What You Need to Know to Protect Yourself from the Measles - Altus ER
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What You Need to Know About Measles

What You Need to Know to Protect Yourself from the Measles

Six cases of measles have been confirmed so far in Ellis County South of Dallas, one such case involves an individual in Waxahachie. This patient reportedly went to the movies on January 9th at the Showbiz Cinemas in Waxahachie, health officials’ advice that anyone who attended the same cinema on or around that date monitor themselves for measles symptoms until the end of the month.

The number of confirmed cases represents a significant increase compared to 2017 where only one confirmed case of measles was reported. Because of this, the Texas Department of State Health Services issued a measles outbreak advisory on Tuesday of last week.

Altus Emergency Centers joins the Texas Health and Human Services efforts to educate the community in how to recognize the signs of this serious illness that is the leading cause of death for children under the age of 5 according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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What is Measles?

Measles is a viral infection of the respiratory system because the virus can be transmitted by infected individuals when they sneeze or cough, this type of infection is highly contagious.

How is Measles Contracted

An infected patient can release the virus into the air by sneezing or coughing, the virus can survive on surfaces for several hours, therefore even if an individual was not present when the infected patient sneezed or coughed they can still become infected by touching an infected surface.

Drinking from the same glass or sharing eating utensils with an infected patient increased the risk of contagion.

Infected individuals are contagious from 4 days before the onset of the skin rash and up to 4 days after the appearance of the rash.

Keep a Lookout for Measles Symptoms

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Symptoms of Measles

The incubation time for the virus is 14 days on average, although symptoms may manifest within 7-21 days.

Symptoms include:

  • Cough

  • Fever over 101°F

  • Red eyes

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Muscle aches

  • Runny nose

  • Sore throat

  • White spots inside the mouth

  • Widespread skin rash

The skin rash is the most easily recognizable symptom of measles, the rash is widespread and appears as red itchy bumps, it usually starts in the head and slowly spreads to other parts of the body. The skin rash usually develops within 3-5 days of having been exposed to the virus and can last for up to 7 days.

Complications, Treatment & Prevention

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Complications Associated with Measles

In all infections the risk of severe complications is always present.  The complications associated with the measles include:

  • Pneumonia

  • Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)

  • Blindness

  • Miscarriage

  • Severe diarrhea

  • Ear infection

  • Bronchitis

  • Decrease in blood platelets

How to Treat Measles

There is no specific medication for the treatment of measles, symptoms usually disappear within two or three weeks, and doctors may prescribe the following course of treatment:

  • An over the counter pain medication usually containing acetaminophen like Tylenol, this will help relieve the patient’s fever and muscle aches.

  • Plenty of bed rest, this will help boost the immune system

  • Drink plenty of liquids, at least 6-8 glasses of water per day

  • Take a vitamin A supplement

  • Use a humidifier to help ease the patient’s cough and sore throat

Preventing Measles

Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles, the MMR vaccine is a 3 in1 vaccine that will protect children and adults from measles, mumps, and rubella or German measles.

Individuals who have not been vaccinated and come in contact with an infected patient may receive the vaccine within 72 hours to prevent infection.

The infection can also be prevented by taking a dose of immunoglobulin (blood serum containing antibodies) within 6 days of contact with an infected person.

Altus Emergency Centers Texas is Here for You 24/7

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In Texas, Altus Emergency Centers are open 24/7/365, with no lines. Our facilities are well-equipped to diagnose and treat everything from major to minor adult and pediatric emergencies. We urge the population to be aware of the measles advisory and take necessary steps to avoid them.

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