A Parent’s Guide to Understanding the Measles Outbreak

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measles outbreak

Once declared eliminated, the measles has been rapidly spreading both locally and nationally in recent months. In fact, there have been more than 900 individual cases in 26 states since the beginning of 2019. As the measles outbreak hits close to home, learn more about this contagious disease and how you can protect your family.

What are the Measles?

The measles is a potentially dangerous respiratory illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.”

In fact, if one person has the measles, as many as nine out of 10 people who have been exposed to the germs could become infected if they have not been vaccinated.

Who is at Risk?

The measles is a highly contagious airborne disease. In fact, children can contract it just by being in a room where a person with the measles has previously been.

The measles can be very serious to just about anyone who catches it. However, some people are more likely to suffer from complications, including:

  • Children younger than five years of age
  • Adults who have not been vaccinated
  • Pregnant women
  • People with immune systems compromised by illnesses, like leukemia or HIV

Those who were born before 1957 or who were already properly vaccinated are believed to be protected from contracting the measles.

measles outbreak

6 Common Symptoms of the Measles

As the measles outbreak continues, it’s important to take notice of signs and symptoms of the disease, including:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Red eyes
  • A rash of tiny, red spots

In addition to these symptoms, the measles can cause serious health complications, such as a brain infection. However, the measles are preventable. A simple MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine can provide protection from this contagious disease.

measles outbreak

Possible Complications of Measles

About one in four people who contract the measles will be hospitalized. In some cases, the disease has resulted in brain damage or even death. In other instances, people have suffered less severe complications, such as ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia and encephalitis.

How to Protect your Family during the Measles Outbreak

The MMR vaccine helps children and adults to build an immunity against the measles virus. Two doses of it are recommended for everyone. The MMR vaccine is about 97 percent effective at preventing the measles.

  • Children should get their first MMR vaccine when there are 12 to 15 months old.
  • The second dose may be administered as soon as 28 days after the first dose, but is usually given between four and six years of age.
  • This vaccine may only be used on children who are 12 months through 12 years of age.

As the measles outbreak continues to spread, it’s important to consult your primary care physician on the best course of action for you and your family. A trained health care professional will be able to answer your questions about measles and the vaccinations for children that are available.

Advantage Care Health Centers’ team of compassionate, caring medical professionals are here to help you stay happy and healthy. Contact us today to learn more.

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