Measles. Protect Your Child with Vaccinations & Supplements

Updated: 11/13/23

Measles is a highly contagious virus, causing fever and rash outbreaks all over the world. And while anecdotal information from friends or even other healthcare professionals can often leave us wondering “Should we vaccinate?”, it’s important to remember that vaccinations not only protect your child but society at large. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the importance of vaccine protection as well as offer some preventative tips using natural supplements that may help safeguard your little one’s health. Read on to learn more!

What is Measles?

Measles is caused by a virus that can be easily spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can also live on surfaces for up to two hours, making it easy to contract if you come into contact with someone who has the disease or has recently been in contact with it. Measles can cause symptoms such as a fever, cough, runny nose, and a rash all over the body. In severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia or encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain.

Measles used to be common in the United States, and before the introduction of the measles vaccine, there were around 500,000 cases each year, resulting in 500 deaths. In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared that measles had been eliminated in the United States, thanks to widespread vaccination. However, recent outbreaks in various states have shown that measles is still a concern, especially for those who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised.

Death rates as a result of measles have been on a global decline since many kids receive the measles vaccine. However, the infection still claims the lives of 100,000 people per year, mostly kids under the age of 5.

In the U.S., the number of people with measles has also been decreasing because of the high vaccination rates in the country. An average of 60 new cases of measles per year has been detected in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010. However, cases of new infections have increased to an average of 205 people per year in recent years. Most of the new cases of infections occur in people who moved into the country without receiving the vaccination.

History of Measles

Pre-Vaccine Era

The first recorded outbreak of measles occurred in ancient China around 500 BCE. The disease was described in a medical text called the Huángdì Nèijīng, which translates to The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. The text describes a disease called “massa,” which is believed to be measles. The symptoms of the disease, including fever and rash, were very similar to the modern-day measles.

From China, measles spread to India and then to the rest of the world. The disease was well-known in Europe by the 10th century and is believed to have been brought to the Americas by European explorers in the 16th century.

In 1757, a Scottish doctor named Francis Home discovered that measles is caused by an infectious agent in patients’ blood.

In 1912, the U.S. classified measles as a nationally notifiable disease, which required doctors to report all new cases of the disease to the federal government. The following year, an average of 6,000 cases of measles was reported in the U.S.

Before the development of the measles vaccine, nearly all children below the age of 15 in the U.S. got the infection. Close to 4 million people in the U.S. got the infection each year before the development of the vaccine. Out of these, approximately 500 died each year.

Vaccine Development

In 1954, John F. Enders and Thomas C. Peebles managed to successfully isolate the measles virus from the blood of a 13-year-old. In 1963, the measles vaccine was developed by John Enders and his colleagues. In 1968, Maurice Hilleman developed an improved version of the measles vaccine and began distributing it.

The improved vaccine developed by Maurice Hilleman is the only measles vaccine that has been used in the U.S. since 1968. Today, this vaccine is usually administered as a combination with mumps and rubella vaccines.

Measles Elimination

In 1978, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) set a goal of eliminating measles in the United States by 1982. Although the CDC did not manage to achieve its goal, a high number of vaccinations led to a decrease in the rate of measles infections.

By 1981, the U.S. had 80 percent fewer cases of measles infections compared to the previous year. However, in 1989, there was a measles outbreak among school-aged children that prompted several federal health agencies to recommend an additional dose of the MMR vaccine for all children. The implementation of this recommendation led to a further decline in new cases of measles. In 2000, health authorities declared the U.S. to be measles-free.

Measles Cases in 2023

In 2023, new cases of measles were declared in the U.S. There have been more than 41 confirmed cases of measles between January and November 2023. 

Can Measles be Prevented by Vaccination?

When you receive the measles vaccine, your body produces antibodies that can fight off the virus. This means that if you come in contact with someone who has measles, your immune system will be able to protect you from becoming infected. Vaccination not only protects you but also helps to prevent the spread of the disease.

Measles can be fatal, especially in children under 5 years and adults over 20. In 2019 alone, there were 869,770 reported cases of measles worldwide, and 207,500 deaths. The best way to prevent these deaths is through vaccination. Vaccines have been proven to save lives and are one of the most successful public health initiatives of all time.

There is a lot of misinformation about the safety of vaccines. However, vaccines are thoroughly tested before they are approved for use by regulatory agencies. Vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective at preventing diseases like measles. The risks of not getting vaccinated are much greater than the risks of getting vaccinated.

Types of Measles

There are two main types of measles infections — measles and rubella or German measles.

The rubeola virus causes the standard form of measles, while the German measles is caused by the rubella virus. The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine provide protection from both types of measles.

Measles (Rubeola)

Measles, also known as rubeola, is the most common form of measles. It is caused by a virus that spreads through contact with an infected person’s respiratory secretions. Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a rash that appears all over the body. It usually takes between 10-14 days for the symptoms to surface. This type of measles is preventable through vaccination.

German Measles (Rubella)

German measles or rubella, is not a severe infection as compared to measles. It causes a mild rash on the face, neck, and scalp. Symptoms of measles such as fever are quite less intense in rubella. However, the danger with rubella is its impact on expectant women. German measles during early pregnancy can lead to birth defects of the baby, deafness, eye defects, and heart problems in newborns. This type of measles is also preventable through vaccination.


The Rubeola and Rubella virus cause measles. The viruses live in the nose, throat and mucous membranes of infected children and adults. A distinct symptom of measles infection is the development of a rash. However, the infection is contagious for up to four days before and after the onset of the rash.

A measles infection usually occurs through:

  • Physical contact with infected people
  • Proximity with infected people as they cough or sneeze
  • Wiping your face, mouth or nose with contaminated hands

The virus that causes measles infection can remain active on the surface of an object for more than two hours.

Symptoms of Measles

Measles symptoms include fever and reddish-brown rash that is usually accompanied by:

Cough and Runny Nose

Measles begins with flu-like symptoms, including a cough and runny nose. These symptoms may last from a few days to a week and often appear two to four days before the rash sets in. However, unlike the common cold, these symptoms are often accompanied by a fever, which may rise as high as 104°F.

Swollen Eyelids or Eyes

Another symptom of measles is swollen eyelids or eyes. This swelling, called conjunctivitis or pink eye, is a common measles symptom and affects around 30% of people who contract the disease. It can cause irritation, inflammation, and discharge from the eyes, which may lead to redness and even light sensitivity.


Sneezing is also a common symptom of measles, but it often goes unnoticed because it’s similar to other respiratory illnesses like the flu or common cold. However, if you’re showing other symptoms of measles, you should take extra precautions to limit your contact with others and see your healthcare provider.

Increased Sensitivity to Light

Increased sensitivity to light is another symptom of measles that isn’t always prominent. Sometimes, people with measles find that bright light makes their eyes water or that they feel dizzy or nauseated when exposed to bright light.

Grayish Spots in the Mouth or on the Cheeks and Throat

A less common, but still significant symptom of measles is grayish spots in the mouth or on the cheeks and throat. These spots, also known as Koplik spots, normally appear a few days before the rash sets in and can be a clear sign of measles.

Other Symptoms

The fever may range from mild to severe and may last several days. The rash usually appears 3 to 4 days after the first symptoms and may last for more than a week. It may begin to appear behind the ears before spreading to the head and neck. The rash usually spreads to the entire body within a few days of infection. The spots often join together as they grow with time.

Although not all childhood rashes indicate measles, consider taking your child to the doctor if:

  • You suspect the child has measles
  • Symptoms worsen
  • Fever increases
  • The fever persists even with the resolution of other symptoms

Can Measles Cause Infertility in Males?

Several studies have shown that male infertility is more common among individuals who have had a history of measles infections. The damage caused by the measles virus to the testes can lead to the body’s production of antibodies that target the sperm and prevent it from fertilizing the egg. As a result, it makes it more challenging to conceive.

Moreover, if left unattended, this damage can also cause permanent damage to the testes, which can lead to long-term male infertility. The viral infection can cause severe damage to the testicles, leading to the scarring of the testicular tissue. The scarring may prevent the testicles from producing sperm, which could cause infertility in males.

Symptoms of Measles

Measles vs. Chicken Pox

Although the symptoms of chickenpox and measles tend to be similar, there are distinct differences between the two conditions.


Measles and chickenpox are both viral infections, but they are caused by different viruses. Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus known as the paramyxovirus, while chickenpox is caused by the varicella zoster virus. Although both viruses can spread rapidly, measles is considered more dangerous than chickenpox because of its high fever and the potential for serious complications.

Measles generally starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, and red, watery eyes. These early symptoms are followed by a characteristic rash that spreads over the whole body. The rash usually appears on day three or fourth of the illness and lasts for about a week. In contrast, chickenpox usually begins with a fever, headache, and fatigue, followed by an itchy rash that starts on the chest and face, then spreads over the body.

Contagious Period

Inhaling respiratory droplets containing the chickenpox virus and contact with a contaminated surface, including the fluid from ruptured blisters can spread the infection.

Someone who is infected with chickenpox is contagious for up to two days before the appearance of the rash. The individual will remain contagious until all the spots have scabbed over.

Like chickenpox, measles spreads through contact with respiratory droplets of infected persons either through inhaling or by touching contaminated surfaces.

Despite the similarities between measles and chickenpox, there are some key differences between them. Measles is much more contagious than chickenpox and can be transmitted even before symptoms appear. Measles can also lead to more serious complications, such as pneumonia and brain swelling, than chickenpox. On the other hand, chickenpox tends to be more common in young children and is usually less severe than measles. However, chickenpox can cause serious problems in some people, such as pneumonia and encephalitis.


Treatment for both measles and chickenpox focuses on minimizing the symptoms until the infection clears on its own.

Complications from Measles

Measles can cause many health complications, some of which can be quite serious. The complications often occur in vulnerable populations including:

  • People with HIV, AIDS or leukemia
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Young children

Common complications caused by measles infection include:

Treatment for Measles

Measles infection does not have any specific treatment. A doctor may recommend rest and drinking plenty of fluids if the patient does not experience any additional complications. Symptoms should disappear on their own within seven to ten days.

Rest and Hydration

The most effective treatment for measles is rest and hydration. It is essential to consume plenty of fluids such as water, juices, and soups that can help with fever and cough. A well-rested body can help your immune system fight off the virus.

Eating Healthy Foods

Eating a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet is always beneficial for your health, but it’s especially crucial when you have measles. Your body needs vitamins and minerals to help it fight the virus and prevent secondary infections. You should try to eat foods that are easy to digest, like soup, vegetables, fruits, and lean protein. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, especially water and juices.


There are several medications that can help relieve the symptoms of measles and prevent complications. For example, antipyretics like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can alleviate fever and body aches. Cough suppressants like dextromethorphan can alleviate coughs. You should, however, avoid aspirin, which can cause a serious condition called Reye’s syndrome, which affects the brain and liver.

Vitamin A Supplementation

Vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy eyesight and the immune system. Deficiency of vitamin A can, in turn, impair the immune system and increase the risk of severe complications from measles. Vitamin A supplementation can help fight the virus and reduce the risk of severe complications.

Seek Medical Attention

If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of measles, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Doctors can provide supportive care and prescribe medication to alleviate symptoms.


In severe cases of measles, hospitalization may be necessary. Hospitalization is necessary if your symptoms are severe, or you develop one of the complications such as pneumonia or inflammation of the brain. In the hospital, you will receive appropriate treatment for your symptoms and start receiving vaccinations if you have to get.

Isolation and Prevention

If you or someone you know is suffering from measles, it is essential to isolate them from other people to prevent the spread of the disease. It is also vital to take precautions like sanitizing surfaces and washing your hands frequently to lower your risk of contracting measles.

Measles and Pregnancy

Measles infection can cause complications during pregnancy, including miscarriage, low birth weight, and early delivery. Talk to your doctor if you have not been vaccinated and are planning to become pregnant.

When Measles Vaccine is Given

The first dose of the measles vaccine is typically administered to children between the ages of 12 and 15 months old. This dose helps to provide the child with immunity against the measles and can prevent the disease from being contracted later on in life. It is also important to note that your child will need a second dose of the measles vaccine, which should be between the ages of 4 to 6 years old.

Can Measles Kill You?

In rare cases, measles can be fatal. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 in every 1000 children who contract measles will die from complications related to the virus. The risk of death is higher in developing countries, where access to healthcare has a limitation. However, even in developed countries, measles can be deadly – especially for those with weakened immune systems.

Supplements for Measles & Immunity

Vitamin A

This product promotes respiratory, immune, eye, skin, bone and teeth health. It also supports gene expression and the development of the fetus in the womb. Vitamin A also supports the formation of stem cells and red blood cells. Several studies have shown that vitamin A can reduce the severity of measles and related complications

The correct serving size for this product is 30 milligrams per day. Consider using an accurate measuring scale for this product because overdose may cause adverse health effects such as nausea, toxicity, brain inflammation, liver damage and headaches. Do not supplement vitamin A if you are breastfeeding or expectant.

Vitamin C

This is an essential nutrient that supports the immune system. Naturally, vitamin C has a sour taste, which is why it is a common ingredient in candy. This product is a powerful antioxidant that fortifies collagen in the body. It also helps in the repair of damaged tissues and organs.

This product fortifies the immune system, promotes metabolism and plays a vital role in the synthesis of carnitine. Vitamin C also supports cardiac health. The correct serving size for this vitamin c powder is 1,000 milligrams per day.

This product is not toxic and is unlikely to cause adverse side effects even if you exceed the recommended dosage. In the unlikely event that the side effects occur, they are usually mild, including diarrhea and stomach upset. Lower the dosage if the side effects occur.

Avoid taking this supplement if you have a copper deficiency. Pregnant and nursing moms should not take this product altogether.

Vitamin B6

This product supports metabolism, including the conversion and release of energy in the body. It also facilitates the production of red blood cells, the formation of antibodies, and the synthesis of DNA and RNA.

Vitamin B6 plays an essential role in the breaking down of proteins and amino acids. The correct serving size for this vitamin B6 Pyridoxine Hydrochloride is 50 milligrams per day.

Overdose may cause loss of sensation in certain parts of the body and an inability to maintain balance. Expectant and lactating mothers should not take this supplement.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is available in eight different forms, with each playing an essential role in the body’s biological processes. It promotes skin health ad protects cell membranes from the harmful effects of oxidation. It is also a powerful antioxidant that protects body cells from free radicals. The correct serving size for vitamin E powder 700 IU is 350 milligrams per day.

Excessive consumption of this product may cause blurry vision, rash, bleeding, abdominal discomfort, cramps, stroke and nausea. Reduce dosage or discontinue use if the side effects persist. This supplement is not a recommendation for nursing and pregnant mothers.


This product promotes eye health and supports the repair of damaged tissues and organs. It also supports the production of blood cells and the transportation of organs to organs in the body. Zinc also supports enzymatic reactions that contribute to growth and development in the body.

The healthy dosage for zinc citrate powder is no more than 150 milligrams per day. Consider using this product with iron and copper supplements. Do not supplement with zinc if you are expectant or breastfeeding.


This is a powerful antioxidant that is rich in vitamins, fiber and minerals. It promotes digestion and may even be a form of mild laxative. Elderberry also supports heart and respiratory health. The recommended dosage for elderberry extract powder is 1,000 milligrams per day. Do not take this supplement if you are pregnant or lactating. Consult a physician for supplementation instructions if you have an existing health condition.


Another fantastic supplement for measles is echinacea. This flowering plant is native to North America and has been around for centuries to support the immune system. It contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help fight off infections. Echinacea supplements are available in tea, capsules, and tinctures.


Garlic product supports cardiac, immune and respiratory health. It also helps to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol and glucose in the body. The correct dosage for garlic extract powder is 650 milligrams per day taken with meals. Side effects are usually mild and include abdominal discomfort and bad breath. Do not take this product if you are pregnant, nursing, diabetic or scheduled for surgery.


Beta-carotene promotes vision and supports cardiac, skin and respiratory health. The healthy serving size for beta carotene powder is 1,300 milligrams per day. For the best results, consider taking the supplement with vitamin A. Side effects may include nausea, jaundice and stomach upset. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid taking this product altogether.

The Bottom Line

Common symptoms of measles include a reddish-brown rash, fever and respiratory congestion. This condition may cause various complications, including brain inflammation, hepatitis, bacterial infections, febrile seizures, diarrhea, vomiting and eye infections, among others. Treatment varies depending on the underlying complication it causes. Supplementing with vitamins, garlic, beta-carotene, elderberry and zinc may help to minimize the symptoms of the infection.

Supplements are a great way to aid in the recovery from measles and other common infections. While vitamin A, C, D, zinc, and echinacea are all good supplements, it is a recommendation that you speak with your health care provider before you start taking supplements. They can offer personalized recommendations based on your specific needs and ensure that any supplements you take do not interact with other medications you may be taking. Also, remember that while supplements can be useful, the best way to prevent infections and maintain a healthy immune system is still eating a healthy, balanced diet, exercising regularly, and staying hydrated.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease

Author: James D