Watch out for measles!
Cases of measles are popping up all across the country. So far, 10 states have reported cases of measles— including Texas. These outbreaks are getting closer and closer to home, so you may want to take some precautions to keep you and your family safe.
Measles is a highly contagious virus that can spread through the air via an infected person’s cough or sneeze. According to the CDC, measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people they come in contact with will contract it. Infected people are contagious from four days prior to the appearance of a rash to four days after the rash disappears. While measles by itself isn’t a deadly illness, it can cause several complications (especially in the young, elderly, or those with compromised immune systems).
Signs and Symptoms of Measles
- High fever (can cause fevers as high as 104 °F)
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Tiny white spots on the roof of the mouth
- Widespread rash on entire body that starts as flat red spots but develops raised bumps
Measles begins like most other illnesses, with a simple fever, cough, and runny nose. A couple of days after these basic symptoms arise, tiny white spots (called Koplik spots) begin to show on the roof of the infected person’s mouth. Three to five days after initial symptoms start, the infected person begins to develop the rash that measles is most known for. It often starts at the hairline, but it can spread to the entire body. These symptoms can last for as long as two to three weeks.
It is important to bring a person infected with measles, especially a child, in to get treated. While rare, measles can cause encephalitis (swelling of the brain) in serious cases. This swelling can cause several complications from deafness, convulsions, and intellectual disabilities from brain damage. A much more common complication young sufferers deal with, though, is pneumonia.
We here at HCE recommend staying home and getting plenty of rest. Take medicine with acetaminophen to help lessen fever and body aches. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated. You should also consider taking vitamin A supplements, especially in the case of children to help lessen the symptoms of measles and keep the risk of complications from the illness low.
If you suspect you or a loved one may be suffering from measles take them to your primary care physician for official diagnosis and treatment! Be sure to cover your mouth or the mouth of the infected person with a mask to keep the spread of the illness as low as possible.
The only way to ensure your children don’t contract measles is to get them vaccinated. If you haven’t gotten them vaccinated, please do so immediately.