Measles is Back :: It Can Kill, Yet It Is Easily Prevented

Disclosure :: this post is sponsored by Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health. 

Measles is Back :: It Can Kill, Yet It Is Easily Prevented

Measles is a serious, highly contagious illness that was effectively eliminated in America in 2000, but the worst outbreak in 25 years now poses a potentially fatal threat to children.

Although the measles vaccine is 97 percent effective, some parents in recent years have opted against vaccinating their kids for misplaced fear it’s dangerous.

But measles is what’s dangerous. The virus is now spreading among unvaccinated children, with more than 1,123 cases reported in 28 states through July 11, 2019, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No cases have been reported in Louisiana, but there are outbreaks in Texas and Florida, which are popular travel destinations for Louisiana families.

Measles is a serious illness. It can lead to life-threatening pneumonia and brain swelling, the latter of which can result in blindness, deafness and permanent mental impairment.

Two out of every 1,000 children who get measles will die, and one in five will require hospital care.

Measles typically starts with a fever of 104 degrees or higher, cough, runny nose and watery eyes. It’s only three to five days later that measles’ characteristic red rash appears, starting on the face then spreading to the rest of the body.

There is no known cure for measles. The only way to protect your children is to make sure they receive the vaccine, which is called the MMR. It provides protection against measles, mumps and rubella, and is typically given at 12 months. A booster is given at 4 to 6 years of age.

If you have children younger than 12 months and plan to travel, talk to your pediatrician about having your child vaccinated as early as six months. Even if your child has not been vaccinated and they become exposed, there’s a 72-hour window in which they can receive the vaccine and receive partial protection.

Click HERE to learn more about the measles vaccine, a map of the states where measles cases have been reported and much more.

Listen to Dr. Harris’s recent Medical Monday radio interview about measles risk and prevention on Talk 107.3 HERE

About Dr. Jennifer Harris

Dr. Jennifer Harris is board certified in pediatrics and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She earned her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed her pediatric training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

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