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gemma asked...

My daughter, age 3, has been exposed to measles...

My daughter, age 3, has been exposed to measles. she has not been vaccinated. would it be advisable get her vaccinated, may this reduce her risk.

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The answer

Thank you for writing to Ask the Expert.

Measles is a serious viral illness that can lead to many complications so we as health professionals would very much recommend that you have your child vaccinated as soon as possible.

Measles can develop around 10 days after initial infection and usually presents with the following symptoms:

  • cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and a cough
  • sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
  • a high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40C (104F)
  • small greyish-white spots on the inside of the cheeks

A few days later, a red-brown blotchy rash will appear. This usually starts on the head or upper neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body.

In the UK the Measles vaccination is usually offered in a combined injection along with the vaccinations against Rubella and Mumps- known as the MMR.

This vaccination is usually offered between 12-18 months of age and a second dose at 36 – 42 months of age.

Individual vaccinations are not available on the NHS as they are unproven to be effective.

An alternative vaccination to help reduce the likelihood of acquiring measles is the Human Normal Immunoglobulin vaccination (HNIG) which is a short-term but immediate source of protection.

However the HNIG should be given within 6 days of exposure to the measles virus.

We would recommend that you and your daughter visit your GP or Practice Nurse to discuss vaccination, receive the vaccinations and or blood tests to check immunity levels as soon as possible.

For further information please visit the NHS Choices website-

Measles - NHS

Wishing you all the best.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses