Prevent measles: Get vaccinated Prevent measles: Get vaccinated

Measles is a contagious disease caused by a virus from the paramyxovirus family. It is an airborne disease that can also be transmitted through direct contact.

According to the World Health Organization, the first sign of measles tends to be a high fever that begins 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus and lasts for between 4 and 7 days. In its early stages, patients can experience a stuffy or runny nose, coughing, watery or red eyes, and small white spots on the inside of their mouth. These symptoms are the result of an infection in the respiratory tract that has spreads through the rest of the body.

Getting vaccinated is the main strategy to preventing measles as well as chickenpox and rubella, which can lead to serious complications with children under age five. These diseases can be treated, however, with taking great care including eating well and drinking plenty of liquids.

According to the webpage KidsHealth, measles can be prevented:

  • For their first six months of life, babies are protected from measles through the immunity they receive from their mothers.
  • Most children are protected from measles because it is included as part of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine which is administered when children are between 12 and 15 months and again between ages 4 and 6.

There are certain high-risk groups that should not receive the measles vaccine. These include: pregnant women; children with tuberculosis, leukemia or with other types of cancer that are not receiving treatment; people with weakened immune systems; and children with a medical history of serious allergic reactions.

Related article: Vaccines, a preventative measure