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Keeping Your Family Free from Measles

Measles, a disease declared eradicated in the U.S. in 2000, has made a comeback among children and adults alike. A recent outbreak of the disease has infected more than 640 people, making the rise of measles in 2014 the largest resurgence since the measles vaccine was introduced in 1963.

What Is Measles?

Commonly identified by a blotchy red rash that spreads from head to foot, measles is a respiratory illness suffered mostly by children. Measles is highly contagious and can be contracted through inhaling infected droplets sprayed when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, or by touching the mouth, nose, or eyes with fingers that have come into contact with a surface where infected droplets have landed. Since each measles case can lead to 14 to 15 other cases, the disease has the potential to spread exponentially within a very short time. Complications can include ear infections, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and even death. Before a vaccine was available, approximately 400-500 people died in the U.S. each year from the disease.

What Are the Symptoms?

The initial symptoms usually develop one to two weeks after infection:

  • high fever 
  • runny nose and red eyes
  • small white spots in the mouth (Koplik's spots)
  • loss of appetite
  • hacking cough, usually the last symptom to appear

Next, a spotty, red rash appears on the victim, often spreading over the entire body. If there are no complications, the disease usually runs its course within 7-10 days.

How Can You Prevent Measles?

Immunization against measles is critical to prevention of the disease. In the United States, the measles vaccine is administered through a combined measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR). The MMR vaccine is exceptionally effective in preventing infection. According to the Oregon Health Authority, those who receive one dose or shot of the vaccine are 90% protected against measles. Those who receive two doses of the vaccine are 95% protected.

  • Don't avoid regular immunizations for yourself or your children. While the anti-vaccination movement has grown in the past few years, the data supporting anti-vaccination arguments has been discredited by the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Call your doctor if you suspect your child may have measles before bringing him or her to the hospital for evaluation. Measles germs can pose a grave risk to hospital patients with immunodeficiency disorders. If you need to visit a hospital, inform the property's security service provider in advance so that special arrangements can be made to protect patients.
  • Make sure your children are inoculated at the correct age. Children should receive their first MMR shots at 12-15 months of age. The second shot should be administered at 4-6 years of age.¬†
  • Schedule your children for vaccinations immediately if they have not yet had MMR shots. Children and infants are most vulnerable to measles.
  • Ask your doctor whether you should get another MMR shot if you were vaccinated long ago. He or she can test your blood to gauge your level of protection.
  • Consult your physician before getting the MMR vaccine for yourself or your child to ensure that the vaccine will not cause a severe allergic reaction or interact with an existing illness.

About U.S. Security Associates

U.S. Security Associates (USA) is one of North America's largest security companies, with 160 locally-responsive offices providing premier national security services and global consulting and investigations to customers in a range of industries. Recognized for world class customer service, leading-edge technology, and an enterprise approach to risk management, USA offers optimized security solutions to meet specific customer needs. USA is committed to building quality security and risk management programs that are Safe. Secure. Friendly.® The Securing Knowledge series is part of the extensive and growing library of reference and training tools that contribute to USA's award-winning customer service and benchmark security programs. USA's investment in training and development resources is reflected not only by BEST Awards from the American Society for Training & Development, consistent ranking on the Training magazine Top 125, and technology-driven quality management system, but also by the company's leadership team, security officers, and service excellence on a daily basis.

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