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Measles, a childhood disease once eradicated from the United States, has made a sudden comeback in the recent months. More recently, the disease has been transmitted within both Los Angeles and Orange County.

Signs and Symptoms
Like other, more common diseases, Measles is transmitted when a person sneezes or coughs infectious particles into the air. Individuals who are not otherwise protected are likely to contract the disease after being exposed. The symptoms of Measles include the following:

  • Rash throughout the body
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Fever

While these may seem like mild symptoms for such an infamous disease, the effects tend to intensify after the first one to three days of the illness. Many individuals also experience ear infections, or contract dangerous lung infections such as pneumonia. If left untreated, Measles can also cause swelling in the brain and can even lead to death.

Steps Towards Prevention
In addition to standard healthcare practices, the best way to keep from contracting or transmitting Measles and other deadly diseases is by immunizing your family. It is especially important for young children to receive their vaccinations on schedule. The Measles vaccine is given as MMR at 12-15 months of age and the second MMR at 4-6 years of age.

Herd Immunity
The protective effects of the Measles vaccine can impact more than just the individual who receives them. As young children and those with weakened immune systems cannot be immunized, they must rely on families, schoolmates and playmates to receive their vaccinations in order to protect them from diseases like Measles.

This is called Herd Immunity, as the immunization acts like a herd surrounding and protecting the youngest and most vulnerable members. When the number of vaccinated people in a population or community drops below a certain critical threshold, it allows the disease to spread. When everyone who can be, is vaccinated, the most vulnerable are protected.

Vaccine Concerns
Many immunization concerns begin with the possible side effects. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, the side effects of vaccinations are minor and generally diminish over the course of a few days. Some side effects may include mild soreness or swelling at the injection site. Though these possible effects may be irritating, the dangers of contracting potentially deadly diseases without vaccines is greater than the inconvenience of the side effects.

At MemorialCare, we firmly believe in the effectiveness and safety of our vaccines. Moreover, we believe that vaccinating children and young adults may be the single most important health-promoting form of intervention we can perform as caregivers. If the Measles vaccine is implemented in its entirety (two doses), it can provide over 95% prevention effectiveness.

All children and young adults should receive the recommended vaccines according to the schedules published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

Precautions While Traveling
Most of the recent outbreaks have started with an unvaccinated person from the United States traveling elsewhere and bringing the disease home. In order to prevent contracting Measles and other diseases while traveling, it is important to protect yourself before you set off.

Begin with visiting your primary care physician and make sure that your entire family has up-to-date vaccination records. While you are abroad, be sure to wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth and avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.

If you have questions or concerns, visit our Immunization and Vaccinations webpage for more information, or contact your primary care physician today.