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Measles: What Everyone Needs to Know

By |2018-05-07T11:35:59-04:00February 20th, 2015|

Measles: What Everyone Needs to Know

As of January 30, there were 121 confirmed cases of measles reported across several states including one child in New Jersey, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). So far this year, there are already more cases of measles than during an entire typical year. The CDC also reports that unvaccinated people are 90 percent likely to develop measles if they are near an infected person.

Symptoms of Measles

Measles are spreads through the air, with symptoms that appear 10 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. People with the measles are considered contagious four days prior to and after the onset of symptoms. Those symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • 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
  • A skin rash made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another

Unvaccinated young children, adults with compromised immune symptoms, pregnant women and adults who were vaccinated as children but their immunity has waned over the years, are all at highest risk of measles and its complications.

“The highly contagious virus is spread by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions,” says board-certified pediatrician Michael Chieco, MD, of the Pediatric Emergency Department at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, NJ. “The best way to protect yourselves and your children is to receive the measles vaccine—which is often incorporated with rubella and/or mumps vaccines—and has been in use for 50 years and is safe, effective and inexpensive.

When should I seek medical attention?

Call your doctor if you think you or your child may have been exposed to measles or if you or your child has a rash resembling measles. If traveling to your local emergency department, call ahead so that you can be taken into an isolation room to prevent the spread of the illness.

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