Measles – Answers to All Your Questions!

By Dr. Amit Jain, Pediatrician

What is measles?
It is a once common childhood illness, now much rarer, thanks to the advent of the measles vaccine.

What are the symptoms of measles?
1. The most commonly associated sign of measles is a rash – a red or brownish blotchy rash covering the entire body.

2. This is often associated with high fevers.

3. However, before the rash and fevers, children will develop common cold – like symptoms which worsen within the first 1-3 days of the illness: Cough, runny nose, red or watery eyes, fevers

Although measles is often a mild illness despite the high fevers, there can be additional issues that arise such as:
• Pneumonia.
• encephalitis (infection of the brain).
• or even death.

Before the creation of the measles vaccine, of every 1000 people who got measles, 1-2 would die, leading to 450 deaths per year – most of whom were healthy children.

How is measles spread?
It is spread easily through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs, and a nearby person inhales the infected droplets. It can also be spread through contact with an infected person’s fluids – such as from the nose or mouth of an infected person. It is VERY contagious – the virus can live up to 2 hours on surfaces infected patients have touched, or in the air where they may have coughed. As a matter of fact, if 10 people who have not had the measles vaccine were to walk into a room where a person infected with measles had been previously, 9 of them will get the measles! That means anyone in a crowded place such as an airport or another venue has the risk of contracting measles.

How can we protect our children from measles?
The measles vaccine is routinely given as a combination vaccine with Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) or also with varicella (Chicken pox vaccine, MMRV). It is given at ages 12 to 15 months old, and 4-6 years old, but can be given earlier in the case of an outbreak.

Is the measles vaccine safe?
It is absolutely safe! A vaccine, just as any other medicine we might prescribe as pediatricians, can cause side effects. However, for the measles (MMR) vaccine, side effects are minimal and include pain or swelling at the injection site, and mild fevers. The risk of the measles vaccine causing serious harm is exceeding rare and much safer than getting infected by the measles virus itself!

I’m not sure if my child has received the measles vaccine – how can I find out?
Please do not hesitate to make an appointment with your NOAH provider or pediatrician so that we may check and ensure your child is up to date on all vaccines. Certain children with immune problems or receiving medications that suppress the immune system cannot receive the vaccine since it is a live vaccine. Your NOAH provider is your best source of advise on vaccinations!

Are your child’s #vaccinations up to date? Schedule an annual well-child visit & find out! Don’t forget to bring your #shotrecords. To schedule an apt., please call 480-882-4545! #counseling #behavioralhealth #familymedicine #pediatrics #communityresources #prenatalservices #nutrition

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