Because we have considered measles not only a childhood disease, but a disease that has been eradicated, most parents have not given it much consideration past the decision of whether or not to vaccinate against it. But, with its resurgence, every parent should understand that a case of measles is serious and can even be devastating. So, let’s review some things about measles every parent should know.
1. Measles can be serious. Measles can cause serious health issues, especially in children under the age of 5 years.
- About 1 in 4 child in the U.S. who contract measles will need to be hospitalized.
- About 1 in 1,000 will develop brain swelling: encephalitis.
- About 1 to 2 in 1,000 with measles will die.
2. Measles Symptoms:
- Runny Nose
- Red Eyes
- Sore Throat
- Rash: staring on the head/face area then spreading downwards over the body.
3. How Contagious is Measles?
- Measles is an air-borne virus spread by an infected person coughing/sneezing.
- Very contagious: If 1 person has it, 9 or 10 people around him/her will also contract it if they are not protected (immunized or had the disease as a child).
- The virus remains in a room or on countertops for up to 2 hours after the infected person has left the area.
- An infected person can spread the disease from 4 days before developing the rash.
4. Your Child Can Get Measles in the U.S.
- Measles is common throughout the world: 20 million people become infected of which @ 90,000 to 146,000 die: mostly children.
- High risk if you travel internationally or if you are around people returning from countries where measles is prevalent: Europe, Asia, Phillipines, Africa, Israel.
- Brought into this country by unvaccinated people.
- As of June 17, 2019: 1077 cases reported in 26 states nationwide.
5. How To Protect Against Measles:
- Best Protection is the MMR Vaccine:
- 1st dose at 12-15 months of age.
- 2nd dose at 4 through 6 years of age.
- If traveling overseas:
- If baby is 6 to 11 months old, should receive 1st dose MMR
- If baby is 12 months or older, needs 2 doses of MMR, 28 days apart.
Measles is not just another childhood disease. It is a potentially dangerous disease, which can have devastating side effects. And the more than 1000 cases that have hit the United States this year, indicate that far from being eradicated, it is just waiting to once again make inroads into our country.
So, if you haven’t already done so, strongly consider vaccinating your children.
Feb 2015: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases: CDC