A baby with measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the respiratory system and is considered dangerous to babies and young children.

In Los Angeles county, eight confirmed cases had been reported  among Los Angeles county residents — as well as six other cases involving non-residents traveling through the county — as of May 4. And the numbers could increase. County officials have said that  anyone who visited The Grove or the Farmer’s Market in the Fairfax District in Los Angeles on the afternoon of April 27 may have been exposed.

Nationally there are reports of measles cases or exposure involving more than 800 people in 25 states.

“We want people to truly understand the severity of the disease and if they or their loved ones or the people around them get the virus, it could mean quarantines and missing school or work for weeks,” said says Dr. Benjamin Barlow, chief medical officer of American Family Care, a national health network. “There’s also a lot of bad information out there about the vaccine and we want to clear up all the confusion.”

Signs and symptoms of measles usually appear about seven to 14 days after a person is infected. The initial symptoms include a runny nose, cough, red eyes and fever. A couple of days after the symptoms begin, tiny white spots may appear in the mouth. You can break out in a rash after three days of infection.

As part of its “Mission Measles” campaign, American Family Care has issued several true/false information guidelines regarding the virus:

Measles is contagious –  True or False – TRUE!  

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases and spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. If one person has it, 9 out of 10 people of all ages around the infected person will become infected if they’re not protected.

The measles virus stays in the air after an infected person leaves the room- True or False- TRUE!  

Measles is so contagious that the virus can live for up to two hours after an infected person leaves the room.

Measles is a bad disease, but it can’t kill you – True or False?  FALSE!

While many who develop measles will only have a mild illness, the disease can be deadly.  It’s especially serious for young children who could catch pneumonia, have brain damage, go blind, deaf or even die.

Adults don’t have to worry about getting measles- True or False – FALSE! 

Adults can certainly get the disease.  Those born during or after 1957 who haven’t had measles or have never been vaccinated should get at least one dose of the measles vaccine to protect themselves. College students, international travelers and healthcare personnel should get two doses at least 28 days a part. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) considers you protected for life if you received two doses of the measles vaccine as a child. 

You got the measles vaccine (MMR- Measles-Mumps-Rubella) as a kid, so it’s dangerous to get the shot again. – True or False – FALSE! 

There’s no danger in getting the vaccine again.  If you got the shot as a kid, you don’t need it again.  If you aren’t sure and can’t find your medical records, you can take a blood test at your local doc to find out if you’re immune or just get the measles shot, (MMR vaccine) again and it won’t hurt you.

The measles vaccine (MMR) makes you sick and can cause autism  True or False – FALSE! 

Top docs at the CDC say there is absolutely no link between vaccines and autism.  While the MMR vaccine does use a weakened form of the live virus to protect you, it doesn’t make you sick if you get the shot and you won’t spread the diseases from the virus in the shot.

Pregnant Women can’t get vaccinated –  True or False – SOMEWHAT TRUE!  

If you’re pregnant, doctors don’t recommend the MMR vaccine so that part is true.  But you should get vaccinated as soon as possible after delivery. You can still get the vaccines for whooping cough and flu. 

Measles is making a comeback in America but it’s not common elsewhere -True or False-  FALSE!  

Measles is still common in many parts of the world.  Each year an estimated 10 million people are affected by measles and it kills more than 100 thousand people.

There are natural ways to prevent measles, so there is no need for the vaccine.  – True or False?  FALSE!  

There is no natural remedy for measles.  Vaccination is the single most effective way to protect yourself from getting sick.