The rubella rash can look like many other viral rashes. So doctors usually confirm rubella with the help of laboratory 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 indicate whether you've had a recent or past infection or a rubella vaccine.
No treatment will shorten the course of rubella infection, and symptoms don't usually need to be treated because they're often mild. However, doctors often recommend isolation from others — especially pregnant women — during the infectious period.
If you contract rubella while you're pregnant, discuss the risks to your baby with your doctor. If you wish to continue your pregnancy, you may be given antibodies called hyperimmune globulin that can fight off the infection. This can reduce your symptoms, but doesn't eliminate the possibility of your baby developing congenital rubella syndrome.
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
Preparing for your appointment
As you prepare for your appointment, it's a good idea to write down any questions you have. Your doctor 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 doctor 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. The person may choose to give you a face mask or show you to your room immediately.
March 31, 2020
- Bennett JE, et al. Rubella virus (German measles). In: Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Elsevier; 2020. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 10, 2020.
- Cunningham FG, et al., eds. Infectious diseases. In: Williams Obstetrics. 25th ed. McGraw-Hill Education; 2018. https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Feb. 10, 2020.
- 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.
- AskMayoExpert. MMR vaccination. Mayo Clinic; 2019.
- DeStefano F, et al. The MMR vaccine and autism. Annual Review of Virology. 2019; doi:10.1146/annurev-virology-092818-015515.
- Measles, mumps, rubella vaccine, live. IBM Micromedex. https://www.micromedexsoluitions.com. Accessed Feb. 10, 2020.
- Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine safety studies. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/vaccines/mmr/mmr-studies.html. Accessed Feb. 13, 2020.
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