Caring for your child becomes a number one priority for new parents. Whether it’s protecting them from the cold by adding extra layers, or tending to scrapes and bruises after a day at the playground – a parent’s work is never done. Caring for your child sometimes requires the assistance of a doctor to administer medical treatment – including medication, screenings, or vaccinations.
Measles is one of the most common childhood diseases – and they are making a comeback. For new parents, it’s important to get information about what exactly causes measles, its symptoms, and the kind of preventative actions to take when your child is exposed to this virus.
What is Measles?
Measles is a contagious viral disease caused by the rubeola virus. This disease occurs mostly in children and is characterized by flu-like symptoms and a total-body skin rash.
- Runny nose
- Sore, red, swollen eyes
- A spreading rash
- Small, white spots in the mouth
How do you get Measles?
As mentioned above, this disease is highly contagious and so it is often difficult to avoid exposure because it can be contracted from someone whose symptoms have not yet appeared. When someone who has the virus sneezes or coughs, tiny droplets containing the virus spray into the air. The virus can stay active for two hours in the air, or on a surface. A child can also catch measles from having contact with the skin of someone who has the virus.
Prevention and Treatment
Since measles is a virus, there is no specific medical treatment so the virus has to run its course. A child who has been infected with the virus should receive plenty of fluids and rest, as well as be kept away from other children to avoid spreading the infection.
The most effective form of prevention when it comes to measles is through vaccination. The measles vaccine is part of the measles-mumps-rubella immunization (MMR) given to children 12-15 months of age, and then again at 4-6 years of age.
Generally, newborn babies are immune to the virus up to six months, since antibodies from the mother are passed in the uterus during pregnancy. If there is an outbreak of measles, the vaccine may be given when a child is 6-11 months old, followed by the usual MMR immunization at 12-15 months and 4-6 years.
What to do if your child is infected
If you suspect your child is infected call your doctor immediately, especially if your child is an infant, taking medicines that suppress the immune system, or has been diagnosed with a disease that affects the immune system.
Measles is preventable through routine childhood immunization. Dr. Selsky and Family First Pediatrics offer a wide variety of vaccinations including MMR immunization. Request an appointment online or call Family First Pediatrics at 407-335-4760 today to have your child vaccinated and protected against the measles.