Diagnosis

The rubella rash can look like many other viral rashes. So health care providers usually confirm rubella with the help of lab tests. You may have a virus culture or a blood test, which can detect the presence of different types of rubella antibodies in your blood. These antibodies show whether you've had a recent or past infection or a rubella vaccine.

Treatment

No treatment shortens the course of rubella infection, and symptoms don't usually need to be treated because they're often mild. However, health care providers usually recommend isolation from others — especially from pregnant women — during the infectious period. Isolate from others as soon as rubella is suspected and until at least seven days after the rash disappears.

Support of an infant born with congenital rubella syndrome varies depending on the extent of the infant's problems. Children who have multiple complications may require early treatment from a team of specialists.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Simple self-care measures are required when a child or adult is infected with the virus that causes rubella, such as:

  • Bed rest
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) for relief from fever and aches

Use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Though aspirin is approved for use in children older than age 3, children and teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin. This is because aspirin has been linked to Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, in such children. For treatment of fever or pain, consider giving your child infants' or children's over-the-counter fever and pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) as a safer alternative to aspirin.

Preparing for your appointment

As you prepare for your appointment, it's a good idea to write down any questions you have. Your health care provider is likely to ask you a number of questions as well. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on.

Your provider may ask:

  • Have you been vaccinated for rubella?
  • How long have you had signs or symptoms, such as a rash or aching joints?
  • Have you been exposed to anyone with rubella?
  • Have you traveled to other countries in recent weeks? Which countries?
  • Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
  • Does anything seem to worsen your symptoms?

When you check in for the appointment, be sure to tell the check-in desk that you suspect an infectious disease. You and your child may be asked to wear a face mask or shown to an exam room immediately.

May 11, 2022
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  3. Grant GB, et al. Progress toward rubella and congenital rubella syndrome control and elimination — Worldwide, 2000-2018. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2019; doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6839a5.
  4. AskMayoExpert. Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination. Mayo Clinic; 2021.
  5. DeStefano F, et al. The MMR vaccine and autism. Annual Review of Virology. 2019; doi:10.1146/annurev-virology-092818-015515.
  6. Measles, mumps, rubella vaccine, live. IBM Micromedex. https://www.micromedexsolutions.com. Accessed Jan. 4, 2022.
  7. Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/vaccines/mmr-vaccine.html. Accessed Jan. 4, 2022.
  8. Rubella (German measles, three-day measles) ⸺ For healthcare professionals. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/rubella/hcp.html. Accessed Jan. 4, 2022.
  9. Combination vaccines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/why-vaccinate/combination-vaccines.html. Accessed Jan. 5, 2022.
  10. Vaccines and preventable diseases. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/mmr/public/index.html. Accessed Jan. 6, 2022.
  11. Tosh P (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Jan. 7, 2022.
  12. AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. Recommendations for prevention and control of influenza in children, 2017-2018. Pediatrics. 2017;140:e20172550.
  13. Sullivan JE, et al. Clinical report — Fever and antipyretic use in children. Pediatrics. 2011;127:580. Reaffirmed July 2016.
  14. 201.314 labeling of drug preparations containing salicylates. Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/textidx?SID=76be002fc0488562bf61609b21a6b11e&mc=true&node=se21.4.201_1314&rgn =div8. Accessed Feb. 22, 2018.
  15. Renaud DL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 27, 2018.

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