Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine
The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
vaccine protects people from 3 serious viral diseases. The diseases are spread from direct
contact with droplets from sneezes or coughs of persons with the viruses.
Measles. Measles is an
infection caused by a virus. It starts with cold-like symptoms including runny nose;
inflamed, red eyes; cough; and fever. A rash that starts on the face and then
develops on the body follows 2 to 4 days later. It can result in serious
complications, especially in those with weak immune systems.
Mumps. Mumps is also caused by a
virus. It mainly affects the glands. Symptoms are swollen saliva-producing glands in
the neck, fever, headache, and muscle aches. A feared complication is that it can
affect the testicles in males and cause sterility. It can also cause other serious
measles). Rubella is an infection from a virus. It causes mild fever and rash in
infants and children. Pregnant women who get rubella have an increased chance of
having babies with birth defects.
A combination vaccine provides
protection against all 3 diseases. Another vaccine, the MMRV, protects against measles,
mumps, and rubella, and also against chicken pox (varicella).
When are MMR vaccines given?
MMR vaccines are given in 2 doses
to babies and children at these ages:
Children with mild illnesses may
still get the vaccine. But if a child is moderately or severely ill, it is generally
best to wait. Always talk with your child's healthcare provider for instruction.
Some children should not get the
MMR vaccine. These include:
Children who have ever had a
severe allergic reaction to gelatin or to the antibiotic neomycin
Children who have had a
previous serious reaction to the MMR vaccine
Some children with immune
system conditions such as HIV/AIDS or cancer
Children taking medicines
that weaken the immune system, such as steroids
Children with a weakened immune system from disease or medical
Children who have had other vaccines in the last 4 weeks
Children who have had a recent blood transfusion or had a
condition that makes them bruise or bleed easily
Your child's healthcare provider
will advise you about vaccines in these and other cases.
Pregnant women, or women who plan to become pregnant within a month, should not receive the MMR vaccine.
What are the risks of MMR
Vaccines are usually very safe. But
they carry a small risk of side effects, such as an allergic reaction. Getting an MMR
vaccine is much safer than contracting any of the 3 diseases. Common reactions to these
vaccines may include the following:
How do I care for my child after the MMR
Give your child over-the-counter
pain and fever-lowering medicine, as instructed by your child's healthcare provider.
Don't give your child aspirin.
If your child has symptoms of a
severe reaction, which are usually rare, call 911 or get emergency medical help. These
Changes in behavior
Rash all over the body