Measles cases on the rise: Wakefield parents 'strongly urged' to make one check
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Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust has issued the warning to parents, urging them to make sure children have two doses of the MMR vaccine, which can help stop them becoming seriously unwell with measles.
Measles is a highly infectious disease that can lead to serious problems such as pneumonia, meningitis, and on rare occasions, long-term disability or death.
Symptoms include a high fever, sore red watery eyes and a blotchy red brown rash, and it is particularly easy to catch in environments when in close contact with others.
Children are offered the first dose of the MMR vaccine which protects against measles, mumps and rubella when they turn one and the second dose at three years and four months.
Healthcare professionals have been alerted to the recent rise in cases and asked to be vigilant to further cases whilst also working with communities to increase vaccination uptake.
Dr Simon Padfield, Consultant in Health Protection at UKHSA Yorkshire and Humber, said: “We are calling on all parents and guardians to make sure their children are up to date with their 2 MMR doses. It’s never too late to catch up, and you can get the MMR vaccine for free on the NHS whatever your age.
“Vaccines are our best line of defence against diseases like measles, mumps and rubella and help stop outbreaks occurring in the community.
“Measles spreads very easily and can lead to complications that require a stay in hospital and on rare occasions can cause lifelong disability or death, so it is very concerning to see cases starting to pick up this year."
Measles is a highly infectious viral illness, so anyone with symptoms is advised to stay at home and phone their GP or NHS 111 for advice, before visiting the surgery or A&E, to prevent the illness spreading further.
Measles is an infection that spreads very easily and can cause serious problems in some people. Having the MMR vaccine is the best way to prevent it.
Check if you or your child has 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.
The first symptoms of measles include: A high temperature, a runny or blocked nose, sneezing, a cough, red, sore, watery eyes.
Spots in the mouth
Small white spots may appear inside the cheeks and on the back of the lips a few days later. These spots usually last a few days.
The measles rash
A rash usually appears a few days after the cold-like symptoms. The rash starts on the face and behind the ears before spreading to the rest of the body. The spots of the measles rash are sometimes raised and join together to form blotchy patches. They're not usually itchy. The rash looks brown or red on white skin. It may be harder to see on brown and black skin.
If you're not sure it's measles
It's very unlikely to be measles if you've had both doses of the MMR vaccine or you've had measles before. To see other rashes in babies and children, click here.
Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if:
You think you or your child may have measles
You've been in close contact with someone who has measles and you've not had measles before or you've not had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine
You've been in close contact with someone who has measles and you're pregnant – measles can be serious in pregnancy
You have a weakened immune system and think you have measles or have been in close contact with someone with measles
Measles can spread to others easily. Call your GP surgery before you go in. They may suggest talking over the phone.
You can also call 111 or get help from 111 online.
How to look after yourself or your child
Measles usually starts to get better in about a week.
After seeing a GP, there are things you can do to help ease the symptoms and reduce the risk of spreading the infection.
It can help to rest and drink plenty fluids, such as water, to avoid dehydration, take paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve a high temperature – do not give aspirin to children under 16 years, use cotton wool soaked in warm water to gently remove any crusts from your or your child's eyes.
Stay off nursery, school, or work for at least four days from when the rash first appears. Also try to avoid close contact with babies, people who are pregnant and people with weakened immune systems.
Find out more about the MMR vaccine here.