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Side Effects of Measles

author image Lisabetta DiVita
Lisabetta Divita is a physician whose love for writing flourished while she was exposed to all facets of the medical field during her training. Her writings are currently featured in prominent medical magazines and various online publications. She holds a doctorate in medicine, a master's in biomedicine, and a Bachelor of Science in biology from Boston College.
Side Effects of Measles
Father taking his daughter's temperature. Photo Credit: Tom Le Goff/Photodisc/Getty Images

Measles, also known as rubeola, refers to a common and contagious viral illness that commonly affects children. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of measles include fever, runny nose, dry cough, conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eyes), Koplik spots (small white spots with a blue center) and skin rashes. The MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine is available to protect people from the measles, states Medline Plus.

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Pneumonia is a common side effect of the measles. According to the Mayo Clinic, pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs due to bacteria, viral or fungal infestation. When this infection occurs, you may experience pleurisy (chest pain with breathing), fever, chills and coughing.


Medline Plus states that the measles can lead to an inflammation of the air passages leading to your lungs. This is called bronchitis. When you have bronchitis, you may suffer from a fever, a productive cough (a type of cough where you produce mucus), wheezing and trouble breathing.


One out of every 1000 people develop encephalitis shortly after a bout of the measles, according to the Mayo Clinic. Sometimes, encephalitis can develop years after you recovered from the measles. Encephalitis refers to a type of brain inflammation characterized by convulsions, vomiting, coma and even death.

Otitis Media

Measles can also lead to a common bacterial ear infection called otitis media. Otitis media often is accompanied by earache, hearing loss, vomiting and diarrhea.


The measles can lead to a troubled pregnancy. The Mayo Clinic states that measles can cause a miscarriage, premature birth and a low birth-weight baby.


The Mayo Clinic states that measles can also lead to low counts of platelets (substances in your blood that aid in wound healing). This is called thrombocytopenia. When you have an injury, your blood may not clot well and you may bleed profusely.

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