(Madera, CA) – A recent outbreak of measles in Washington state has created a flurry of national attention. In response to the growing national conversation about this highly infectious disease, Valley Children’s recently published an informational YouTube video about measles symptoms and how to protect children against measles with the widely available vaccine.
Measles is caused by a virus which can be prevented by a vaccination. This vaccination is typically given at 12-15 months and another dose at 4-6 years.
“Because we’ve been so successful at vaccinating against measles in this country, most of us wouldn’t recognize the symptoms,” said Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety and pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Karen Dahl.
Measles starts as a common cold-like illness with fever, cough, runny nose and conjunctivitis, or pink eye. After a few days, a rash will begin, usually around the forehead and spreading down the body. Because of the highly contagious nature of measles, Dr. Dahl encourages parents to call their healthcare provider if they have concerns that their child may have measles or may have been exposed to measles. Calling the office ahead of time ensures that the child can get the appropriate evaluation and not expose any other children to illness.
The best protection, however, is prevention. Dr. Dahl recommends checking with your child’s pediatrician to make sure they are current on their immunizations, including the measles vaccine.