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Measles

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications. It's now uncommon in the UK because of the effectiveness of vaccination.

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 infection usually clears in around 7 to 10 days.

Symptoms of measles

The initial symptoms of measles develop around 10 days after you're infected.

These can include:

  • cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and a cough
  • sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
  • a high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40C (104F)
  • small greyish-white spots on the inside of the cheeks

A few days later, a red-brown blotchy rash will appear. This usually starts on the head or upper neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body.

 

When to see your GP

You should contact your GP as soon as possible if you suspect that you or your child may have measles.

It's important to phone first as your GP surgery may need to make arrangements to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others especially the very young and others who have not yet been vaccinated, people who are pregnant or whose immune system has been weakened.

You should also see your GP if you've been in close contact with someone who has measles and you've not been fully vaccinated (had two doses of the MMR vaccine) or haven't had the infection before – even if you don't have any symptoms.

For more information visit www.nhs.uk/measles or you can phone NHS on 111.

NHS advice about measles

NHS Advice Letter April 2018

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