I can remember, as a kid, getting my shot for measles, mumps, and rubella. I can still remember walking into the old police department in Williston and getting that shot because my arm hurt for weeks after. I am thankful my parents made that decision because I didn't catch any of these infections.

Measles Map
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Sadly, around 60 cases have been confirmed in 17 states, including  Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.  Back in early February, our own Mike Reuter put out an article where numbers were on the rise. You can read more about that here

What is measles?

Top 4 Things CDC Wants Parents to Know about Measles

1. Measles can be serious.

While some people believe that measles only causes a mild rash and fever that goes away in a few days, measles can actually cause major health complications, particularly in children under the age of five. It is impossible to predict ahead of time how severe your child's symptoms will be.

  • About 1 in 5 people in the U.S. who get measles will be hospitalized
  • 1 out of every 1,000 people with measles will develop brain swelling, which could lead to brain damage
  • 1 to 3 out of 1,000 people with measles will die, even with the best care

Some of the more common measles symptoms include:

  • high fever (may spike to more than 104° F),
  • cough,
  • runny nose (coryza),
  • red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis), and
  • rash (3-5 days after symptoms begin).

2. Measles is very contagious.

When infected people cough or sneeze, measles spreads. If unprotected, up to 90% of those around a person with HIV will also contract it. You or your child can develop measles from being in a room where someone has it, even two hours later. A person infected with measles can spread the disease for four days before and four days after getting the rash.

3. Your child can still get measles in the United States.

Measles was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000 thanks to a highly effective vaccination program. Eliminated means that the disease is no longer constantly present in this country. However, measles is still common in many parts of the world.

Even if your family does not travel internationally, you could come into contact with measles anywhere in your community. Unvaccinated travelers (mostly Americans and occasionally foreign visitors) who contract measles abroad bring it into the United States every year. Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk.

4. You have the power to protect your child against measles with a safe and effective vaccine.

The best protection against measles is the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. The MMR vaccine provides long-lasting protection against all strains of measles.

Your child needs two doses of the MMR vaccine for the best protection:

  • The first dose is at 12 to 15 months of age
  • The second dose is at 4 through 6 years of age

If your family is traveling overseas, the vaccine recommendations are a little different:

  • If your baby is 6–11 months old, he or she should receive 1 dose of the MMR vaccine before leaving.
  • If your child is 12 months of age or older, he or she will need 2 doses of the MMR vaccine (separated by at least 28 days) before departure.

Another vaccine, the measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccine, which protects against 4 diseases, is also available to children 12 months through 12 years of age.

None of this information is meant to scare you. It's meant to draw awareness, and to inform. You have a responsibility to safeguard yourself, but more significantly, you have a responsibility to safeguard your children and grandchildren.

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