By Alison Stone, PA / Rory Ulloque, MD (PromptMD Urgent Care)
Measles is an acute viral respiratory illness. It is characterized by a prodrome of fever,, cough, coryza (runny nose), and conjunctivitis (pink eye), followed by a diffuse rash. The incubation period ranges from 7 to 21 days, but on average the rash usually appears about 14 days after a person is exposed. The rash typically spreads from the head to the trunk to the lower extremities. Patients are considered to be contagious from 4 days before to 4 days after the rash appears.
The measles virus is extremely contagious. It is transmitted by direct contact with infectious droplets or by airborne spread. The measles virus can remain infectious on surfaces and in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves an area.
Common complications from measles include inner ear infection, pneumonia, laryngotracheobronchitis (croup), and diarrhea. Even in previously healthy children, measles can cause serious illness requiring hospitalization.
Diagnosis and Laboratory Testing
Healthcare providers should consider measles in patients presenting with a sandpaper rash associated with fever and clinically compatible measles symptoms, especially if the person recently traveled internationally or was exposed to a person with symptoms described. The infection can be detected via a blood test, throat or nasopharyngeal swab, or urine test.
Measles can be prevented with measles-containing vaccine, which is administered as the combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. The combination measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccine can be used for children aged 12 months through 12 years for protection against measles, mumps, rubella and varicella.
Vaccine Recommendations (as per CDC)
Should receive vaccination starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age or at least 28 days following the first dose.
Students at post-high school educational institutions
In students without evidence of measles immunity need two doses of MMR vaccine, with the second dose administered no earlier than 28 days after the first dose.
People who are born during or after 1957 who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine.
PromptMD Urgent Care Center has the measles vaccine available. We are a walk in center available 7 days a week and no appointment needed. If you are not certain if you have already had the measles vaccine and want to check your immunity we also can offer a blood test to check if you are immune to Measles. Conveniently located at The Marketplace Shopping Center 725 River Road Store #27 (between Massage Envy and Sushi Cruise). M-F 8-8 Sat/Sun 9-2 WWW.PromptMD.com
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