MEASLES OUTBREAK IN WA STATE: A state of emergency was declared due to the number of cases of measles in Washington state. This is a reactive not preventative approach and though it is necessary it likely will not help stop the spread of measles.
The goal of vaccination is disease prevention, but fully vaccinated people get and spread the measles infection. If you are fully vaccinated you may still get measles so please keep reading.
If you are considering the MMR, now may be a good time to get the vaccine. Please know the contraindications before you vaccinate. This is important for my patient population.
The best way to decrease the spread of the illness is to know the warning sighs. If you develop a fever, red eyes, dry cough and runny nose then I highly recommend you sequester yourself until you know for sure.
That means do not go out of your house, do not go to work, DO NOT GO TO THE DOCTOR. As with all highly contagious illnesses you should call first for advice. If you need to call 911 tell them you suspect you have the measles. I personally would also not go near my family.
What if you don’t think you have the measles, should you stay home? Yes, even if you do not have the measles, if you have a fever we highly recommend you stay home so you don’t spread what ever you have to others. Spreading the flu is just as bad.
Most cases of the measles clear on their own after a few weeks.
Complications may arise, so be on the look out. About 5% of children will develop pneumonia and 0.1% may experience brain swelling or may die. There is a 0.008-0.01% chance of other serious complications. Complications in children under the age of 2 may be slightly higher than the averages listed above.
If you have a fever, red irritated eyes, dry cough, and a runny nose check your throat and cheeks for little white spots, Koplik spots, which further suggests the measles. Check daily for several days.
If you see these please stay home and consider keeping separate from your family. Call your doctor. Follow these steps and you may be able to detect the measles before it is contagious and help stop the spread of this illness.
I know many people go to work because they cannot afford time off. It would be great if the state of emergency helped cover the cost of keeping people home, but I have little influence here. What I can do is pay my own staff for their time off if they develop these symptoms. I encourage other business owners to make the same pledge.
I also urge patients to cancel their appointments if they have these symptoms. Order groceries online or have a friend or neighbor deliver them. Fever, red eyes, dry cough, runny nose, Kopliks spots are early signs of the illness. Rash is a later sign and at this point you are likely already contagious.