Measles: What You Need to Know

What is Measles?

Measles is an extremely contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. So far this year, hundreds of cases have been confirmed in the states across the U.S.

Measles is very contagious and is spread in the air through coughing and sneezing. The virus can live for up to two hours on surfaces or in the air where an infected person has coughed or sneezed. Measles is a very serious illness. Symptoms include:

  • A mild to moderate fever along with a cough, runny nose or watery/mattering eyes
  • Tiny red spots with bluish-white centers inside the mouth on the cheek linings
  • High fever and a red, blotchy rash that starts on the face and spreads down the body

Link: Latest on measles outbreak from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

How to Prevent Measles?

The best way to prevent measles is to be fully vaccinated. The Minnesota Department of Health recommends vaccinations for:

  • Children age 12 months and older who have not received a MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.
    • The first dose of the MMR vaccine is at 12-15 months old and the second dose is usually given between 4 and 6 years of age.
  • Adults, born in or after 1957, who have not had measles or a measles vaccination should also receive the MMR vaccine.

To schedule an immunization at Essentia Health, please call your primary care clinic.

Immunization Records

Immunization records are a part of your electronic medical record. If you are uncertain of your vaccination history, you can check by logging into your MyHealth account (if you're an Essentia Health patient) at or by calling your clinic.

The state has an information system called the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC) that can provide immunization records as well.

What to do if you Suspect Measles

If you suspect someone in your family has been exposed to measles, be sure to stay home and avoid having visitors until you have talked with your doctor or clinic. Your doctor or clinic will tell you if you should come in for a visit. If you have not been vaccinated, getting an MMR shot within three days of being exposed may prevent you from getting measles.

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