What parents should know about the national measles outbreak

What parents should know about the national measles outbreak

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Concerns continue to loom for parents as doctors track a measles outbreak across at least 10 states.

The Center for Disease Control is offering the latest information on the outbreak.

159 cases across 10 states have been reported. Luckily, Virginia isn’t one of them right now.

But for any parent looking to protect his or her child, it could be. The concern has us, as parents, asking doctors what we need to know about measles, and how to protect our kids.

In fact, Dr. Kimberly Lingler says measles was almost eradicated in the U.S. in the 2000s, but then things changed.

“With vaccine rates being down, that leaves subsets of the population vulnerable to succumb to the measles,” said Dr. Kimberly Lingler with Southside Physicians Network.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that spreads through coughing and sneezing, and it can linger in a room for up to two hours.

“Measles is easily spread," said Lingler. "When you are around someone who has measles, it is usually a 7-10 day incubation period before you start showing signs. Fever is one of the earlier signs.”

And it can be deadly. Typically, in those cases, Lingler says it weakens your immune system, making you more susceptible to secondary infections or pneumonia.

“We are not going to stop seeing measles cases so long as there are unvaccinated people out there," said Lingler.

Protect yourself and your kids like you would from the flu or a cold- primarily, wash hands often.

Clean off surfaces that get a lot of traffic- remember, the disease can linger for hours.

Cover coughs and sneezes.

But the easiest thing you can do, is get your child vaccinated. Even after exposure, it still helps.

“It is not too late," said Lingler. "They can have that vaccine at any time and obviously it is more beneficial to have that vaccine before any exposure occurs.”

And of course remember, when you get a vaccine, you protect young babies or immuno-compromised people, who can’t get one at all, or can’t get one yet.

Southside Regional Medical Center offers measles vaccines in both Chester and Emporia.

Most providers carry them, just call and ask your physician.

Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.