What are the symptoms of measles?
Rubeola, commonly known as measles, is a virus that causes high fevers, widespread rash, and respiratory symptoms. It begins as a cough, conjunctivitis (red eyes), and coryza (stuffy/runny nose) for about 2-3 days. After that, a rash appears on the face and hairline then spreads to the rest of the body over an average span of 3 days. Additionally, white spots may pop up on the inside of the cheeks; usually back by the bottom molars.
Why is measles such a big deal?
Measles can be quite serious. Infected individuals are susceptible to secondary infections, such as pneumonia and appendicitis. They can also experience diarrhea that can lead to significant dehydration and possibly hospitalization. 246 children worldwide die every day from measles due to secondary issues such as these. The gravest complication that can result from the measles virus is a rare process called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis. It causes inflammation in the brain that is typically fatal in 6-12 months. The only cure is prevention through vaccines. It is rumored that subacute sclerosing panencephalitis can result from the measles vaccine but much research has proven that not to be true. The vaccine is made of an attenuated virus, meaning that the virus has been weakened so that it cannot cause disease. An attenuated virus cannot cause any of the complications that result from a fully active measles virus.
How contagious is the measles?
Measles is one of the most contagious childhood viruses. It is spread through things like coughing and sneezing. It is so contagious that 90% of unvaccinated people will become infected if they are exposed. It was considered an eradicated disease in 2000 but we have since seen outbreaks in the US due to low vaccination rates and international travel. The CDC has reported 79 cases of measles from 10 states since January 1, 2019. Georgia is one of the 10 states with confirmed cases.
What can you do to protect your child from measles?
This all sounds really scary but the great news is that this disease is preventable with vaccines. The MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine is typically given at 1 year and again at 4-6 years of age but the second dose can be given earlier in special circumstances, like exposure or travel to an area with high prevalence. No child should suffer unnecessarily from an illness that could be avoided. Talk to us about protecting your child from this preventable disease.
Measles (Rubeola). (2019, January 28). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html
S. (2014, June 17). Retrieved from https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/Article?contentid=752&language=English
Hay, W. W. (2012). Current diagnosis & treatment: Pediatrics(23rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical.