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Health feature

Dr Carl Ellson, Strategic Clinical Lead, NHS South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group

27 August 2018

You may well have seen information about a renewed push to ensure people are protected against measles.

This comes following a number of outbreaks over the summer, including cases reported in the West Midlands.

Measles is highly infectious and can be very unpleasant and sometimes leads to serious complications. Anyone can get measles if they haven't been vaccinated or they haven't had it before, although it's most common in young children.

The renewed push targeted people who were setting off on holiday or planning on attending a festival, encouraging them to protect themselves and their loved ones with 2 shots of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

The need to ensure people are protected is especially important at this time of year, as over the next few weeks many people are getting ready to head off to university. University students are particularly at risk due to a lot of people being in close proximity to one another, which increases the chances of the virus spreading.

Symptoms to be aware of:
  • High fever
  • Sore, red, watery eyes
  • Coughing
  • Aching and feeling generally unwell
  • A blotchy red brown rash, which usually appears after the initial symptoms.

There are several things that people can do to relieve the symptoms and reduce the risk of spreading the infection, including taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve aches and pains, stay hydrated, use damp cotton wool to clean eyes and stay off school/university or work for at least four days from when the rash first appears.

In severe cases, especially if there are complications, people may need to be admitted to hospital for treatment.

It’s important to point out that measles is still very rare, but it’s also important to ensure that your MMR vaccination is complete. Adults and older children can be vaccinated at any age and If children have missed their vaccinations in the past, it’s important to take up the vaccine now from your GP.