Measles: Symptoms, treatment and how to get the vaccine - but also carry out this step

Measles is a highly infectious viral disease which causes a fever and red rash, and health officials have warned of a current outbreak in Britain. 

While it’s common in young children, anyone can catch measles if they haven’t been vaccinated or if they haven’t had it before. 

The outbreak has affected 47 people in the West Midlands, 35 people in West Yorkshire and 29 in Cheshire and Liverpool. 

A further 22 people have been affected by the illness in Surrey and seven more caught the potentially life-threatening illness in Manchester.

But are you aware of the symptoms and what’s the best way to protect yourself against the illness? 

Dr Andrew Thornber, Chief Medical Officer at the Now Healthcare Group, has offered his best advice for dealing with the disease. 

How to tell you have measles 

Two to four days before the measles spots appear, you’ll usually develop other symptoms including a runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, swollen eyelids, aches and pains, a cough loss of appetite, tiredness and lack of energy, according to Dr Thornber. 

He added: “Usually a few days before the rash comes out you will have small greyish-white spots in your mouth. 

“The measles spots are usually made up of small red-brown, flat or slightly raised spots that may join together into larger blotchy patches. They can be itchy for some people and usually first appears on the head or neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body.” 

The steps to carry out if you have measles 

Measles can be contagious and young children and pregnant women are vulnerable to the infection. 

Dr Thornber said: “It is advisable to stay away from work or school for at least four days from when the measles rash first appears to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.”

The best treatment for measles 

While there’s no specific treatment for measles, the condition usually improves within seven to ten days. 

Dr Thornber said: “Measles can cause discomfort, especially for young children so it is advised to give paracetamol (liquid paracetamol for young children) or ibuprofen to reduce any fever and relive joint aches.

It is important to keep hydrated and drink plenty of fluids, especially if you have a fever.

“Sore eyes can be common when you have measles, so clean away crustiness using cotton wool soaked in water.”

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