What if your child is not immunised?

Highly contagious diseases like measles are harder to deal with than less frequently contracted illnesses like mumps, and unless parents opt out, children are usually immunised. But parents sometimes opt out of the vaccinating, either because they don’t have faith in the NHS or because they think the disease can be spread by vaccination. But what should you do if your child isn’t immunised? Covered in bugs Advice on how to immunise yourself and your children has changed since the MMR scare a decade ago, but at the time you couldn’t get a second dose of MMR until the first had been given. The vaccine is still not routinely offered until a two-year-old has already had their first dose. It can also be difficult to obtain, depending on where you live and if you are pregnant. MMR vaccination comes in two – the first is given in early childhood, after teh “point of greatest vulnerability”, and the second at two years.

Parents: If your child isn’t vaccinated, you should do things like: Check vaccine uptake is in the recommended range

Bring up their list of vaccinations with the GP


Hug your child often

While still at home, ask the doctor if there’s anything else that might be missing

Pencil down your child’s age on the list

Find out about free vaccines for yourself and family

Not vaccinating your child: What can happen when you haven’t done it?

How will measles spread? Simply by being around someone who has measles, the disease can spread like wildfire, spreading very quickly to those not immune. In severe cases, it can prove fatal – with death often only a matter of hours after a person starts to experience symptoms. What are measles symptoms? The disease usually only sees symptoms as far back as May or June, but there can be the faintest of signs as early as January. Along with a runny nose, a cough and a high temperature (around 40C), these other symptoms include: A rash that may begin on the face, but is more likely to appear on the head and upper neck

A fever of up to 38C

Runny or blocked nose that leads to difficulty breathing, coughing and wheezing

Fever of up to 37C. This comes as a side effect to antibiotic use and vomiting. Dr Allyson Stewart, of Digital Aids, explains: “If a child is not fully immunised they will have less immunity to some viruses and bacterial diseases such as meningitis and pneumonia, as well as to measles. “Drill down the symptoms and look out for them: They include: A runny nose, a cough and a high temperature (around 40C)

A fever of up to 38C

Runny or blocked nose that leads to difficulty breathing, coughing and wheezing

Fever of up to 37C However the vaccine is available for a second dose at 18 months of age, but not until a child has already had their first dose. Experts say parents should have their children vaccinated by a GP nurse or a registered pharmacist, and it’s worth noting that few free vaccines are made available to you. According to the NHS, anyone aged 12 to 35 months can have their second MMR vaccination by their GP. Mumps can spread in a similar way, with itchy, blotchy rashes on the mouth, throat and eyes occurring as well as a swollen gland in the neck known as the parotid. MMR vaccine can be linked to the infection so it’s not good to spread the virus around, especially in schools. Mumps can be prevented by MMR and a pneumococcal shot, but vaccination on the NHS is not made available until the 11-12 year olds have had their first dose of MMR. If your child is recovering from a bout of measles, see a GP. If they have not had their first dose of MMR, they can obtain a second dose from their GP.

Vaccine: MMR drops, immunity booster and other approaches to becoming immune

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