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Children's health

29th Jan 2024

How you can protect you and your family against measles as cases increase

Kat O'Connor

Measles cases have been rising rapidly across Europe

The HSE has issued a warning to parents after a stark rise in measles cases across Europe.

Health professionals in Ireland are now urging parents to vaccinate their children against measles as the highly contagious virus continues to spread.

They have advised parents to ensure their children are up to date with their MMR vaccine. They noted the rise in cases in parts or Europe, as well as the UK.

A spokesperson stated: “We advise people to be vigilant and take necessary steps to prevent the spread of this highly contagious virus.

Dr. Lucy Jessop, Director of the National Immunisation Office, HSE said: “The importance of taking precautions to protect both the individual and the community from measles cannot be understated. While measles is preventable through vaccination, the virus spreads very quickly between people who are not vaccinated and can have severe consequences, particularly for babies and vulnerable groups.

“Getting vaccinated against diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella is vitally important as these conditions can also lead to other serious problems including meningitis, hearing loss, and problems during pregnancy.

Dr. Jessop stressed: “Remember, if you or your child has missed their childhood vaccines, it’s not too late to catch up.”

Measles is preventable if you’re vaccinated, but it can be a potentially serious disease. It also spreads easily through respiratory droplets.

What can we do to protect our families against the measles?

The HSE stressed that the main thing we can do to avoid contracting measles is to get vaccinated.

You can contact your GP to check if your child is up to date on their MMR vaccine.

Practicing good hygiene is also essential in preventing most viruses, especially measles. Wash your hands with hot water and soap frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to avoid infection.

Another thing you can do to help prevent infection is to be aware of the symptoms which include a high fever, cough, runny nose, and the characteristic red rash.

Anyone with measles symptoms has been advised to stay home to avoid spreading the virus. You should also contact your healthcare provider for any recent travel history. You can allow people into your home if they’ve had both MMR vaccines.

However, health officials advise reducing contact if you’re suffering from measles in a bid to limit infections.