Are you aware that measles is a serious, life-threatening disease? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, across the world, 36 cases of measles are reported per 1 million people each year. The more alarming finding is that around 1,34,200 of the patients die. Before delving deep into how to prevent measles, let’s try to understand what is measles, its symptoms, and the segment that is most susceptible to measles.
What Is Measles?
Measles is a highly contagious, airborne disease that is caused by the measles virus. When an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks the virus will spread through the air. The other people who breathe them in can be infected by measles.
The other possibility is when a person touches contaminated objects or surfaces and catches the virus infection. It is to be noted that the measles virus stays active in the air and remains contagious for up to two hours.
Once a person is exposed to the measles virus, he/she will start showing symptoms within 10 to 14 days. The symptoms are similar to that of regular flu including a high fever, severe cough, tiredness, red or bloodshot eyes, and a runny nose.
The most worrying part is that children are more susceptible to measles. According to Kelli Newman, spokesperson at Columbus Public Health, measles can cause a serious threat to children below five years of age.
How To Prevent Measles?
Community-wide vaccination is the most effective and proven method of preventing measles. It is to be noted that the vaccine is safe and cost-effective as well.
All children need to be administered with measles vaccines. According to experts, children should be given the vaccine in two doses – the first dose for those falling between 12 to 15 months of age and the second for those in the age category of 4 to 6 years. One dose is nearly 93% effective in preventing measles among those who come into contact with the virus. Two doses were found to be 97% effective.
How Measles Vaccine Is Administered?
The measles vaccine is either given alone or in combination with vaccines for mumps, rubella, and/or varicella.
The cost of the measles vaccine is less than US$ 1 per child. According to the CDC, more than 90% of children in the United States are administered with measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines by the age of 2.
People Who Shouldn’t Get A Measles Vaccine
Pregnant people should stay away from taking the measles vaccine. The other instances where one shouldn’t get a measles vaccine are an immune system disease or an allergic reaction to a previous vaccine.
Immunity To Measles
There are two ways that a person becomes immune to measles. The first instance is when they have already been infected by measles in the past. In such cases, they would gain immunity and won’t catch the infection again. The second category of people is those who have received 2 doses of the measles vaccine. By doing a blood test, you will get to know whether your body has antibodies that offer protection against the virus.
Top 5 Protection Measures To Take Against Measles
Apart from vaccination, there are some other protection measures to be adopted against measles.
- Keep your children away from crowded places. Also, stop them from getting close to a patient diagnosed with measles.
- If any member at your house is infected with measles, make sure that they are quarantined for a period of 18 days.
- Ensure that the quarantined person wears a mask when he/she is in common rooms.
- Wear a well-fitted mask and maintain proper distance when you are in the company of a person diagnosed with measles.
- When you are going near a measles-infected person, follow proper hand hygiene. Wash your hands with a minimum of 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Hope you got valuable insights on how to prevent measles effectively. Apart from the protection measures discussed above, employers at workplaces need to encourage their employees to take measles vaccination. They should also ensure that proper measures are followed for early identification and timely isolation of suspected and confirmed cases of measles.