Measles – What you Need to Know.
Everyone wants to protect their children from contracting any dangerous diseases which could affect the quality of life they would want for them. While there are a number of different diseases which affect one’s health, measles is one which has been known to put young lives at risk for quite some time.
Did you know that measles is a disease which is known to be one of the leading causes of a high mortality rate in young children? Do you know that this persists even though there is a highly effective and affordable vaccine available for the disease?
In the year 2014, there were 114,900 deaths because of measles on a global level, which means that there were 13 deaths reported every hour! But all hope is not lost, because statistics show that with the introduction and release of measles vaccination, a 79% decrease was observed in the total number of measles related deaths between the years 2000 to 2014, on a global level.
Hence, the release and use of the measles vaccine, helped to prevent around 17.1 million deaths!
While vaccination is surely the best and most effective way to protect young children from suffering from this disease, you also need to be able to observe the signs and symptoms of measles, so that you can get medical help for the patient as early as possible.
What Is Measles?
Measles is a highly contagious viral illness, which can lead to great discomfort for the patient and also result in serious complications. This viral disease spreads easily and is transmitted from one individual to the other through sneezing and coughing.
There are a number of symptoms experienced by the patient like a runny nose, high fever, cough and sore throat. These initial symptoms are followed by a rash which spreads throughout the body and causes consistent itching problems for the patient. Vaccines are the best way to protect young children from contracting this disease.
Who Is At Risk Of Contracting Measles?
Children who remain unvaccinated are at a high risk of contracting this disease, along with all of its complications. Any pregnant women who have not been vaccinated are also at risk of contracting this dangerous disease.
People, who are non-immune, which means that they had either not been vaccinated, or haven’t developed an immunity against the disease, are also at risk of contracting measles any time during their life.
The outbreak of measles is mostly quite common in geographical areas which have been affected by any conflict or a natural disaster. The damages caused to the infrastructure and other health services in an affected area, results in the disruption of routine immunization efforts. Meanwhile, the overcrowding in natural disaster relief camps greatly increases the chances of risk from infection.
How Can You Recognize Measles Symptoms?
If you or your child have not been vaccinated against measles, or haven’t developed any immunity against the disease, you need to keep a sharp eye out for the warning signs and symptoms, which announce the attack of the viral disease.
It is important to know that the very first symptoms of measles start to show their effects after 10 days, since the patient became infected. Some of the earliest signs and symptoms of measles you need to watch out for include,
- Sore and red eyes, which may demonstrate some sensitivity to light
- A very high fever which can reach up to 104F or 40C
- Symptoms similar to a cold
- Runny nose
- Greyish white small spots present on the inside of the cheeks
After a few days of these initial measles symptoms, a reddish brown rash, which is blotchy, will appear on the skin of the infected person. The rash has been known to start off and show signs in the upper neck or head region, before it actually spreads to the rest of the body.
How Is Measles Spread?
It is an infectious disease, which spreads through interaction, and close or direct personal contact, with any infected person. Anyone who comes into contact with any throat or nasal secretions of the infected person is also at risk of suffering from measles.
The viral is known to be active and also highly contagious while present on any infected surfaces or in the air, for a period of up to 2 hours. It is also possible for an infected person to transmit the rash from around 4 days before the rash starts to appear, to around 4 days after it.
Measles Vaccination for Protection against the Disease
The vaccine developed for protection against measles is called as the MMR vaccine. It has been developed to ensure immunity against mumps, measles and rubella diseases.
As per medical experts, one dose of the MMR vaccine has been found to be around 93% effective against the onslaught of measles even if one is exposed to the highly contagious virus. Taking two doses of MMR is estimated to ensure a 97% probability of protection.
The widespread use of the MMR vaccine has ensured an estimated 99% reduction in the reported measles cases in the country, in comparison with the numbers recorded in the pre-vaccine era.
Warning Signs and Dangerous Symptoms of Measles You Need To Observe
The symptoms are only observable about 7 to 14 days after the person has been infected with the virus. The warning signs of measles include symptoms like,
- A high fever
- Conjunctivitis or watery eyes
- Runny nose or coryza
- Cough issues
Sometimes, the infected person may also develop Koplik spots in the throat, which are the first signs of a measles infection. These are tiny white spots in the throat which appear just within 2 to 3 days after the body is exposed to the infection.
The only effective way to protect your family from the uncomfortable and dangerous symptoms that are linked to measles is to get proper vaccination done at early age, so that young children develop immunity and don’t become a victim to the infectious nature of this disease. An easily available and affordable MMR vaccine is the solution to effective protection against measles, and also other dangerous diseases like mumps and rubella as well.