Recent measles outbreaks in the U.S. have everyone worried, for a good reason. The virus can lead to deadly complications, but as of yet, no measles deaths have yet been reported in this latest outbreak, here in the U.S.Although the disease was eliminated from the country in 2000, meaning the virus was no longer continually present year-round-outbreaks are happening now, and over the past year, via travelers coming from countries where measles is common, such as the Ukraine, Israel and the Philippines, where large measles outbreaks are occurring, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
At Urgent Care Danbury, many people are coming in for the Measles (MMR) vaccine, and in this article we seek to answer your top 5 measles questions.
Q1: What is measles?
According to -Iftikhar Ali, MD, Medical Director for AFC Urgent Care: “Measles is a highly contagious disease. The only way to protect yourself is being vaccinated. If you are not sure about your vaccination status, it can be tested with a simple blood test for MMR ( Measles/Mumps/Rubella). If you are not immune, you should get a booster dose of MMR. If someone comes in contact with a patient who is diagnosed with measles and is not sure about his/her MMR vaccination status, he/she should go to a health care facility within 72 hours to receive the MMR booster vaccine to prevent the disease. If it is over 72 hours, you should go to the Emergency Department of the nearest hospital within 6 days to receive immunoglobulin”
Q2: What are the first symptoms of measles, and how quickly do they show?
First, people get:
- runny nose
- red, watery eyes ( conjunctivitis)
Next, people experience:
Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash will break out, and present as flat red spots that appear on the face at hairline, and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs and feet. Small raised bumps may also appears on top of the flat red spots.
If experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact a medical professional immediately.
Q3: How is measles spread?
If you’re not immune, you’re very likely to be infected if you’re around someone who has it, because the virus spreads so easily. You can check your immunization records from your doctors office to find out if you are immune.
Measles is so contagious, that if an infected person coughs or sneezes, they can infect the air around them for all others who are breathing it in. People can spread it 4 days before they first get the measles rash, and for 4 days after the rash starts. The virus can actually live for up to 2 hours on a surface or in the air.
Measles is so contagious that 90% of people who aren’t immune will get the disease if they’re close to someone who has it. Don’t risk it, get your Measles vaccine today.
Q4: Is the Measles virus preventable?
YES. Get vaccinated.
When you receive the measles vaccine, you get two doses of the MMR vaccine. Children usually get the first dose between 12-15 months of age, and a second before kindergarten.
On its web site, the CDC calls the vaccine “very effective” and states that “one dose is about 93% effective at preventing measles and two doses about 97% effective.”
Q5: Is there a treatment for the measles virus?
The simple, and important answer is NO. If you do contract the measles virus, medicine won’t cure it (drugs don’t kill viruses). The best way to speed up the recovery process and prevent complications is to drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest, and stay home for 4 days after the rash appears because of its’ high degree of contagiousness.
Remember: When you get the measles vaccine, you are not only protecting yourself against illness, but you are protecting everyone around you.
Come on in Today!
At AFC Urgent Care Danbury you can walk right in, no appointment necessary, to any of our Danbury walk-in clinics. We have 3 Danbury centers: 2 Main Street, 100 Mill Plain Road, and 76c Newtown Road. All our walk in clinics are open 7 days a week and ready to treat you. You can save time by checking in online and we accept most insurances.