Friday, February 11, 2011

Alert, Alert! Measles is encroaching...

Ask around about measles and most will either indicate it is something extremely scary or something that they aren't at all worried about. Not all know what measles actually is and how the disease is spread. I'm by no means an expert but I like to research. This is written not as any sort of advice, especially for those who may face measles on a more regular basis than those of us in the US.

With a confirmed case of measles in 'my' city, and children not vaccinated for the disease, I decided to double check some facts. According to the World Health Organization, measles is a very contagious disease "transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. Initial symptoms, which usually appear 8–12 days after infection, include high fever, runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards."

Doesn't sound that bad, really, right? Of course no one really wants to get sick, and no parent wants their child to suffer.

Plus, with any disease there are potential complications. Measles has them as well (encephalitis is one and that can and even cause death (.3 percent *yes, .3, as in 3 per 1000, in the developed world, according to the always *reliable* wikipedia). One thing the WHO does not stress is how many diseases, including Measles, can be circumvented for many in the "developed" world, through sanitation, proper nutrition, and if the mother has immunity, breastfeeding. Young children/babies have immunity from their mother until around a year and a half from being in the womb.

There have been "recent" outbreaks of the disease in the US, but not all have been among unvaccinated individuals. According to research, dose of MMR vaccine produces immunity to measles (95–98%), mumps (97%), and rubella (95%). The second dose of MMR is intended to produce immunity in those who did not respond to the first dose, but a very small percentage of people may not be protected even after a second dose.

For those who choose to vaccinate, know that your child (and you) still can get measles, so still be diligent about washing up and eating properly. Also, I won't stress it again in this post... breastfeed if you can, especially if you are immune:

From the CDC: Why is MMR vaccine given after the first birthday?

"Most infants born in the United States will receive passive protection against measles, mumps, and rubella in the form of antibodies from their mothers. These antibodies can destroy the vaccine virus if they are present when the vaccine is given and, thus, can cause the vaccine to be ineffective. By 12 months of age, almost all infants have lost this passive protection."

For measles, it is important to have adequate Vitamin A. Vitamin A is found in milk fats (look for organic cow's milk, raw if you can get it and you trust your source). It is also readily available in many fresh fruits, such as cantaloupe and chard.

A few random posts from the internet, because we can trust everything we read :)

What side effects have been reported with this vaccine?
Fever is the most common side effect, occurring in 5%–15% of vaccine recipients. About 5% of people develop a mild rash. When they occur, fever and rash usually appear 7–12 days after vaccination. About 25% of adult women receiving MMR vaccine develop temporary joint pain, a symptom related to the rubella component of the combined vaccine. Joint pain only occurs in women who are not immune to rubella at the time of vaccination. MMR vaccine may cause thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) at the rate of about 1 case per 30,000–40,000 vaccinated people. Cases are almost always temporary and benign. More severe reactions, including allergic reactions, are rare. Other severe problems (e.g., deafness, permanent brain damage) occur so rarely that experts cannot be sure whether they are caused by the vaccine or not.

Can the live virus in the vaccine cause measles, mumps, and/or rubella?
Because the measles, mumps, and rubella viruses in the MMR vaccine are weak versions of the disease viruses, they may cause a very mild case of the disease they were designed to prevent; however, it is usually much milder than the natural disease and is referred to as an adverse reaction to the vaccine.

Here's a nice link regarding keeping healthy with the use of herbs.

And you, what are you doing or not doing? Is your daily life impacted at all?

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