Photo of a young child with measle spots on their face

Measles

Measles cases are rising. It's important you know the symptoms of measles, what to do when you or your child has suspected measles, and how you can get protected against measles with the free Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination.

Measles is an infection that spreads very easily, and can cause serious problems in some people. You may have read about measles in the news recently, because cases have been rising in the past few months. Measles can be prevented with the MMR vaccination – a vaccine that’s available for free on the NHS. You can find out more about getting your MMR vaccination below.

Whilst the increase in measles cases has been seen mostly in the West Midlands so far, we know that the infection can spread quickly. That's why it’s important to know the symptoms of measles, what to do when you or your child might have measles, and how you can get protected against measles with a Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination course.

Symptoms

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.

Flu-like symptoms

The first symptoms of measles include:

  • a high temperature
  • a runny or blocked nose
  • sneezing
  • a cough
  • red, sore, watery eyes

Spots and rash caused by measles

People who have measles may get white spots on the inside of their cheeks and on the back of their lips, a few days after they develop flu symptoms. These spots usually go away after a few days.

Measles will usually cause a rash a few days after the cold- or flu-like symptoms start. The rash tends to start on the face and behind the ears, before spreading to the rest of the body. Spots of the measles rash may be raised and join together to form blotchy patches. The rash is not usually itchy.

On white skin, the measles rash looks brown or red. If you have brown or black skin, it can be harder to see the rash. You can find photos of what measles rash usually looks like on the NHS website.

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.

Call 999 or go to A&E if:

You or your child has measles and:

  • shortness of breath
  • a high temperature that does not come down after taking paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • confusion
  • seizures (fits)

If you have symptoms of measles, please stay off work for at least four days from when you first develop a rash. If your child has measles, please do not bring them to nursery or school for a four-day period after they develop a rash.

Self-care

If you have measles, you can look after yourself by:

  • Resting and drinking plenty of fluids
  • Taking over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve a high temperature
  • Use cotton wool soaked in warm water to gently remove any crusts from you or your child’s eyes

Getting vaccinated

The Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine can prevent you from getting measles. All children in the UK are offered two doses of the MMR vaccination by the NHS as standard. But you can also have your MMR vaccines at an older age if you haven’t had them in the past. If you haven’t had your MMR vaccinations, please contact your GP practice for a vaccination appointment.

You can also walk in at one of our pop-up clinics to get your MMR vaccination. Find our latest clinics below:

Peterborough

MMR walk-in clinic dates
Date Location Ages

9 March
9am - 3pm

Orton Child and Family Centre, 74 Herlington, Orton Malborne, Peterborough, PE2 5PW

1 Year +

 

Fenland

There are currently no upcoming clinics in this area. Please check back soon, as new clinics are added regularly.

South Cambs

MMR walk-in clinic dates

Date

Location

Ages

12 March
3pm - 6pm

Melbourn Child and Family Zone, Mortlock St, Melbourn, Royston SG8 6DB

1 Year

East Cambs

There are currently no upcoming clinics in this area. Please check back soon, as new clinics are added regularly.

Cambridge City

MMR walk-in clinic dates

Date

Location

Ages

2 March
9am - 3pm

The Grafton Centre, Grafton Street, Cambridge, CB1 1PS

1 Year +

18 March
9am - 3pm

Anglia Ruskin University (Ground Floor, Coslett Building), East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT

1 Year +

Huntingdonshire

MMR walk-in clinic dates

Date

Location

Ages

16 March

Appointments only
To book, contact hct.csaiscambspb@nhs.net

Priory Centre, Priory Lane, St Neots, PE19 2BH

1 Year +