What you need to know to protect your family from measles

As media coverage about confirmed measles in the Champaign-Urbana area continues, Carle works with public health to keep people informed so they can be as safe as possible. People exposed to measles are only at risk if they are unvaccinated or have a compromised immune system. Protect yourself and others by staying up to date with immunizations.

David Chan, MD, medical director, Pediatrics, answers questions about measles.

“There are a lot of inconsistencies about vaccine effectiveness and linkages to other issues. The truth is vaccines protect people – not just you but others around you,” Dr. Chan said. “For those too young for traditional vaccines, those 6 months and under, other protections exist if you think your child has been exposed to measles.”

Carle patients may access their vaccination records online at MyCarle or call (217) 902-6000.

I have not received my measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. What should I do?

To be fully protected, it’s recommended you receive a measles vaccination. Contact your primary care provider at Public Health at (217) 531-4255.


What if I am unvaccinated and have known exposure to measles?

People not immune and potentially exposed should call 217-902-6000 for an individual assessment and evaluation.

Were you at any of the locations on the following dates and times?

  • MTD #22 Bus (1/28)
  • School of Social Work, IUUC, (1/28 & 1/29)
  • Temple Buhl, UIUC (1/28 & 1/29)
  • Ceramics, UIUC (1/28 & 1/29)
  • Carle Emergency Department, Urbana (1/31)
  • Maywood Apartments, 51 E John Street, Champaign (1/27-1/31)
  • Texas Roadhouse, Champaign (2/7) 5-8:30 p.m.
  • Save-A-Lot, Champaign (2/10) 7-9:10 p.m.
  • Urbana Early Childhood School (2/11-2/14) 1-5:30 p.m.
  • Carle Urbana on Windsor Convenient Care 2/12 5-7:30 p.m.

Unvaccinated persons visiting one of the above places should call (217)902-6000 for care instructions.

What if my school age child is vaccinated, but younger children in my household aren’t? Can people who’ve been vaccinated carry or expose those who are unvaccinated? Should older children stay away from infants or others who are unvaccinated?

  • No. Vaccinated people (even those exposed to the virus), cannot spread measles to others.
  • You should continue to plan your outings and celebrations as normal if you and your family are feeling healthy.

What if you can’t vaccinate your child or choose not to?

  • Very young children (under 6 months) cannot receive the MMR, but pediatricians can make an individual recommendation about immunization for children ages 6-12 months.
  • Unvaccinated persons of any age who have been exposed to measles should contact their primary care provider right away for care options. 
  • Call 217-902-6000 for an individual assessment and evaluation.
  • Unvaccinated children and adults should be vigilant about identifying symptoms
  • Practice good hand hygiene
  • Carefully clean toys and other shared items

If you think you have measles, what should you do?

  • Call your healthcare provider before coming in to be seen
  • Stay home (away from school, church and groups)
  • Minimize others’ exposure
  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often
  • Cover your cough
  • Drink lots of non-alcoholic and un-caffeinated liquids

What are the symptoms?

  • A rash with tiny red bumps
  • Usually appears on face first then spreads to neck, arms, legs, torso
  • High fever, cough, runny nose, red watery eyes

What is the treatment for measles?

  • No medication
  • Viral infection
  • Over-the-counter pain and fever reducers can be beneficial
  • Plenty of fluids
  • Humidifier to ease cough or sore throat
  • Stay home for 21 days to minimize exposure to others

Can it be prevented?

  • Vaccination is the best form of prevention
  • Avoid travel in areas with high rates of measles

Why does measles spread so quickly?

  • Measles is highly contagious
  • Spread easily through the air and infected surfaces