Measles is a very contagious respiratory infection. It causes a total-body skin rash and flu-like symptoms. Measles is rare in the United States thanks to widespread immunization but is starting to see a rise in cases due to anti-vaccination parents.

Protecting Yourself and Family from Measles

What is measles?

Measles is a very contagious viral illness. It's also known as rubeola. It causes a distinct rash and a fever. Measles is spread through direct contact with droplets from coughs or sneezes from a person with measles. Although not as common, it can be spread by droplets in the air. The symptoms of measles happen about 7 to 14 days after coming in contact with a person with the virus.

Measles is felt to be one of the most contagious viruses in the world and some have quoted up to 70 to 90 percent of susceptible people exposed to the measles will become infected. It is spread via respiratory droplets and can remain airborne or on surfaces up to a couple hours after exposure.

Complications can occur, and of the minor, ear infections, croup and diarrhea are some of the most common. More serious complications can also occur and it is estimated that one in 1,000 will die from such complications.

Those at greatest risk are pregnant women, those at the extremes of age, those with poor immune systems and those with poor nutritional status.

If you feel you may be at risk for measles and would like to be vaccinated, one of our INTEGRIS Health facilities is here for you.

The best prevention is vaccination

Measles can be prevented with MMR vaccine. The vaccine protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. CDC recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination.

The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective. Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective.

Children may also get MMRV vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). This vaccine is only licensed for use in children who are 12 months through 12 years of age.

Some adults may also benefit from receiving a booster shot. Ask your primary physician if you are an individual that would benefit from a booster vaccine.

Understanding Measles

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David Chansolme, M.D. Talks About Measles

David Chansolme, M.D., is an infectious disease physician at INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center.

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