In the past three years, outbreaks of measles have gone up. Every year there are more, and with 2019 not even halfway done, the CDC is already reporting over 500 cases of measles in the United States. These numbers are the second highest they have been since measles was eliminated in the year 2000. With outbreaks of this deadly disease on the rise in the United States, families should be worried about whether their children are at risk.
To help our community be prepared for the measles, Oklahoma ER & Hospital is here to break down what the symptoms of this disease are, what it can do to infected patients, and how you can stop the spread of measles. One case of measles has been reported in Oklahoma, so it is especially important for Edmond area families to pay attention to the risks of measles.
What are the Symptoms of Measles?
The signs of measles infection can be frighteningly similar to other, less dangerous infections. The most common symptoms for measles are:
- High fever
- Runny nose
- Red watery eyes
- White spots inside the mouth
- Flat, red rash over the skin
Of these symptoms, the white spots called Koplik spots, and the rash are the most obvious signs that it is measles. Fevers, coughs, and running noses are all symptoms which might be signs of the flu or a small sinus infection, not just measles. Koplik spots and the measles rash usually don’t present until two or more days into the infection. This makes it very important for anyone who is suffering from high fever to see a doctor immediately.
What are the Side Effects of Measles?
Measles isn’t just a bad fever. This disease doesn’t just go away if left untreated. What makes measles so concerning for medical professionals are the complications that can come with it. The complications that can develop from a measles infection are:
- Ear infections
- Severe diarrhea
- Encephalitis (swelling of the brain), which can cause convulsions, deafness, and limit the brain’s cognitive abilities
These risks mean that measles is not only a potentially deadly disease, but a disease that can cause life changing disabilities.
How to Stop the Spread of Measles?
The key to protecting and treating measles is to prevent it. This highly infectious disease has infected people around the world for hundreds of years, but thanks to modern medicine and vaccinations, the United States was able to eliminate the presence of measles in our borders. It is only in recent years, and the rise of anti-vaccination groups, that have brought measles back to the U.S.
The measles vaccine, called the MMR vaccine, is vital to the prevention of measles outbreaks in local communities. The more unvaccinated people there are in our country, the easier it will be for the measles virus to infect people. Parents should talk to their doctors about getting their children, and even themselves, vaccinated against measles to keep your community safe from this disease.
Oklahoma ER & Hospital wants to remind you that one case of measles has been reported in Oklahoma, so it is especially important for Edmond area families to pay attention to the risks of measles. We encourage all of our local families to look into measles vaccines and to come to us if you notice signs of a severe fever or infection in someone you love.
Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on Oklahoma ER & Hospital or any one of our concierge-level, freestanding emergency facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.