The Iowa Department of Public Health recently confirmed the first case of measles in Iowa since 2011. Measles is a severe viral illness that can affect both children and adults who may not be completely immunized. Here's what you need to know about this preventable disease.
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Symptoms of measles include high fever, rash, coryza (characterized by severe runny nose and runny eyes), cough, and in some cases get a condition called Koplik spots (white spots on the inside of the mouth).
Measles can be very serious. One to three out of every 1,000 people who get measles will die from it. Other complications include pneumonia, dehydration and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
There is no treatment for measles, and it is highly contagious. There is an extreme likelihood that someone exposed to measles will contract it. Measles can even be spread by someone who has it but is not yet showing symptoms, which can sometimes take two to three days to manifest. In other words you can start spreading measles before you even know you have it.
The number one way to prevent measles is to make sure you and your family are vaccinated against it. Adults who are unsure of their vaccine status should check with their primary care provider. Measles vaccines do no harm, even if you have had one before.