As my son packs his bags to head off to yet another music festival this summer, I am now adding measles to my list of concerns. Because I too was taken in by the now discredited Dr Andrew Wakeman who linked the MMR to autism and I did not get him vaccinated. Note to self – arrange GP appointment immediately for son to get vaccinated.
Apparently a “significant number” of measles cases has been linked to music festival events, with 36 cases reported in June and July alone and more are expected as the outbreaks are investigated.
Public Health England describes festivals as the “ideal place” for the infection to spread because of the large numbers of people mixing together. And people are advised to ensure they are vaccinated against measles.
A statement on the Public Health England website says that:
“Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications.So, if you think you might have measles, please don’t go to any of these big events.”
Measles starts with cold-like symptoms that develop about 10 days after becoming infected. This is followed a few days later by the measles rash. For most people, the illness lasts around 7 to 10 days in total.
Initial Symptoms of measles can include:
- a runny or blocked nose
- watery eyes
- swollen eyelids
- sore, red eyes, that may be sensitive to light
- a high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40C (104F)
- small greyish-white spots in the mouth (see below)
- aches and pains
- a cough
- loss of appetite
- tiredness, irritability and a general lack of energy
A few days before the rash appears, many people with measles might develop small greyish-white spots in their mouth. Not everyone will have these spots, but if someone has them in addition to the other symptoms listed above or a rash, it’s highly likely they have the condition. The spots usually last a few days.
The measles rash
The measles rash appears around two to four days after the initial symptoms and normally fades after about a week.
You’ll usually feel most ill on the first or second day after the rash develops.
What does the rash look like?
- small red-brown, flat or slightly raised spots that may join together into larger blotchy patches
- usually first appears on the head or neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body
- is slightly itchy for some people
When to see your GP
Contact your GP as soon as possible if you suspect that you or your child has measles, even if you’re not completely sure.
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’ve been in close contact with someone who has measles and you’ve not been fully vaccinated or haven’t had the infection before – even if you don’t have any symptoms yet.
Information taken from NHS Choices website