Infant with red rash from measles

Pediatric patients can find measles treatment at Touchpoint Pediatrics. Serving families in New Jersey, Touchpoint Pediatrics is located in Chatham and provides services to patients residing throughout Morristown, Summit, Berkeley Heights, Hoboken, and beyond. Board-certified pediatricians are available to care for children starting at birth. They help families protect their children from measles and other communicable diseases throughout their pediatric years.

Measles Outbreaks

Measles is a contagious illness easily spread by droplets from the nose, mouth, or throat of someone who has been infected. Nine out of ten unimmunized people exposed to the virus that causes measles become infected. Symptoms usually begin within 10 to 14 days after exposure. Complications resulting from measles can be fatal and include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Encephalitis
  • Ear infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis

As recently as 2000, measles was considered eliminated from the United States, but since then there have been several outbreaks of this dangerous respiratory disease. These outbreaks have occurred especially among unvaccinated people, and have become a threat to public health. These outbreak events underscore the importance of keeping vaccinations for your children up to date.

Measles Prevention

Parents can take several steps to lower the chances their children develop measles. If a child has been exposed to the infection and there are other children in the house, they must be quarantined from other kids for at least five days after a rash or other visible signs appear.

Proper hygiene becomes even more important when containing the spread of infections like measles. When a child with measles coughs or sneezes, their mouth and nose must be covered, and all tissues must be properly discarded. Items the child frequently uses and shares with other kids, such as toys need to be thoroughly washed with detergent. Hand washing is also imperative for preventing the spread.

While not necessarily capable of preventing measles, Vitamin A deficiency is believed to compound the risk of experiencing complications. Taking Vitamin A supplements can protect children from the more adverse effects of measles.

The MMR Vaccine for Protection Against Measles

The primary means of preventing a child from experiencing measles is scheduling an appointment for them to get the MMR vaccine series. This vaccination protects them from contracting measles, mumps, and rubella. A single vaccination for only measles is not currently available and hasn’t been since 2008.

The first dose should be given between 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose between four and five years of age. If a child is more than five years old, they should still receive two doses of the vaccine, at least four weeks apart. Once patients of any age have received two doses of the vaccine within this timeframe, they are considered to be protected from these communicable diseases for life.

Side Effects of the MMR Vaccine

The MMR vaccine is extremely safe. Most children and adults who receive the vaccine don’t experience any side effects. There may be brief soreness and redness at the site of the shot. The most common side effect, which affects about 5% of children, is a low fever and rash, usually appearing one to two weeks after the first dose. This is not dangerous or contagious. Sometimes parents express concerns related to claims that the vaccine may cause autism and other developmental disorders. This has been repeatedly and conclusively disproven.

If outbreaks lead to an epidemic of measles, it will be recommended that all unvaccinated people from age six months old and up are vaccinated. In this scenario, children younger than 12 months who receive the MMR shot will require two more shots after they reach 12 months. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide more information about the MMR vaccine. Patients with specific questions about the needs of their children concerning the MMR vaccine can contact the office for assistance.

Does Your Child Have Measles?

Is your child sick? The first symptoms of measles are fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes, but usually within a few days, the patient will develop a red rash. This often begins on the face and can spread throughout the body. Parents who believe their children have been exposed to measles and are exhibiting symptoms should contact the office right away.

If a measles outbreak occurs in NJ, residents may receive notification from their healthcare providers or public health officials that they may have been exposed. In these situations, the state health department will also provide information on how individuals should proceed. Patients can learn more about NJ’s approach to measles on their communicable disease service page.

Measles Treatment

There is no specific treatment for measles infection. Only by providing focused, supportive care can the risk of severe complications be reduced. The patient must be closely monitored for good nutrition, adequate fluid intake, and signs of dehydration. Antibiotics may be required for eye and ear infections, or pneumonia. In addition, caretakers must be quarantined, because the virus can be transmitted from four days before the development of a rash to four days after that rash erupts.

Keep Immunizations Up to Date with Touchpoint Pediatrics

From a central location in Chatham, NJ, Touchpoint Pediatrics cares for patients throughout Morristown, Summit, Berkeley Heights, Hoboken, and beyond. Make an appointment to bring your child in for an annual wellness check with a board-certified pediatrician and discuss any health concerns. By getting on track with the schedule of recommended vaccinations, parents and guardians can help protect their children from contracting measles and other communicable diseases. Contact Touchpoint Pediatrics today.