six days after developing the rash. It then usually takes another week before you feel better. It may take much longer if you develop a complication. 

When and where should I seek medical care?

Contact a healthcare provider if you think you or someone close to you has measles.

You can contact one of these clinics: 

  • A healthcare centre (vårdcentral).
  • A paediatric clinic (barnläkarmottagning).   

Call before you go 

Measles is highly contagious.  

Call first if you intend to go to a clinic. Then the staff can see you without putting others at risk.

Get help from an interpreter 

You can get help from an interpreter if you do not speak Swedish.  

Let the clinic know you need an interpreter when you book your appointment. 

Call 1177 for advice 

Call the 1177 helpline if you need advice on what to do. Your call will be answered by a nurse. The nurse can speak both Swedish and English.  

Help is sometimes available in other languages. Call +46 771 11 77 00 if you are calling from a phone with a foreign number. 

Complications

It is normal to develop complications when you have measles. Possible complications include ear infections,  sinus infections and pneumonia. 

Measles can also lead to serious inflammation of the brain, but this is rare. 

How is measles transmitted?

Measles is very easily transmitted when a sick person coughs or sneezes. Small droplets containing the virus are then spread through the air. The virus can spread to several rooms or even an entire section of a building.

You can get infected if you have not had measles and have not been vaccinated. After infection, it takes about two weeks before you become ill. At most, you will be infectious for five days after the rash appears. 

You cannot be infected again if you have had measles once. 

Treatment

There is no treatment for measles. Medicines that lower the fever may make you feel a little better.

It usually feels good to rest in a cool, dark room. It is generally good to avoid bright lights, as they could irritate your eyes. 

Some people may need hospital treatment.   

You can get vaccinated against measles

There is a vaccine against measles. Ask about it at a healthcare centre. 

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