The initial symptoms of measles include a high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watering eyes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. White spots form in the mouth two to three days after the initial symptoms. A rash appears three to five days after the symptoms start.
The symptoms of measles usually begin 10 to 14 days after exposure, notes Mayo Clinic. During this incubation period, the patient feels no symptoms of the virus. The initial symptoms are typically mild and nonspecific. The white spots, known as Koplik's spots, are often the first symptoms unique to measles. The appearance of the measles rash causes an increase in symptoms, including a jump in the fever, sometimes up to 105.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
The rash appears as small red spots with some raised areas, states Mayo Clinic. The spots often cluster together to create a blotchy appearance. The rash typically starts on the face near the hairline and behind the ears. It continues spreading down the body to the arms, trunk, legs and feet. The rash disappears in the same order, starting with face and moving down to the feet.
A patient with measles has a contagious period of about eight days, according to Mayo Clinic. The period begins about four days before the rash appears. The person remains contagious for about four days after the rash appears.