Measles, also called rubeola, is an infection caused by a virus. It mostly strikes children. By 2000, according to the Mayo Clinic, measles were pretty much eliminated in the U.S., thanks to the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. But measles is on the rise again, as increasing numbers of parents are choosing not to vaccinate their kids.
If you or your child has contracted measles, your initial symptoms will likely be a mild to moderate fever along with a cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes and sore throat. Then the rash, consisting of small, red spots, appears, and it's easy to see what's going on.
Rubella, once called German measles, is also a contagious viral infection that causes a spotty, red rash. Luckily, it's not as infectious or as serious as measles, which can be fatal for small children. Symptoms also include a mild to moderate fever, runny nose and inflamed eyes, as well as enlarged lymph nodes and aching joints. The rash is much finer than the spots you get with measles.
The MMR vaccine is highly effective in preventing rubella and measles, but if you do contract one or the other, there is no cure; you must let the infections run their course. You can alleviate some of the symptoms through over-the-counter medicines, mainly fever reducers.