Childhood Illnesses


Measles is an infection that spreads very easily and can cause serious problems in some people. Vaccination rates across the country have fallen and cases of measles are on the rise. Having the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is the best way to prevent spread. 

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. The first symptoms of measles include:

  • A high temperature
  • A runny or blocked nose
  • Sneezing
  • A cough
  • Red, sore, watery eyes.

Checking for Measles

Small white spots may appear inside the cheeks and on the back of the lips. These spots usually last a few days.

The rash starts on the face and behind the ears before spreading to the rest of the body.

The non-itchy spots of the measles rash are sometimes raised and join together to form blotchy patches.

The rash looks brown or red on white skin. It may be harder to see on brown and black skin.

Call your GP surgery to ask for an urgent appointment if you think you or your child has measles, or call NHS 111 for more advice. Measles can spread to others easily, so ring ahead as they may suggest a phone appointment to avoid passing the illness on to vulnerable people.

Getting the MMR Vaccination

Cases of measles are starting to rise again in the UK, but getting an MMR vaccine gives you lifelong protection from measles, mumps and rubella. These highly infectious conditions can easily spread in unvaccinated people.

Measles and mumps cases in England have increased in recent years, with 127 measles cases confirmed in the UK in January 2024 alone. 

It's easy to book an appointment to get vaccinated, and there are bookable and drop in appointments available all over Norfolk in the coming weeks. 

The Community and School aged Immunisation Team are delivering MMR vaccinations on the following dates:

Saturday 8th June

Clinic: Bookable Clinic

Time: 09:30 - 14:30

Visit: The Discovery Centre, Columbia Way, King's Lynn, PE30 2LA

Phone: 0300 555 5055 option 2

Dive Deeper

How To Avoid Spreading Measles

Measles is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. There are things you can do to reduce the risk of spreading or catching it.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water

  • Use tissues when you cough or sneeze

  • Throw used tissues in the bin

  • Avoid sharing cutlery, cups, towels, clothes, or bedding.

Read more about measles

How To Look After Yourself Or Your Child

Measles usually starts to get better in about a week.

After seeing a GP, there are things you can do to help ease the symptoms and reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others.

It can help to:

  • Rest and drink plenty of fluids, such as water, to avoid dehydration.
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve a high temperature – do not give aspirin to children under 16 years.
  • Use cotton wool soaked in warm water to gently remove any crusts from your or your child's eyes.

Read more about caring for a sick child

Attending Appointments

Cases of measles are increasing in England. In order to protect staff and other patients, if you have any symptoms of measles (a fever and a rash that starts from the head/neck down), and have not been vaccinated please do not attend any planned appointments. Instead let the service provider know so that it can be rearranged.


Who can Help?

For questions or queries about school age immunisations you can contact Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust by calling 0300 555 5055 and selecting Option 2 or emailing hct.csaisnorfolk@nhs.net

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

The Lullaby Trust - Baby Check App - This app has simple checks that you can do if your baby is ill and helps you think about whether they need to see a doctor or health professional.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below. 

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