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How To Address Rubella In Kids At Home

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Mar 25, 2023

How To Address Rubella In Kids At Home

Rubella, also known as German measles or three-day measles, is a contagious viral infection that typically causes mild symptoms in children. In case your child develops rubella, here’s how you’re going to address it at home. 

Signs and Symptoms

It may be difficult to spot rubella in children because the symptoms are vague, often similar to the symptoms of other viral infections. 

The telltale sign to look for is the fine or spotty red or pinkish rash that first appears on the face and neck, then spreads towards the trunk and the limbs. The rash also disappears in the same manner, which means that as it appears on the limb, the rash on the face and neck might start disappearing. It may feel itchy but will most likely disappear after three days. 

Note that it may be more challenging to spot the rash on brown skin. 

Besides the spotty rash, the child may also develop the following symptoms of rubella:

  • Fever of 38.9 or lower
  • Swollen and tender lymph nodes at the back of the neck, base of the skull, and back of the ears. This may last for a week. 
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Headaches 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild sore eyes (red, itchy eyes)
  • Painful joints (most common in young women and may last for 2 weeks)

How To Treat Rubella At Home

Most cases of German measles in children are mild. When you bring your child to the doctor, please don’t be surprised if they will not prescribe antibiotics. Since rubella is a viral infection, antibiotics won’t be effective in treating them. In fact, reports say no treatment shortens the course of the disease. 

At home, you can best help your child by:

  • Encouraging bed rest by making sure they are comfortable
  • Giving them plenty of fluids
  • Giving them over-the-counter medicines, like paracetamol, for fever and pain. 
  • You can also use calamine or anti-histamine as needed for itchiness.


NEVER give your child aspirin. Although it’s approved for children aged 3 and up, it should not be given to children and teenagers suffering or recovering from chickenpox, German measles and other diseases with flu-like symptoms. This is because such use is associated with Reye’s syndrome, a rare, but life-threatening condition. 


While most cases of rubella in kids are mild and would resolve without treatment, German measles can be dangerous for pregnant women. When a pregnant woman gets infected, the risk of losing the baby increases. Once born, the baby may also develop serious problems, 

Hence, it’s crucial for parents to keep their child at home and away from other people, especially expectant mothers, for 5 days after the onset of the rash. 

Also, make sure your child:

  • Washes their hands frequently with soap and water. 
  • Covers their nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when sneezing or coughing. 
  • Does not share their cups, plates, and utensils with other people in the house. 


Due to its potential consequences for pregnant women, health authorities highly recommend vaccination. The MMR vaccine, given when the baby is 12 to 15 months of age for the first dose, is effective against Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. 

If you or your child is not up to date with the MMR vaccine, please get in touch with your family doctor for further advice. 

Key Takeaways

Rubella, also called German measles or Three-day measles, is a contagious viral infection that causes spotty and sometimes itchy rash all over the body. It may also lead to symptoms, such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, and mild conjunctivitis or sore eyes. 
The good news is that most cases in children are mild and will resolve without treatment. Home remedies include plenty of rest and fluids as well as OTC medicines for fever and pain. Since German measles are dangerous in pregnant women, it’s important to keep an infected child away from other people, especially expectant mothers.

Learn more about Infectious Diseases in Children here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Mar 25, 2023

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