Measles is one of the most dangerous diseases – it spreads quickly and can cause serious complications. The good news is that measles, and measles outbreaks, can be easily prevented by getting the measles vaccination. Getting vaccinated will help keep your family, and all those around you, healthy.
The measles virus causes a high fever, white spots in the mouth, a red rash, cough, and runny nose. Typically, a person will experience symptoms for a couple of weeks.
The measles virus can sometimes lead to pneumonia or encephalitis, which is inflammation in the brain. This can cause long-term brain damage. People who experience complications related to the measles virus may need to be hospitalized. Measles can also lead to death in some cases.
The measles virus is spread easily from person to person in the same way any illness spreads – through coughs or sneezes or close contact with a person who has measles.
There is no cure for measles, but it is completely preventable. When the vaccine was developed, it was thought that the virus could be completely eliminated. However, more and more people are not getting the vaccine, and because of this, we have recently seen an increase in measles outbreaks.
Who Needs It?
Children typically receive the vaccine once at around age one, and then again when they are between 4 and 6 years old.
Adults who have had the measles virus as a child do not need that vaccine because their bodies become immune to it after having the measles virus once. However, if an adult has not had the measles virus or been vaccinated, they can be vaccinated.
Is It Safe?
The measles vaccine is safe. In fact, your child is much safer if she has the vaccine than if she hasn’t gotten it. The fewer people who are vaccinated, the more easily the virus can spread – making it more likely that the ones who are most vulnerable to the disease, infants and those who cannot be vaccinated, will get it.
Because of the recent decrease in people getting the vaccine, the disease is spreading more easily and more people are getting measles.