Protect Yourself from Measles this Summer While Traveling Abroad!

travel booksYou may have heard of the awful disease, measles, in the news most recently which affected people in NY City and Disneyland. Many of us think that we have immunity to measles, up until you actually think about visiting a third world country and some may second guess, in order to protect ourselves from measles and other debilitating diseases. Let’s help clear some things up regarding measles and why it has reappeared in the US.

First, there are two things driving the spread of measles; The extreme infectiousness of measles and the low herd immunity that the US is currently experiencing. Measles infects 9 out of 10 non-immune individuals, meaning those who do not have history of the disease, or those that have not been vaccinated. Measles is airborne and it can hang around for two hours after and individual leaves the area. Think about what that means for those traveling on an airplane, or using any other forms of public transportation. Herd immunity in America has been dropping due to many families choosing not to vaccinate their children.

When the CDC tracked measles cases for the first half of 2013, they found that 159 cases resulted from 42 importations of the disease. More than half those importations were U.S. residents returning to the States from abroad. Similarly, the outbreak of close to 400 cases in Ohio last year began with un-vaccinated U.S. travelers returning from a visit to the Philippines.

Measles is a dangerous disease and it is not curable. Measles is not a harmless childhood disease. It can kill and leave others with lifelong disabilities. Even if a person has an uncomplicated course of the disease, it’s still just a downright miserable way to spend your time – a high fever, cough, sore throat and rash covering your entire body. The problem is, there’s not much anyone can do for you when you’re sick except to help keep you hydrated. You may have heard that large doses of vitamin A can treat measles. Vitamin A can reduce the severity of some symptoms, primarily among those who are vitamin A-deficient, but it doesn’t cure the disease. It’s only supportive care, like providing hydration. There is no cure for measles. There is only prevention through immunization.

If you plan to travel abroad check out the recommendations by the MN Department of Health. This link may help you determine whether you should receive a boost of MMR to protect you against measles. Also, International Travel Care can check to see what other immunizations you may need for your travel abroad. We are the vaccine experts! Our hours vary according to our client’s needs. We are open early morning, evenings, and weekends. Call us at 952-405-8812 to Schedule your appointment today. Travel Safe, Vaccinate!

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