With the measles scare in Disneyland earlier this week, doctors have pointed out that the illness is on the rise all over California and the rest of the U.S., but are also quick to say the increase in cases does not mean a widespread outbreak is likely.
There is no danger at Disneyland now from the cases reported in December, but Californians should know the warning signs that someone may be infected with measles.
In any case there's no danger of this case causing an epidemic; but if you are exposed to this virus you need to know the facts because the measles is very contagious and it’s possible to catch it four days before symptoms come on.
Anyone who finds out they were exposed to the measles should ask their doctor about the vaccine.
The good news is that everyone born before 1957 had the measles and is immune for life. All others can get a simple blood test to see if they need the vaccine.
Although a red rash on the face and chest is what most people think of as the prominent indications of measles, it’s rarely the first symptom.
The first symptoms are usually cough, fever, a sore throat and sensitive eyes. Eyes are so sensitive most people don’t like to open them because the light hurts. The throat is so sore that swallowing is almost impossible.
Measles is a much more serious disease than chicken pox, but the good news is that if someone born before 1957 is exposed to the virus, they likely don’t need a vaccine. Most of the rest of the population would just need a booster shot.
Dr. Bruce’s advice: If you were close to and exposed to the infected people at Disneyland you need a vaccine unless you were born before 1957. If you were not exposed don’t worry, it’s not spreading widely.
But, do get tested next time you see a doctor and see if you need a booster. That should be a guideline for all childhood vaccines, which may not last a lifetime.