Measles: Protect Your Kids
The number of measles cases in the U.S. has increased significantly in 2019, with more cases confirmed already than in all of 2018. Learn what the signs are and what to do if there’s an outbreak near you.
Measles is a serious health concern that’s been in the news a lot recently, so we wanted to provide some important information for parents and caregivers. Between January and April 19, 2019, there have been 626 confirmed individual cases of measles in the U.S., per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). To put this in perspective, it is more than the number of cases for 2017 and 2018 combined.
Where are the outbreaks occurring?
The 22 states with reported cases are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee and Washington.
4 Things Parents Need to Know About Measles
- Measles can be serious. It has the potential to cause very serious health complications in children, especially those under five years of age.
- Measles is very contagious. It is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The CDC says that if one person has it, nine out of 10 people around the infected person will also become infected if not protected.
- Children can still get measles in the U.S. Even though measles was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000 because of an effective vaccination program, it is still common in many parts of the world. Each year, measles is brought into the United States by unvaccinated travelers (Americans as well as foreign visitors) who get measles when they are in other countries. Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk.
- You can protect your child against measles with a safe and effective vaccine.The CDC says the best protection is the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, which provides long-lasting protection against all strains of measles. Children need two doses of MMR vaccine for best protection:
- The first dose at 12-15 months of age
- The second dose at 4-6 years of age
Note: If your family is traveling outside of the U.S., the CDC recommends:
- If your baby is 6-11 months old, he or she should receive one dose of MMR vaccine before leaving.
- If your child is 12 months of age or older, he or she will need two doses of MMR vaccine (given at least 28 days or more apart) before departure.
Common symptoms of measles generally appear about seven to 14 days after a person is infected and include:
- High fever
- Runny nose
- Red eyes
- Rash-flat red spots may appear three to five days after symptoms begin
What should a person do if they have been exposed to someone who has measles?
The CDC says to call your doctor immediately and let her or him know that you’ve been exposed to someone who has measles. Your doctor will need to determine if you are immune based on vaccination records, age or laboratory evidence and may make special arrangements to evaluate you without putting other patients at risk.
Skin of person after three days with measles. Photo provided by CDC.
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