As you hear more and more about measles outbreaks, eventually you might think that your child has measles.
Until a child develops the classic measles rash, the symptoms of measles can mimic many other more common viral illnesses, as they include fever, cough, coryza, red eyes, and irritability.
What Should You Do If Your Child Might Have Measles
And while many other viruses can cause a fever and rash, it is really only measles that causes the classic pattern of 3 or 4 days of high fever, followed by the appearance of a rash with continued fever.
Unfortunately, by the time your child has developed the rash, you may have already have gone to the doctor or ER a few times, exposing a lot of people to measles.
That’s why it’s important to try and recognize measles as early as possible, so that you don’t expose anyone else and get them sick too.
It is especially important to think about measles if your child:
- traveled out of the country in the past 7 to 21 days, the incubation period for measles
- recently traveled to or lives in an area that is experiencing measles outbreaks
- is not yet fully vaccinated, with two doses of MMR, keeping in mind that a small minority of people can get measles even if they are fully vaccinated
So what do you do if your child might have measles?
Ideally, you would call your health care provider, clinic, or emergency room ahead of time and let them know that you are concerned about measles. That allows them to take steps to minimize the risk that your child will expose others to measles.
While the child is isolated, health care professionals can then decide if it is necessary to do further testing for measles. If they do suspect measles, they may even call the local health department for further help.
If necessary, post-exposure prophylaxis might also be provided for the child’s contacts.
What if you aren’t sure if your child has measles? Put a mask on them anyway if there is any doubt! Don’t take a chance on causing a big outbreak.
During some outbreaks, communities have even had to implement universal masking of all patients and all family members to help get their outbreak under control.
And remember that the best way to stop these outbreaks is for everyone to get fully vaccinated on time and on schedule.
More on Measles Exposure Prevention Measures
- VAXOPEDIA – How to Avoid Getting Caught up in a Measles Outbreak
- VAXOPEDIA – Is the MMR Safe for 6-Month-Old Babies?
- VAXOPEDIA – Everything You Need to Know About the Measles Vaccine
- VAXOPEDIA – What to Do If Your Child Is Exposed to Measles
- VAXOPEDIA – Who Needs an MMR Vaccine?
- VAXOPEDIA – Why Are You Still Worried About the MMR Vaccine?
- VAXOPEDIA – The Myth That Measles Isn’t Deadly
- VAXOPEDIA – Who Is at Risk If You Don’t Vaccinate Your Kids?
- VAXOPEDIA – Who Dies with Measles?
- VAXOPEDIA – Why Are We Having Measles Outbreaks If MMR Vaccination Rates Are Not Declining?
- VAXOPEDIA – What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Measles?
- VAXOPEDIA – How Contagious Is Measles?
- VAXOPEDIA – How Often Should You Do Vaccine Titer Testing?
- VAXOPEDIA – News on the Latest Measles Outbreaks of 2019
- Think Measles Poster
- Are You Ready For A Measles Outbreak?
- Measles Information For Health Professionals (Minnesota)
- CDC – CDC Asking Physicians to “Think Measles” and Help Stop the Spread
- Measles Surveillance Toolkit for Healthcare Settings (Arizona)
- Minimize Measles Transmission in Health Care Settings
- When to Suspect and Test for Measles
- Measles Clinical Guidance: Identification and Testing of Suspect Measles Cases April 2019 (California)
- Measles Laboratory Testing Guidance
- Measles Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) for Non-Symptomatic Susceptible Contacts
- Measles Alert Poster
- Measles Alert Flyer
- Consider Measles Warning Poster
- CDC – Measles Importation Infographic
- CDC – International Travel and Measles – Infographic
- CDC – Measles: It Isn’t Just a Little Rash Infographic
- Measles: Questions and Answers