What you need to know about measles

Friday, June 21, 2019

Kristi Kiyonaga, MD is a
pediatrician at the Everett Clinic
in Shoreline
By Kristi Kiyonaga, MD
Pediatrician, The Everett Clinic at Shoreline

There has been so much in the news about the measles recently. Even though measles was declared eliminated in the year 2000, there have been recent outbreaks in Washington State and other parts of the country.

Measles is extremely contagious and initial symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. Later in the illness white spots may appear in the mouth and a red rash breaks out on the body. 

Complications can be serious and include pneumonia and encephalitis, or swelling of the brain. These complications are most dangerous for the elderly, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and children. 

As a pediatrician and concerned new mom to an infant, I’d like to share some recommendations for protecting you and your family:
  • If you think you might have measles call your healthcare provider immediately. Be specific and state that you are concerned about measles.
  • Get immunized! The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is extremely effective. After two doses normally given at 12 months of age and again between 4 and 6 years of age 98% of people are protected for life.
  • If a baby’s mother has had her MMR vaccines or had measles infection in her lifetime, she passes measles antibodies to her baby while in-utero. This is thought to protect a baby up until about 6 months of age.
  • If you are traveling outside the country with an infant between 6-12 months of age, discuss giving your baby an extra dose of the MMR vaccine with your healthcare provider.


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