Updated: Jun 5, 2019
7 questions and answers to help you protect your kids from the measles!
Have you heard? There is currently a small up-rise of the measles and if you are a parent this is a huge concern for you! I don't know about you but when I heard the news, as a mom, this brought fear to my heart. The first question that came to me was how could this happen? After I got a grip of myself and came to my senses, the next question was a more serious one; How can I protect my kiddos from this? No worries, below you will find 7 top questions and answers to arm you with what you need to protect your children.
1. Should I Be Concerned About the Measles Outbreak?
The short answer to this is, Yes. It wasn't too long ago when the measles was known as a common childhood disease that claimed roughly 450 people's lives every year and of these people many were healthy children. The turning point was when a successful dose of the measles vaccine was invented and this number declined. The measles soon became known as a mild illness and the seriousness of the disease got snatched away from the lime light.
2. How are The Measles Spread?*
The measles virus spreads easily through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs and someone nearby inhales the infected droplets. It can also be transmitted by direct contact with fluids from the nose or mouth of an infected person. It is one of the most infectious agents known to man.
Most of the recent outbreaks in the US have started with an unvaccinated person from the US traveling to another country with measles outbreaks and bringing it back to the US. Measles is very contagious and the virus can live for up to two hours on surfaces infected patients have touched or in the air where they may have coughed or sneezed. As a result, anyone in an airport or crowded venue has a chance of coming into contact with measles.
3. Should I Vaccinated My Child?
Most parents have this question and also wonder if the vaccine is safe? As a parent you are right to question the safety for your child. But, you can breath easy knowing that the answer to you question is yes. The vaccine is safe and you should vaccinate your kiddo. It's always good to remember that with every drug/vaccine there can be mild side effects and the risk of the measles vaccine causing extreme harm is minute in nature. The ultimate thing to remember is, it is 100% better to get the measles vaccine than to catch the measles infection. The benefits outweigh the risk here!
4. What Can the Infection Cause?
There is definitely no question about it, the measles infection is a serious disease that should not be taken lightly. In many cases in the past, the measles disease caused children to have pneumonia, encephalitis (infection of the brain), and even death.
5. How Do I Know if My Child Has the Measles?
The measles symptoms are very scary because they disguise themselves in the form of a cold. With the only difference being, the infected person can have a red or brownish blotchy rash after the appearance of the other symptoms below, which seems to get worse between the first 3 days.
Very high fever
Red, watery eyes
6. When Should I Vaccinate My Child?*
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Family Physicians all recommend children receive the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine at age 12-15 months, and again at 4-6 years. Children can receive the second dose earlier as long as it is at least 28 days after the first dose.
High immunization rates in a community protects those who are too young to be vaccinated, including infants under 12 months of age. These infants are at the highest risk of serious illness, hospitalization, and death due to measles.
7. How Long Does the Measles Vaccine Work For?
You are in luck because the measles vaccine is very effective. However, you should always remember that no vaccine is 100 effective. According to the healthychildren.org, " Some people may also be at risk for getting the measles if they only received 1 dose of the measles vaccine, which was the recommendation until 1989 when it changed to 2 doses. The second dose of measles vaccine increases protection to greater than 95%". So if you are not sure if you received the measles vaccine or you are one of the many who got their vaccine before 1989, you should consult with your physician because there is no risk in receiving another dose of the vaccine.
Note: The information contained on this site should NOT be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician or doctor may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.