Protecting yourself against MMR

Posted 1 year ago

Measles, Mumps and Rubella are serious viral infections

The viruses are easy to catch for young people in environments of close mixing and contact. Protect yourself and get vaccinated!

Environments with lots of students i.e. Universities make for the ideal environment for the three infections to spread. Getting vaccinated and making sure that your vaccines are up to date can help you mix and socialise knowing that you’ve done everything you can to protect yourself.

What is Measles? 

Measles is circulating in England and in Europe. Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can sometimes lead to serious complications and can be fatal in very rare cases. Measles starts with cold-like symptoms and sore red eyes followed by a high temperature and a red-brown blotchy rash.  If you experience these symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has Measles, call NHS 111

What is Mumps?

Mumps is circulating in England, particularly among 15 -25 year olds. Mumps is a contagious viral infection and although complications are rare, they can include swelling of the ovaries, swelling of the testes, aseptic meningitis and deafness. Mumps is recognised by the painful swellings at the side of the face under the ears. However more general symptoms often develop a few days before the face swells. These can include:

  • earache
  • joint pain
  • feeling sick
  • dry mouth
  • mild abdominal pain
  • feeling tired
  • loss of appetite
  • a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F), or above 

Call NHS 111 if you think you might have mumps or have been in contact with someone who has had it.

How can you protect yourself?

The best protection against mumps and measles is to ensure you have had two doses of MMR vaccination. The first dose of MMR is offered to all children at 1 year of age and the second dose is offered at 3 years and 4 months. It’s never too late to get protected.

However, we know that some students of university/college age may have missed out on their MMR when they were younger as MMR uptake was as low as 80% in 2003. This means that many young people remain unprotected and so we are seeing measles cases in young people over the age of 15. 

The MMR vaccine is FREE and available to anyone who has not received both doses as a child. Unsure if you’re protected? Contact your GP to check. 

Find out more about the MMR vaccine here.

What else should you do to protect yourself before University?

Alongside the MMR vaccine, it is also important to remind students (and freshers in particular) to get the MenACWY vaccine which protects against meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning) – which can both be fatal. Find out more about Meningitis and Septicaemia here.