Five measles symptoms to watch out for as experts warn of ‘epidemic’ in children

The rate of under-twos that have had both MMR vaccine doses has fallen to 85 per cent

Lamiat Sabin
Monday 09 May 2022 21:08
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<p>Health experts have urged parents to get their children vaccinated against measles</p>

Health experts have urged parents to get their children vaccinated against measles

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The World Health Organisation has warned of a possible childhood measles “epidemic” as vaccination rates have decreased.

The number of children under the age of two receiving the first dose of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine has fallen to 90 per cent since 2019, a five-point drop since the start of the pandemic.

The percentage of children receiving the full two-dose vaccine fell to 85 per cent.

Measles usually starts with cold-like symptoms before signs start showing on the skin days later.

Knowing the symptoms of the highly-contagious viral infection can help prepare for an outbreak within a family or social group.

But the NHS has warned that it’s unlikely to be measles if a person showing symptoms has had both doses of the MMR vaccine or has had measles before. In any case, it’s advised to seek medical help.

What are the early symptoms?

  • High body temperature
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Coughing and/or sneezing
  • Sore and red watery eyes

And then what happens next?

Some days later, small white spots are likely to appear inside the mouth – on the inside of the cheeks or lips.

A blotchy rash with raised bumps, that’s usually not itchy, is expected to appear on the skin all over the body.

How long does the illness last?

It takes about a week for measles symptoms to ease.

What does the NHS advise for treatment?

The NHS advises those who have contracted measles to see a GP and to take plenty of rest and water.

Paracetamol or ibuprofen can be taken to relieve a high temperature, it adds – warning that under-16s should not take aspirin.

The NHS advises people with measles to avoid nursery, school or work for at least four days from when the rash first appears.

Infected people are also urged to avoid close contact with babies, pregnant women, or those with weakened immune systems.

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