Emergency advice


  1. Advise casualty to take recommended dose of paracetamol for fever, aches, and pains.
  2. Encourage them to drink water.
  3. If worried, seek medical advice.

What is measles?

Measles is a highly infectious viral disease which can sometimes lead to serious complications. Due to the effectiveness of the Mumps, Measles and Rubella (MMR) vaccination introduced in 1988, the disease is now uncommon in the UK.

Signs and symptoms

Look for:

  • a high temperature which may reach around 40°C
  • sore, red eyes
  • cold-like symptoms, such as, a cough, sneezing, or a runny nose
  • small grey-ish white spots on the inside of the cheeks
  • after a few days, a red blotchy rash will appear. This will usually start on the neck or head before spreading to the rest of the body.

What to do

  1. Contact your GP over the phone as soon as possible.

  2. Advise the casualty to take the recommended dose of painkillers, such as paracetamol.

    • Never give aspirin to a child under 16 years old.
  3. Encourage the casualty to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

  4. If the casualty’s eyes are sticky, use a damp gauze swab to clean them. If you don't have a gauze swab, you can use a clean non-fluffy cloth.

  5. Stay off school, nursery or work until at least four days after the rash first appears.

    Measles was considered to be eliminated in the UK in 2016 and 2017, but since 2018 its transmission has become re-established. Cases fell during the pandemic as a result of restrictions but have since risen. 

    According to UKHSA, in the first six months of 2023 there were 128 cases of measles in England, 66% of which were detected in London. This appears to be linked to particularly low vaccine uptake in some areas of the capital. 

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