A recent measles outbreak in Minnesota is reminding us all about the importance of ensuring measles immunity for yourself and your family. McFarland Clinic Pediatrician Dr. John Paschen explains what you need to know.
Measles is a severe viral illness that in the past has affected children but can also affect adults that are not completely immunized. The symptoms of measles are...
- high fever
- coryza (severe runny nose and runny eyes)
- Koplik spots (white spots on the inside of the mouth)
Measles can be very serious with several complications, including...
- death for 1 to 3 people out of every 1,000 get measles
- encephalitis (brain inflammation)
There's nothing we can do to treat measles. Once it hits, you've got it.
It's also highly contagious. If someone with measles walks through a room and there's someone in that room that is not immunized against measles, they will get it guaranteed. There even have been reports of people being in bathrooms with measles and someone who's not immunized against measles coming into the bathroom a couple hours later and getting measles. It is the single most highly contagious disease that we deal with. The reason why, partially, this disease is so contagious is that you can be without symptoms for two to three days and still spread the disease. In other words before you even know you have measles, you're spreading it.
The bottom line is, make sure you're vaccinated, make sure your child is vaccinated. If you're an adult and not sure of your vaccine status, check with your primary care doctor and they should be able to tell you. Even if you decide to get another vaccine and you've been vaccinated before, it will do you no harm.
But mostly get your child vaccinated. Vaccinate your child for their health, for the health of the community, the health of your neighbor, and the health of the world.
For more information about measles, visit the CDC's website.