What is Measles?
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by infection with the measles virus. It is one of the most infectious illnesses in the world, and can be passed by coughs, sneezes, and contact with infected secretions from the nose, mouth, and throat. Symptoms of measles include a fever, rash, and a cough. Severe complications from measles include pneumonia, encephalitis, and even death.
Vaccinations are the most effective ways to prevent measles and its potential complications. The MMR vaccine protects individuals against the measles virus and is almost 100% effective after receiving two doses. Vaccines are important because they help keep communities safe and healthy by preventing the spread of disease. Vaccines help protect individuals and communities from potentially life-threatening illnesses.
Who Should Be Vaccinated?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all children get two doses of the MMR vaccine, starting at 12-15 months of age and then again at 4-6 years of age. It is also recommended that adults born after 1957 without evidence of prior vaccination or evidence of immunity against measles should also be vaccinated. Young adults, such as college students and international travelers, may need one or two additional doses of the vaccine depending on their age and risk of exposure.
How To Protect Yourself & Keep Others Safe
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is one of the easiest and best ways to reduce the risk of infection. Be sure to wash your hands before eating or preparing food, after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose, after changing a diaper, and after coming in contact with someone who is sick.
Avoid Close Contact With Sick People
If someone who has been exposed to measles begins to develop symptoms, avoid close contact with them to prevent the spread of infection.
Vaccinate Yourself & Your Children
Vaccinating yourself and your children is the most effective way to prevent infection. Talk to your healthcare provider about getting vaccinated and make sure all family members are up to date on their vaccines.
Clean Surfaces & Objects
If someone who has been exposed to measles develops symptoms, clean any surfaces or objects that may have been contaminated. Use a cleaning solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water to clean and disinfect surfaces.
Measles is a serious and potentially deadly disease. By taking preventative action, such as getting vaccinated and practicing good hygiene, you can protect yourself and others and help keep communities safe and healthy.