The Measles Outbreak: Should You Vaccinate Your Kids?

Health & Medical Blog

With the recent outbreak of measles in Southern California rapidly spreading across the western states, a great deal of debate has started regarding children's vaccines. Some believe that they're potentially dangerous to children, and others say that they're safe and not having your child immunized is neglectful. If you want to know what's right for your child, this guide will explain the measles disease, what its symptoms are, and what the actual effects of the vaccine are.

The Measles Outbreak

The majority of current measles infections have been traced back to a theme park in Southern California, but it's unknown who initially brought the illness to the park. The outbreak has since reached across multiple states, but this isn't the first time measles has become widespread recently. In 2014, over 600 cases of measles were reported in the country: three times what was reported in 2013, and approximately twelve times the cases in 2012.

Since the measles vaccine came into wide use in the United States, the spread of measles was almost non-existent in the country, leading some people to skip having their children vaccinated. Others have worried that the vaccine could lead to autism, even though the study that suggested this has been found false and thrown out by the Centers For Disease Control and The Institute of Medicine. Furthermore, the doctor who wrote it lost his medical license.

Perhaps the most important thing to know is that prior to the measles vaccination, approximately 500,000 people were sickened each year, and 500 of them would die.

Symptoms of Measles

Measles symptoms range from mild to severe, depending on the immune system of the infected person.

Typical symptoms include coughing, sore throat, runny nose, the tell-tale measles rash over the entire body, and high fevers.

In severe cases, measles can cause pneumonia, brain swelling, and corneal scarring.  

Actual Side-Effects of the Injection

The MMR vaccine is given to protect your child from measles, mumps, and rubella. Like most vaccines, the vaccine contains dead genetic material of these viruses that your child's immune system latches onto and develops antibodies against. Your child may develop some mild symptoms that resemble the actual virus, but they will be much milder and won't put their health at risk.

These symptoms may include:

  • Irritation At The Injection Site - Mild swelling, redness, or a lump may occur in the area where the shot was administered.
  • Mild Fever - Your child's immune system will activate as it attacks the virus in the vaccine, which may induce a minor fever.
  • Minor Measles Symptoms - Your child may experience a mild rash and a temporary loss of appetite.

As a parent, it's ultimately your decision whether your child receives a vaccine for measles or not. What's certain is that the vaccine doesn't cause autism, the known side-effects are mild, and a child who catches the measles virus will be uncomfortable, sick, and could suffer serious health consequences. If you decide to get your child the vaccine, then contact a clinic like Willow Oak Pediatrics.


5 February 2015

pediatric eye exams - are they needed?

When was the last time that you took your kids in for an eye exam? Did you realize that your kids' school performance can be impacted by their ability to see clearly? Children are not great at communicating difficulties seeing the board or letting adults know when things begin to appear a little bit blurry. Did you know that there are eye problems that your child could have that can only be diagnosed through an exam at your optometrist's office? Learn all about pediatric eye care and what problems you could run into if you neglect to take your child in for regular eye exams.