May 9, 2023
The MMR Vaccine: What You Need to Know Before Your Next Adventure
MMR Vaccine in Manchester
We know how exciting it can be to explore new places and experience different cultures. However, it’s important to remember that travelling also comes with some risks, including exposure to infectious diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella. That’s why, in this article, you’ll find some important information about the MMR vaccine, including what it is, what it’s for, who can have it and how SM Travel Clinic in Manchester can help.
What is MMR?
MMR stands for measles, mumps and rubella, which are three viral diseases that can cause serious illness and complications.
- – Measles: Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the measles virus. Symptoms typically include fever, cough, runny nose, and a characteristic rash that spreads from the face to the rest of the body. In severe cases, measles can cause pneumonia, brain swelling, and even death, particularly in young children and people with weakened immune systems.
- – Mumps: Mumps is a viral disease caused by the mumps virus. Symptoms typically include fever, headache, and swelling of the salivary glands, which can cause pain and difficulty eating or drinking. In severe cases, mumps can cause complications such as meningitis, deafness, and inflammation of the testicles or ovaries.
- – Rubella: Rubella, also known as German measles, is a viral disease caused by the rubella virus. Symptoms are typically mild and may include fever, rash, and joint pain. However, if a pregnant woman contracts rubella, it can cause serious birth defects and complications for the developing fetus.
Is measles a threat outside of the UK?
In the UK, 20 million measles cases and 4,500 deaths have been avoided since the measles vaccine was introduced in 1968. However, measles outbreaks and epidemics continue to be severe in nations with low MMR vaccination rates.
Before you travel, it’s crucial to make sure you have received your two MMR doses. Not only would it be unpleasant to get sick while travelling, but you run the risk of spreading the infection to your loved ones if you bring it home with you.
How does the MMR vaccine work?
The MMR vaccine contains weakened versions of live measles, mumps and rubella viruses. The vaccine works by triggering the immune system to produce antibodies against measles, mumps and rubella.
If you or your child then comes into contact with one of the diseases, the immune system will recognise it and immediately produce the antibodies needed to fight it.
It’s not possible for people who have recently had the MMR vaccine to infect other people.
What are the side effects of the vaccine?
Although there may be some side effects from vaccination, they are usually mild and much less severe than the disease itself.
Common side effects can include:
- – Swollen, red and feeling sore where the needle was injected for around 2 to 3 days.
- – Feeling unwell or developing a high temperature, this usually happens 7 to 11 days after the injection for about 2 or 3 days.
Who can have the MMR vaccine?
The vaccine is recommended for everyone, but it’s crucial for certain groups who may be at higher risk of exposure to complications from these diseases.
- – Children: The MMR vaccine is typically given to children between 12-15 months of age, as part of their routine vaccination schedule, with a second dose given between ages 4-6 years.
- – Adults: Adults who have not previously received the MMR vaccine, or are unsure of their vaccination status should talk to their healthcare provider about getting vaccinated.
- – Travellers: Areas where measles, mumps and rubella are more common should receive the MMR vaccine before travelling to help protect against these diseases.
- – Healthcare workers: Healthcare workers who may be exposed to patients with these diseases, should receive the MMR vaccine to protect themselves and prevent the spread of the infection.
It’s important to know that some people may not be able to receive the vaccine due to medical conditions or other factors. It’s essential to talk to a healthcare provider to determine whether the vaccine is appropriate for you.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t have the MMR vaccine?
There are some people who shouldn’t have the MMR vaccine or should check with a doctor first. For example, check if any of the following applies to you.
- – You’re pregnant – to be cautious, it’s advised that you don’t have the vaccine when pregnant. But available data show there are no safety concerns. So don’t worry if you find out you’re pregnant after having it.
- – You have a severely weakened immune system – for instance, if you take immunosuppressant medicines.
- – You’ve had a severe allergic reaction to gelatine (a substance used in some vaccines) or an antibiotic called neomycin.
- – You’ve had a severe allergic reaction to an MMR vaccine before. In this case, you’ll need to be assessed by an allergy doctor first.
If you are unsure, please check with your GP or a healthcare provider.
How SM Travel Clinic Can Help You
If you are planning to travel and need the MMR vaccine, South Manchester Travel Clinic can help. Our experienced travel health professionals can provide personalised advice on vaccination requirements, and help to get you up to date on your immunisations.
Contact us today to book an appointment and ensure you are protected against measles, mumps and rubella during your travels.
This blog post was written on behalf of the South Manchester Travel Clinic by Pharmacy Mentor.