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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.
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:
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.
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:
Stay off nursery, school or work for at least 4 days from when the rash first appears.
Also try to avoid close contact with babies and anyone who is pregnant or has a weakened immune system.
Measles is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. There are things you can do to reduce the risk of spreading or catching it.
wash your hands often with soap and warm water
use tissues when you cough or sneeze
throw used tissues in the bin
do not share cutlery, cups, towels, clothes, or bedding
Measles can lead to serious problems if it spreads to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or brain.
Problems that can be caused by measles include:
These problems are rare, but some people are more at risk. This includes babies and people with weakened immune systems.
If you get measles when you’re pregnant, it could harm your baby.
It can cause:
It’s important to get medical advice if you’re pregnant and have been in close contact with someone who has measles.
You or your child has measles and:
The MMR vaccine is offered to all children in the UK. 2 doses can give lifelong protection against measles, mumps, and rubella.
Ask at your GP surgery if you’re not sure you or your child have had the vaccine. They can give it for free on the NHS.