Measles is common in many areas of the world and is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can live in the air for up to two hours after an infected person has left a space. Many cases occur in people who are unvaccinated and traveling to countries where measles is common. Measles is not just a rash. It can make people very sick and require hospitalization. Measles can be prevented through vaccination. Most children should receive measles vaccination at 1 year of age and before they start kindergarten.
Check to be sure you and your kids have received the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, and before you travel internationally, double check to be sure that everyone in your family has received the MMR vaccine. People who do not have the MMR vaccine are at risk of getting sick from measles. If you’re unsure about who has or hasn’t had their MMR check with your doctor. You can also securely access your or your child’s immunization records by visiting Find My Immunization Record (www.health.state.mn.us/people/immunize/miic/records.html).
After returning from international travel, watch for symptoms of measles. Symptoms of measles include:
· Fever, with temperature over 38°C (100.4°F)
· Runny nose
· Sore, red eyes
If you have symptoms, call your clinic, and follow your doctor’s instructions. They will need to take special care, so measles doesn’t spread to others.
To get vaccinated, contact your health care provider to schedule an appointment. If your child does not have health insurance or a health care provider, visit Free or Low-Cost Shots for Children (www.health.state.mn.us/people/immunize/basics/howpay.html) for more information and to find clinics that offer free or low-cost vaccines. For more information about measles, visit Measles (www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/measles/basics.html).