With the latest news about Measles…it certainly has me wondering about our choices to vaccinate our children. While I avoid jumping into the debate over weather we should vaccinate our children on a mandatory schedule, or avoid them totally, I can’t help but wonder about the current status of the measles ‘outbreak’ if you could call it that. If it continues to spread, we are all going to have to come up with a plan. I have seen comments comparing Measles from everything from peanut allergies…to being homosexual. Let’s educate ourselves first. How do we catch the Measles? How does it spread? What are measles signs and symptoms?
” Measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. It can spread to others through coughing and sneezing. Also, measles virus can live for up to two hours on a surface or in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed. If other people breathe the contaminated air or touch the infected surface, then touch their eyes, noses, or mouths, they can become infected. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected. ” (Center for Disease Control, 11/3/2014)
How serious is the illness? The CDC (4/4/15) reports; “Measles itself is unpleasant, but the complications are dangerous. Six to 20 percent of the people who get the disease will get an ear infection, diarrhea, or even pneumonia. One out of 1000 people with measles will develop inflammation of the brain, and about one out of 1000 will die.” (4)
While Rob Ring, Chief science director for Autism Speaks (2015) has reported… “Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism. We urge that all children be fully vaccinated.” I know that this statement will fall deaf on the ears of parents who fear that vaccines may cause more harm then good – and – I don’t think they should expect non-vaccinating parents to send out a thank you card and rush off to get the shot. However we must look at the evidence presented to us and should also remember; Weather your child/adult has been vaccinated or not, it is still possible to catch the measles…possibly not the same extent, and at a much lower probability…but the possibility still exists (adults too). Which is why we move onto….How to not catch the measles.
How to not catch the measles (Keep in mind that the illness can spread by someone is NOT showing symptoms yet, which is why keeping good hygiene practices as part of your regular routine is so important…if people kept these practices all the time MANY diseases wouldn’t spread):
1. Avoid other people, large crowded places, especially people who are sick during contagious times. (while this may not be possible for many, abstaining from others is always the best way to avoid catching things). Build a cabin out in the woods, live off of the land. Get your own reality TV show, start a campaign for green living, etc.
2. Everyone coughing and sneezing should wear a mask.(can spread from coughing and sneezing)
3. Wipe down surfaces with a viral disinfectant (can live on surfaces for 2 hours after exposure)
4. Avoid poorly ventilated spaces (can live for up to two hours in airspace where an infected person coughed and sneezed–making the masks important)
5. Wear a mask Yourself.
6. Wash hands regularly, avoid touching your face.
7. Get vaccinated and hope it works. Ask to have your titer checked to see if your vaccine is still effective.
What are measles signs and symptoms? This direct quote from the Mayo clinic below; (Mayo Clinic 4/24/2014)
” Measles signs and symptoms appear 10 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Signs and symptoms of measles typically include:
- Dry cough
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis)
- Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background found inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek — also called Koplik’s spots
- A skin rash made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another
The infection occurs in sequential stages over a period of two to three weeks.
- Infection and incubation. For the first 10 to 14 days after you’re infected, the measles virus incubates. You have no signs or symptoms of measles during this time.
- Nonspecific signs and symptoms. Measles typically begins with a mild to moderate fever, often accompanied by a persistent cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis) and sore throat. This relatively mild illness may last two or three days.
- Acute illness and rash. The rash consists of small red spots, some of which are slightly raised. Spots and bumps in tight clusters give the skin a splotchy red appearance. The face breaks out first, particularly behind the ears and along the hairline.
Over the next few days, the rash spreads down the arms and trunk, then over the thighs, lower legs and feet. At the same time, fever rises sharply, often as high as 104 to 105.8 F (40 to 41 C). The measles rash gradually recedes, fading first from the face and last from the thighs and feet.
- Communicable period. A person with measles can spread the virus to others for about eight days, starting four days before the rash appears and ending when the rash has been present for four days. ” (3) (Mayo Clinic, 4/24/2014)
While good hygiene on your part will help ensure you don’t catch viruses like the measles, not everyone is as concerned and polite…hence the spread of the disease in public places. Why would you go to Disney World sick anyway?!
If you suspect you have the virus…call your doctors office, hospital, 911 center and get information about being tested. Do not choose this time to go shopping at the local mall, feeling the ripeness of fresh fruit at the local supermarket, or sending your children to day care centers and schools to spread the disease. Don’t freak out, practice caution and keep yourself informed. Common sense is on our side here…now if we could just get everyone to practice it! Treatment varies and is dependent on the severity of the illness and stage at which you are showing symptoms (call your doctor). I do not recommend googling photos of the measles…these photos have made popularity on the internet and are often severe cases (will inspire terror).
As always, thanks for stopping by and I wish you a wonderful day and good health!
This post is not designed to treat or prevent any disease. Call your doctor. While your doctor may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, using the internet as a substitute isn’t a good idea either.