Rubella is an illness caused by a virus. With rubella, your child will have:
Many other viral rashes look like rubella. It is difficult for healthcare providers to diagnosis rubella even after examining your child. This diagnosis usually can't be made unless there is an epidemic of it in your community. Rubella is an uncommon infection because of routine immunization against rubella.
Rubella is caused by a virus. The symptoms usually appear 14 to 21 days after your child was exposed to the virus.
The disease is mild. The rash will be gone and your child should be completely recovered in 3 or 4 days. Complications are very rare.
However, pregnant women should avoid anyone who may have rubella. Complications to the unborn child of a pregnant woman with rubella are disastrous and include deafness, cataracts, heart defects, and encephalitis.
If your healthcare provider has determined that your child probably has rubella, the following may be helpful:
No treatment is usually necessary. Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for fever over 102°F (38.9°C), sore throat, or other pains.
If your child might have rubella, keep him away from any pregnant women. The disease is most contagious when the rash is erupting, but virus may be spread from 7 days before to 7 days after the rash appears.
A nonpregnant woman exposed to rubella should avoid getting pregnant during the next 3 months.
A pregnant woman exposed to rubella should see her obstetrician. If she has already received the rubella vaccine, she and her unborn child are probably protected. Even if she thinks she had German measles as a child and the recent exposure was minor or brief, she should have a blood test to determine her immunity against rubella.
All children should be vaccinated against rubella. The rubella shot is the “R” in MMR, so it protection is obtained with usual vaccination with that vaccine. The first dose of rubella vaccine is given to children between 12 and 15 months of age and the second is given between the ages of 4 and 6 years. It is safe to immunize a child who has a pregnant mother, but pregnant women should not be vaccinated.
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