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 haven't had it before, although it's most common in young children.
The infection usually clears in around 7-10 days.
Symptoms of Measles
These can include:
- Cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nise, sneezing or a cough.
- Sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light.
- A high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40C.
- 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 back 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 best to phone before your visit as your GP surgery may need to make arrangements to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others.
You should also see your GP if you have been in close contact with someone who has measles and haven't:
- been fully vaccinated with 2 doses of the MMR vaccine
- had the infection before
You should do this even if you don't have any symptoms.