Are you due the MMR vaccine? Adults should check their measles immunity is up to date

Posted on Mar 30 2018 - 9:25pm by admin

Measles is a devastating illness that can develop into pneumonia or meningitis and even prove fatal.

It starts with a rash and cold-like symptoms, and one in five sufferers experiences complications such as ear infections, diarrhoea and vomiting.

There is no treatment for the illness; the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is the only way to prevent it.

The vaccine comprises of two injections. The first dose of the MMR jab protects 90 percent of those who receive it, and the second dose tops this up to 99 percent protection.

Children in the UK are given their first dose of the vaccine when they turn one, and the second dose before they start school.

But it’s not just children to be concerned about. Adults, especially if they’re travelling to certain parts of Europe, should ensure their measles, mumps and rubella immunity is up to date.

“Unvaccinated people travelling to Romania, Italy and Germany – where there are large outbreaks – are at particularly high risk,” the NHS warns.

If an adult catches the illness, they are likely to get sicker than a child would, and suffer for longer.

Adults are also more prone to measles complications, according to the NHS. These can include vomiting, pneumonia, liver infection or even heart and nervous system problems.

During an outbreak, anyone who is unsure of their immunity should seek an addition injection of the MMR vaccine.

If you can’t remember if you’ve been vaccinated in the past, ask your GP.

If you’re still unsure, the NHS advises that it’s perfectly safe to be vaccinated again. A second dose of the vaccine won’t cause any harm.

If you work with children or you’re a carer, it’s very important to make sure you’ve had both doses of the vaccine, to avoid you catching measles and potentially passing it to vulnerable people you come into contact with.

However, the NHS states that most adults born before 1970 are likely to be immune because they’ve probably already been exposed to measles.

Earlier this year, a measles epidemic spread across the UK with over 140 cases reported.

If the MMR vaccine isn’t suitable for you, a treatment called human normal immunoglobulin can be used if you’re at immediate risk of catching the disease.

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