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Make sure children are immunised against measles

by Laura Johnston

Parents and carers are being warned of the dangers of failing to have their children immunised against measles by Knowsley’s Public Health team.

They are urging households to make sure children are vaccinated against the highly infectious illness following the recent measles outbreak in Liverpool.

Measles is highly infectious, can cause serious illness and can sometimes be fatal. Vaccination with two doses of MMR is the only way to protect children and young people. The first MMR vaccine is given to toddlers at the age of 13 months and the second injection at around three years and four months before children go to school. MMR can be given to older children, teenagers and young adults if they missed their injections when they were younger.

And they stressed that measles is not just a children’s’ problem. Teenagers, young adults and anyone who has missed their MMR vaccination can get measles.

The first signs of measles are:

  • Fever
  • Cough, runny nose and red sore eyes
  • After a few days, a spotty rash appears. It starts on the face and neck and spreads to the rest of the body

And the team issued the following advice:

  • Contact your GP if your child needs an MMR vaccine – which is free
  • If you think your child has measles, ring your GP practice for advice. Don’t turn up to the surgery, walk in centre or to Accident and Emergency without calling ahead. The doctor will make special arrangements to see your child so that if your child has measles – they won’t pass it on to others
  • Keep people with symptoms of measles away from others to avoid spreading measles, and stay away from school, nursery or work for 5 days after the onset of rash
  • Make sure you are up to date with your MMR vaccine if you are planning to travel to Romania, Italy or Germany, where there are currently measles outbreaks

If you would like more information, visit the NHS website.