How does Measles Start?

The recent outbreak of measles in Wales has sparked concern. Measles is a serious disease caused by a virus which spreads easily through coughing and sneezing. In rare cases, it can be deadly. The measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine protects against measles, as well as mumps and rubella (German Measles).

Measles starts with a fever, which can get very high. This develops into a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. About four days after the initial infection a rash of tiny, red or brown spots breaks out, starting at the head and spreading to the rest of the body. This rash can last for a week, and coughing can last for 10 days. Some children who get measles also get diarrhoea or ear infections. Children who get measles could be off school for 10 days or more and they may need to be admitted to hospital.

How can you Prevent Measles?

Measles can be caught through physical contact with an infected person or through the air by coughs or sneezes. You can also catch measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, or from an infected person even before they have a measles rash. A person with measles is usually contagious to others for up to four days before and after the onset of the rash.

If you haven’t been immunised or have not had measles before, you have a 90 percent chance of catching measles if you come into contact with the virus. Patients should drink lots of clear fluid to replace body water lost through the fever and Paracetamol and Ibuprofen can be used to reduce the fever.