Treating rubella 

There's no specific treatment for rubella. The condition is usually mild and improves without treatment within 7 to 10 days.

Phone your GP surgery or NHS 111 for advice if you suspect rubella. Don't visit your GP surgery unless you're advised to do so.

Treating your symptoms

If the symptoms of rubella are causing discomfort for you or your child, there are some things you can do while you wait for the infection to pass.

Controlling fever and relieving pain

If necessary, paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used to reduce a high temperature (fever) and treat any aches or pains.

Liquid infant paracetamol can be used for young children. Aspirin shouldn't be given to children under 16 years old.

Speak to your pharmacist if you're not sure which medications are suitable for your child.

If your child's high temperature is causing them distress, you can also try to reduce it by keeping them cool. A cool, but not cold, compress – such as a damp flannel held to their forehead – can help.

Drink plenty of fluids

If your child has a high temperature, make sure they drink plenty of fluid as they may be at risk of dehydration. Keeping hydrated will also help reduce discomfort caused by coughing.

Treating cold-like symptoms

If you have cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat or a cough, there are a number of things you can do to feel more comfortable.

For example, steam inhalation may offer some relief from a cough. This involves sitting with your head over a bowl of hot water. Place a towel over your head, close your eyes and breathe deeply, while trying not to get the hot steam in your eyes.

Steam inhalation isn't advised for children because of the risk of scalding, but it might help your child if they sit in a hot, steamy bathroom. Alternatively, putting a wet towel on a warm radiator will release more water into the air.

Giving your child warm drinks, particularly ones containing lemon or honey, may also help to relax their airways, loosen mucus and soothe a cough. Honey shouldn't be given to babies under 12 months.

Avoiding the spread of infection

While you have rubella, it's important to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to other people.

If you or your child have the condition, you should avoid work or school for four days from when you first developed the rubella rash.

In rare cases, rubella can cause serious problems in an unborn baby, so you should also try to avoid contact with pregnant women for four days from the start of the rash.

Page last reviewed: 03/11/2015

Next review due: 01/11/2018