So you canít listen to the radio or turn on the news without hearing about the measles. For many of us, it isnít a disease that we hear much about outside of textbooks and vaccination discussions since it was said to be eliminated from the United States as of the year 2000. However, according to the Center for Disease Control (and CNN), there were 102 reported cases of the measles from 14 states as of January 20. Considering that between 2001 and 2011, the median number of reported cases a year was 62, the numbers that weíre seeing this year are alarming.
What Are the Measles?
A respiratory disease caused by a virus, the measles are marked by a rash covering the body, as well as red eyes, sore throat, sneezing, coughing and a fever. Oftentimes people who contract the measles will also experience complications resulting from it, i.e. pneumonia and ear infections. Oh yeah, in case you didnít realize, itís also HIGHLY contagious. Itís especially serious, even deadly, specifically for the very young and very old.
How Can You Get It (or NOT Get It)?
The measles are airborne and can also be spread through contact, not unlike the flu. As per the World Health Organization, the measles virus is actually active and contagious in the air and on surfaces for up to TWO hours!!! Four days before and 4 days after a sufferer notices the tell-tale rash, it can still be spread.
At this time, the best prevention, according to the scientific community, is vaccination. The outbreak has been linked to the fact that there are many who havenít been vaccinated, whether due to personal preferences or health-related issues. Years ago it was just one injection, whereas now itís a two part vaccination, the first of which is typically given between 12 to 15 months old and the second between the ages of 4 and 6. (The outbreak of measles has spawned a huge political and social debate about mandating vaccinations. Thatís an argument I wonít jump into thoughÖ)
States Included in the Outbreak
1. New York
6. South Dakota
Iím not trying to encourage mass panic here, okay. But, I do believe that knowledge is one of the best defenses we possess (right behind handwashing! LOL), so youíve got to have the facts straight. If you suspect that youíre coming down with something, speak to your healthcare provider before flipping out.
Shari Grant is a Registered Nurse in South Florida, where she was raised in a (very!) Jamaican home. Some of the loves of her life are words (both reading and writing them) and missions work. She enjoys spending time with friends and family while living for a good laugh - one that makes her belly ache and her eyes water. Her bottom line goal in life is to make the Lord smile and maybe even serve Him up a chuckle from time to time, too.