Measles – it’s not just a rash

Published on: Friday 5 July 2024

Measles doesn’t just cause your child discomfort, it also puts them at risk of serious health complications if the infection spreads to the brain or lungs, but this is preventable.

It’s easy to think that measles is just a rash when in fact it can cause serious complications. This is why one in four babies and children who catch measles could need to be treated in hospital.

In the early stage of infection symptoms include a fever, cough, sore, red or swollen eyes and aches and pains. For many children these symptoms cause discomfort and difficulty sleeping. The rash then develops a few days later.

It’s when measles spreads to the brain or lungs that it becomes very serious and even life-threatening. When this happens, it can cause:

  • blindness
  • hearing loss
  • brain damage
  • breathing difficulties

Measles spreads very easily and we are currently seeing a rise in cases in north west London. The best way to prevent the infection and the associated risks is through vaccination.

The MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine has been repeatedly tested and is regularly reviewed to make sure it’s completely safe. Detailed information about the vaccine is available on the NHS website.

Having the right information about measles, what the risks are and how they can be prevented is important when considering whether to vaccinate your child.

If you have questions about measles or the MMR vaccination, contact your GP for advice. Alternatively, you can visit one of the NHS pop-up clinics across north west London to talk to a health professional, no appointment needed. Whether you’ve decided to vaccinate your child or just want to talk to somebody, you can find your local walk-in site here.