What to do if you think your child has measles and when to keep them off school.
Measles cases are increasing throughout England, particularly among children. This highly contagious infection can lead to severe complications for some individuals.
Since there is no specific medical treatment for measles, obtaining vaccination is crucial for the best defence against serious illness. The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is part of routine childhood vaccinations, meaning most children are already immunised against measles.
If your child has received both doses of the vaccine, it is unlikely that they will contract the virus.
Here, we’ll provide everything you need to know about measles, from ensuring your child’s vaccination to knowing when to keep them away from school.
What are the symptoms of measles?
Measles usually starts with cold-like symptoms, followed by a rash a few days later. Some people may also get small spots in their mouth.
Symptoms of measles usually start to appear 7-14 days after you become infected, which include:
- Runny/blocked nose
- High temperature
- Sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
- Sore throat
- White spots inside the mouth
What does a measles rash look like?
Measles usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, body, arms, legs, and feet. Small, raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots. The spots may become joined together as they spread from the head to the rest of the body.
What should you do if you think your child has measles?
If you suspect that you or your child might have measles, it’s important to request an immediate GP appointment or seek assistance from NHS 111.
Before visiting the GP or any healthcare facility, make sure to call ahead for guidance.
In the event of a measles diagnosis for your child by a doctor, it is advisable for them to refrain from attending nursery or school for a minimum of 4 days from the onset of the rash. Additionally, they should steer clear of close interactions with infants and individuals who are pregnant or have compromised immune systems.
What is the best way to protect against measles?
The best protection against measles for children and adults is to get both doses of the MMR vaccine.
MMR vaccination is available at Fleet Street Clinic for children and adults who would like catch-up on doses. If you or your child haven’t been vaccinated yet, or have an unfinished course of vaccines, either book an appointment online or contact our reception team on +44 20 7353 5678 to book an appointment.
We can usually accommodate same day appointments.
Alternatively, children receive the vaccine at no cost on the NHS at 12 months and then a second dose at 3 years and 4 months. You may find the NHS vaccination service has a longer wait time that us.
If you prefer a version of the MMR vaccine without pork products, please get in touch, explaining your preference and we will do our best to accommodate. It’s important to note that we would be ordering this product specially for you, so there may be a longer wait time for delivery and prepayment will be required. Either call our reception team on +44 20 7353 5678 or email email@example.com
Cold-like symptoms can be an early sign of measles. Should you still send your child to school?
If your child has been vaccinated, it’s very unlikely that they have measles. Check if they have a high temperature or a fever, and if not, we’d advise it’s fine to send your child to school.
Keep an eye on their symptoms and adapt accordingly if they worsen.
When should you keep your child off school or nursery and how long for?
If your child has measles, they should stay off nursery or school for at least 4 days from when the rash first appears and avoid close contact with babies and anyone who is pregnant or has a weakened immune system.
The school will let you know if your child has been in contact with someone who has measles and advise what you need to do.
They may advise people who are more susceptible to contracting the virus, such as unvaccinated siblings to stay away from school for the incubation period to be on the safe side.
The incubation period is the length of time it can take to develop the illness after being in contact with someone with measles. For measles, the incubation period can be up to 21 days.
Anyone, child or adult, who has been vaccinated is unlikely to be considered susceptible.
If you’re not sure whether your child is due a vaccination or has missed a vaccination, you can check their Red Book or contact your registered GP practice for confirmation.
Should you keep your child off school if another pupil has been diagnosed with measles?
Most children will be protected against measles and there is no need to keep your child off school if they have had both their MMR vaccinations.
Your school will let you know if your child has been in contact with someone with confirmed measles and will advise what the next steps are.
Can I still get my child vaccinated even if they’re older?
Yes. The MMR vaccine is suitable for adults and children, therefore, anyone who has not had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine can book an appointment for catch up vaccinations.
It’s best to have vaccines on time, but you can still catch up on most vaccines if you miss them. Two doses of the vaccine are needed to ensure full protection.
RELATED SERVICES AVAILABLE AT FLEET ST. CLINIC
Parents are being urged to get their children vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella following outbreaks of measles across Europe:
Anyone who is eligible to get vaccinated should get the MMR vaccine.
A measles outbreak across Europe has left UK officials urging parents to get their children vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella. As measles is highly infectious, anyone who has not received 2 doses of the MMR vaccine is at risk. Particularly those unvaccinated people travelling to countries where there are currently large outbreaks of measles.
In the first three months of this year, there have been 231 confirmed cases of measles and 795 of mumps. While Public Health England (PHE) figures showed while measles cases were lower than the 265 reported during the same period last year, they had more than doubled compared to the 97 reported between October and December. The number of mumps cases has nearly tripled compared to the 275 cases during the first three months of 2018. No new cases of rubella have been reported.
PHE has now appealed to parents to make sure their children receive the MMR vaccine when it’s offered, or to get a GP appointment booked if they missed it. Officials have also warned that not only is measles highly contagious, but it can also kill a child if they are not vaccinated. Anyone who has not received two doses of MMR vaccine is at risk of measles as it is highly contagious.
There have been 3,789 cases of measles in Europe during the first three months of this year, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The highest numbers were in Romania, France, Poland and Lithuania.
Advice for travellers
For all those planning to travel to Europe, make sure you are up-to-date with all currently recommended UK vaccines. This includes two doses of the MMR vaccine for protection against measles, mumps and rubella.
Anyone who is not sure if they are protected should check with their GP practice. Vaccination is usually done within your childhood vaccinations. However, the MMR vaccine is available to all adults and children who have not had their two-dose course. In some cases, the MMR vaccine can be offered to babies from six months of age. Cases such as travelling to countries where measles is common, or during an outbreak situation. Book a travel consultation with our travel nurse for advice on the best option for your children before you travel.
Head of immunisation at PHE, Dr Mary Ramsay, warned with measles outbreaks across parts of Europe, families should make sure they are vaccinated before travelling. ‘There are measles outbreaks happening across Europe so if you are planning to travel, make sure you check with your GP and catch-up if needed.’
Measles elimination can only be sustained by maintaining and improving coverage of MMR vaccine in children, and by using all opportunities to catch up older children and adults who missed getting the MMR vaccine.
To achieve herd immunity for measles at least 90 to 95 per cent of the population needs to be fully protected. PHE said 94.9 per cent of eligible children aged five received their first dose of MMR in quarter 4 of 2018. However, the second dose of protection falls to 87.4 per cent for children aged five.
Fleet Street Clinic’s medical director, Dr Richard Dawood explains, ‘When the rate of vaccination in the general population falls below 95%, outbreaks occur and can easily spread, with the highest impact on those most vulnerable populations, undermining years of hard work around the world to bring measles under control.’
Vaccination against Measles, Mumps & Rubella
One dose of the MMR vaccine is about 90 to 95 per cent effective at preventing measles. Protection rises to around 99 per cent after the second dose. Two doses of MMR in a lifetime are needed for a person to be considered fully protected.
The MMR vaccine schedule:
- Two doses, to be given at least 4 weeks apart.
- If the first dose is given before 12 months of age (due to the need for early protection), this should be discounted and the child should continue to receive 2 doses as per the normal schedule.
- The vaccine is also available to all adults and children who are not up-to-date with their 2 doses.
Anyone who is not sure if they are fully vaccinated should check with their GP.
You can book all vaccination appointments online.
Measles Outbreak – What You Need to Know
The WHO has issued a warning about recent outbreaks of measles in Europe and the USA. Cases of measles have risen rapidly in recent months in Italy, Romania and most recently in US.
Measles is a highly contagious virus with potential for serious complications.
Initial symptoms can include:
- Runny nose
- High Temperature
- Spots in the mouth
- Aches and pains
- Sore eyes and swollen eyelids
A rash appears after 2-4 days which can present as blotchy spots, often starting at the head and progressing down.
Medical Advice for Measles
If you think you may be suffering from measles, or are concerned about risk of infection when travelling, please see your doctor straight away.
Travelling to areas with a risk of measles
Make sure you are up-to-date with your vaccinations before you travel, including the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. If your child will be travelling, the MMR can be given from 6 months of age. If you have not had measles or if you have not had two doses of MMR, you may be at risk. Measles is easily passed from person to person and can be a serious illness in adults as well as children. It is never too late to have the vaccine.
MUMPS OUTBREAKS IN UK UNIVERSITIES:
CASES OF MUMPS REPORTED AT A NUMBER OF UK UNIVERSITIES
Public Health England has confirmed they are urging students to get MMR vaccinations.
A number of cases of mumps have been reported in Nottingham and Exeter. The recent rise in teenagers and young adults who have not had two doses of the MMR vaccine are believed to have caused an increase in UK cases. Unprotected students are particularly vulnerable due to close living conditions. Students are being urged to ensure they have received the full two-dose MMR vaccine course to protect themselves against mumps.
A total of 241 suspected cases were reported, with 52 confirmed, across Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham and 7 confirmed cases at Exeter University.
Mumps is a contagious viral infection which causes swelling of the parotid glands.
Initial symptoms can be similar to a cold and include:
- High Temperature
- Joint Pain
- Feeling Sick
- Loss of Appetite
- Swelling of the face/neck
Mumps can result in some serious complications. It can cause temporary hearing loss in 1 in 20 people. Mumps can cause a rare but potential risk of encephalitis, which affects 1 in 1,000 sufferers and requires hospitalisation.
It is spread in the same way as colds and flu – through infected droplets of saliva that can be inhaled or picked up from surfaces and transferred into the mouth or nose.
A person is most contagious a few days before the symptoms develop and for a few days afterwards.
Some people suffer complications that can include inflammation of the pancreas, viral meningitis (inflammation of the brain), inflamed and swollen testicles in men and ovaries in women.
MEDICAL ADVICE FOR MUMPS
If you think you may be suffering from mumps, or are concerned about the risk of infection, please see your doctor straight away.
Those who have not had the MMR vaccine – or have only received one dose – regardless of age, should ensure they receive two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.
In order to keep virus’ such as mumps from spreading, a certain proportion of the population must be immunised, this is called the ‘herd immunity’.
Herd immunity is particularly important as not everyone can get vaccinated, but those who can are able to help people those who can’t. Some people are unable to get vaccinated because they’re too ill, too young or have an impaired immune system. When we vaccinate, we protect not only ourselves but also the most vulnerable members of our communities.
VACCINATION AGAINST MUMPS
The disease can be easily prevented with two doses of the MMR vaccine, that has safely and efficiently been in use since the late 1980s’.
Make sure you are up-to-date with your measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Although the NHS immunisation schedule offers the vaccine to children from 12 months of age, the MMR can be given from 6 months. If you have not had measles, mumps or rubella or if you have not had two doses of MMR, you may be at risk. Measles mumps and rubella are easily passed from person to person and can be a serious illness in adults as well as children. It is never too late to have the vaccine.
You can book an MMR vaccine online.
Cases of measles reported in the UK
A number of cases of measles have been reported in Liverpool and Leeds. Recent outbreaks in Europe, where countries such as Romania and Italy have been affected, are believed to have caused the increase in UK cases. To date, 17 cases in Leeds and 8 cases in Liverpool have been reported.
Measles is a highly infectious virus which can be transmitted to anyone who is not vaccinated, most commonly to young children. To prevent outbreaks, it is recommended that 95% of the population is vaccinated.
Initial symptoms can be similar to a cold and include:
- Runny nose
- High Temperature
- Spots in the mouth
- Aches and pains
- Sore eyes and swollen eyelids
A rash appears after 2-4 days which can present as blotchy spots, often starting at the head and progressing down. MEDICAL ADVICE FOR MEASLES
If you think you may be suffering from measles, or are concerned about the risk of infection, please see your doctor straight away.
Vaccination against MEASLES
Make sure you are up-to-date with your vaccinations including the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Although the NHS immunisation schedule offers the vaccine to children from 12 months of age, the MMR can be given from 6 months. If you have not had measles or if you have not had two doses of MMR, you may be at risk. Measles is easily passed from person to person and can be a serious illness in adults as well as children. In 2012 there were 122,000 deaths worldwide caused by measles. It is never too late to have the vaccine.
MMR Vaccination at Fleet Street Clinic
You can book an MMR vaccination online.
Measles on the rise:
The World Health Organisation (WHO), has reported that measles cases are on the rise worldwide and in Europe alone, outbreaks have surged to a 20-year high.
The WHO states that reported measles cases (provided by each country) currently show that about 229,000 cases have already been reported, compared with 170,000 for 2017. Worryingly the 2018 number is likely to rise as the reporting deadline ends April ’19.
With a 50% increase in measles cases last year, it is important to understand the benefits of vaccinating against measles:
Dr Richard Dawood, our Medical Director explains;
“I recently heard about a patient suffering a bad attack of shingles. She didn’t believe in doctors, medicines or vaccines, I was told, and was languishing at home, with a dreadful, crusted rash across her body, and burning with pain. She had stuck to her beliefs and refused to take antiviral medication that could have aborted the attack or reduced the probability of ending up with long term nerve damage and lingering pain. Shingles can strike more than once, but since she doesn’t believe in vaccines (there is a good one that is 95% effective) she will have to take her chances of a recurrence in future. I disagree with her opinions, but her latest actions will harm nobody but herself.
But measles is different: when it comes to vaccination, personal choices and opinions have a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of others – individually as well as for entire communities. Measles vaccination is a major public health issue. Memories of the past outbreaks, epidemics, tragic disability and loss of life that drove research and ground-breaking vaccine development now belong to a previous generation. In these days of “fake news”, “influencers” and social networks, it has become too easy to undermine confidence in matters of public health. In the case of measles, concerns about vaccine safety are down to the “fake research” of Andrew Wakefield, who was struck off the medical register for concocting a spurious link with autism in the 1990s. But the damage was long-lasting.
The complications of measles are most severe in babies who are not yet old enough to be vaccinated, and children with reduced immunity. When the rate of vaccination in the general population falls below 95%, outbreaks occur and can easily spread, with the highest impact on those most vulnerable populations, undermining years of hard work around the world to bring measles under control.
That is what is happening now”.
VACCINATION AGAINST MEASLES
‘The highly contagious disease can cause severe diarrhoea, pneumonia and vision loss. It can be fatal in some cases and remains an important cause of death among young children”, according to the WHO.
The disease can be easily prevented with two doses of a safe and efficient vaccine that has been in use since the 1960s’.
Make sure you are up-to-date with your vaccinations including the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Although the NHS immunisation schedule offers the vaccine to children from 12 months of age, the MMR can be given from 6 months. If you have not had measles or if you have not had two doses of MMR, you may be at risk. Measles is easily passed from person to person and can be a serious illness in adults as well as children. It is never too late to have the vaccine.