Measles: What Parents Should Know
A measles case has been reported in Travis County on December 22, 2019. Out of an abundance of caution following Travis County’s first instance of the measles, Austin Public Health is continuously monitoring for measles cases early this year.
Confirmed cases of measles continue to rise in the United States, making 2019 the highest number of US cases in 25 years. Measles is a highly infectious virus that lives on the throat and nose mucous of an infected person. Hence, it is essential that families understand its symptoms, method(s) of transmission, and complications.
Parents might be hearing a lot about measles at this time of the year. Physicians Premier, your Austin ER, is dedicated in ensuring our patients are educated and safe.
Here are some of the most important facts about measles that parents should know.
1. Measles can be very contagious. Caused by the rubeola virus, measles is a highly infectious disease. There are some who think that measles is just a rash that clears up in a couple of days, but the truth is, this illness can cause serious health complications like vomiting, diarrhea, ear infection, inflammation of the voice box, seizures caused by fever, and infections of the airways and lungs.
Uncommon complications are as follows:
- Infection of the brain and spinal cord membranes
- Serious eye disorders
- Fatal brain complications
- Heart and nervous system problems
2. Measles can be transmitted through coughing or sneezing, or by touching a contaminated surface. The virus can live for up to 2 hours in the area where the infected person sneezed or coughed. Yes, your child can become infected just by being in a room where an infected person has been.
Sharing eating utensils or drinking from the same glass of an infected person will also heighten your risk of being infected.
Those who are infected can spread the illness 4 days before and after the rash appears.
3. Parents can protect their families against measles by getting their families vaccinated. The MMR or the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine remains the best protection against measles.
Your child requires two doses for maximum protection:
- First dose: 12-15 months of age
- Second dose: 4-6 years of age
There is also another vaccine, the MMRV or the measles-mumps-rubella-varicella vaccine, which can protect kids 12 months to 12 years of age.
Keep a lookout for the symptoms of measles. They include:
- Fever of over 101°F
- Sensitivity to light
- Red eyes
- Runny nose
- Muscle pains
- Sore throat
- Widespread skin rash (develops at least 3 days after exposure to the virus)
- White spots inside the mouth
Physicians Premier, your Austin ER, is open 24/7 daily for the community. Our facility is well-equipped to diagnose and treat all medical illnesses and injuries.