What is measles?

Measles is an infection that spreads very easily. It’s unpleasant and can sometimes have serious complications. Having the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is the best way to prevent it.

Anyone can get measles if they haven’t been vaccinated or they haven’t had it before.

The first symptoms of measles develop around 10 days after you’re infected. These can include:

  • cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and a cough
  • sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
  • watery eyes
  • swollen eyes
  • a high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40°C (104°F)
  • small greyish-white spots in the mouth
  • aches and pains
  • loss of appetite
  • tiredness, irritability and a general lack of energy

The measles rash appears around 2 to 4 days after the initial symptoms and normally fades after about a week. The rash:

  • is made up of small red-brown, flat or slightly raised spots that may join together into larger blotchy patches
  • usually first appears on the head or neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body
  • is slightly itchy for some people

How can you protect yourself?

Students coming to university or college should make sure they have had two doses of MMR vaccine. If you have not had two doses of MMR, please see your GP as soon as possible. Please tell the doctor or nurse if you think you may be pregnant or if you are planning a pregnancy as MMR vaccine is not recommended in pregnancy. You should not be charged for this vaccine.

Find out how to contact your local NHS immunisation team

If you think you might have measles, DO NOT come onto campus or mix with other people.