Vaccine coverage high in U.S.

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by Dr. Art Mollen, Special to azfamily.com

GMAZ interview by Kaley O'Kelley

Posted on September 17, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 10:13 AM

PHOENIX -- Vaccination rates among America’s children remain high, despite a serious resurgence of measles among unvaccinated children.

Vaccination for many diseases remains at or above 90 percent among children aged 19 months to 35 months. The vast majority of parents are vaccinating their children against potentially serious diseases.

As of Aug. 24, the CDC knew of 159 cases of measles this year. That's the second largest number of measles cases we’ve had in this country since measles were eliminated in 2000.

Three outbreaks account for most of this year’s cases: 65 cases in New York, 23 in North Carolina and 20 in Texas. Thirty-six percent of patients were younger than 5 years, and 11 percent younger than 1 year, too young to be vaccinated. Most cases were among unvaccinated people.

The Vaccines for Children Program, launched in 1993 to rectify a crisis of missed opportunities, makes vaccines available to most children.

The national measles outbreak of 1989 to 1991 that lead to the creation of the Vaccines for Children Program was deadly. During those years, 55,000 cases of measles were reported in the United States.

Measles is common around the world, and continues to be imported to the United States, posing a threat to unvaccinated people.

The CDC recommends that children get a measles/mumps/rubella vaccine at 12 months and again at 4 to 6 years of age.

Measles is a very contagious infection that causes a rash all over your body. It is also called rubeola.

The measles vaccine protects against the illness. The vaccine is part of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) and MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella {chickenpox} vaccines. Most children get the vaccine as part of their regular shots. This is why measles is rare in the U.S.

Measles is caused by a virus. It is spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or shares food or drinks. The measles virus can travel through the air. You can get measles if you are near someone who has the virus.

You can spread the virus to others from four days before the rash starts until four days after the rash appeared. The virus is most often spread when people first get sick, before they know they have it.

If you have had measles, you can’t get it again. Most people born before 1957 have had measles.

The first symptoms of measles are like a bad cold, a high fever, a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat and hacking cough. The lymph nodes in your neck may swell. You also may feel very tired and red, sore eyes. As these symptoms start to go away, you will get red spots inside your mouth, followed by a rash all over your body. When adults get measles, they usually feel worse than children who get it.

It usually takes eight to 12 days to get symptoms after you have been around someone who has measles. This is called the incubation period.

If your doctor suspects that you have measles, they may do a blood test and or viral culture.

Measles usually gets better with home care. Take medicines to lower your fever, get plenty of rest, and drink lots of fluids. Stay away from other people as much as you can. If your child has measles, keep them out of school until at least 4 days after the rash first appears.

Most people get better within two weeks, but measles can sometimes cause dangerous problems, pneumonia, encephalitis, seizures or meningitis.

If you have been exposed to measles and you have not had the vaccine, you may be able to prevent the infection by getting a shot of immunoglobulin (IG) or the measles vaccine as soon as possible. Babies who are younger than 12 months, pregnant women, can’t fight infection may need to get IG if they are exposed to measles.

Prevention is important

Getting your child vaccinated is important, because measles can sometimes cause serious problems.

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases. Outbreaks can easily occur. A person from another country may have measles and no know it yet. If that person travels outside his or her own country, he or she could spread measles to people who are not immune.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is an illness that causes sores in or on the mouth and on the hands, feet and sometimes the buttocks and legs. The sores may be painful. The illness usually doesn’t last more than a week.

It's common in children but can also occur in adults. It can occur at any time, but is mot common in the summer and fall.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by a virus called an enterovirus.

The virus spreads easily through coughing and sneezing. It can also spread through infected stool. Often the disease breaks out within a community.

It usually takes three to six days for a person to get symptoms of hand-foot-and-mouth disease after being exposed to the virus. A child may feel tired, get a sore throat, or have a fever of around 101 to 103 F. Then in a day or two, sores or blisters may appear in or on the mouth and on the hands, feet and sometimes the buttocks. In some cases a skin rash may appear before the blisters.

The sores and blisters usually go away in a week.

Parents may get the disease from their children.

A doctor can tell if your child has hand-foot-and-mouth disease by the symptoms you describe and by looking at the sores and blisters. Hand-foot-and-mouth disease usually doesn’t need treatment. Plenty of cool fluids to help with sore throat.

Don’t give your child acidic and spicy foods. These foods can make mouth sores more painful.

If your child goes to day care or school, talk to the staff about when your child can return.

It is especially important to wash your hands after you change the diaper of an infected child.

Don’t let your child share toys or give kisses while they are infected.

Mumps is a contagious viral infection that can cause painful swelling of the salivary glands, especially the parotid glands (between the ear and the jaw). Some people with mumps won’t have gland swelling. They may feel like they have a bad cold or the flu instead.

Mumps usually goes away on its own in about 10 days. But in some cases it can cause complication, meningitis, orchitis, oophoritis or pancreatitis.

The mumps vaccine protects against the illness. This vaccine is part of the MMR and MMRV. Most children get the vaccine as part of their regular shots.

Mumps is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes near you or shares food or drinks.

You can spread the virus one to three days before and for 5 to 0 days after symptoms start.

Symptoms

  • Swelling and pain in the jaw. One or both cheeks may look swollen.
  • Fever
  • Headache, earache, sore throat, and pain when you swallow
  • Pain when you eat sour foods
  • Tiredness, with aching in the muscles and joints

Poor appetite and vomiting It usually takes two to three weeks to get symptoms after you have been exposed to the virus.

More serious symptoms include a stiff neck or a severe headache, painful testicles, or severe belly pain.

Mumps is usually diagnosed based on symptoms and a history of exposure to the virus. A blood test can be done to confirm. Mumps virus can be identified with a viral culture using a sample or urine, saliva. These tests are rarely done.

If you think that you or your child has mumps, be sure to call your doctor so they can report it to the local health department. People recover from mumps with rest and care at home.

If you or your child has mumps:

  • Use acetaminophen for fever or headache
  • Use ice or a heat pack
  • Drink extra fluids
  • Suck on ice chips
  • Don’t eat sour foods

Anyone who has mumps should stay out of school until 5 days after the salivary glands first start to swell.

Getting your child vaccinated is important.


Dr.+Art+MollenDr. Art Mollen's practice is located at 16100 N. 71st St. in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-656-0016 or log on to www.drartmollen.com.

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