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How to Protect your Family from Hudson Valley Measles Outbreak



Health officials are warning the public, do you know what to do?

measels outbreak in the Hudson Valley

Yesterday, Washingtonville Pediatrics made a statement on their Facebook Page regarding the significant amount (86 confirmed cases) of measles outbreaks in Rockland County and 5 cases in Orange County. The New York State Department of Health has also warned the public regarding the outbreak in NY’s lower Hudson Valley and parts of New York City.

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Unvaccinated young children are at the highest risk and over 90% of people without immunity will catch measles if they are exposed. Measles is highly contagious, spreads easily and can be dangerous to anyone who is not vaccinated. You can find a measles fact sheet put out by the department of health, here.

Measles is a serious respiratory disease that is HIGHLY contagious. It is spread through mucus droplets by sneezing and coughing. Once airborne, it can live for up to 2 hours infecting anyone who comes into the area, even after the infected person has left. Essentially, you can catch it just by being in a room where someone with measles has coughed or sneezed and not know it. More information can be found on the CDC Website here.

Symptoms:

  • Occur 10-12 days after a person has been exposed to measles.
  • Starts with a very high fever, usually 103 or higher.
  • A rash of small red spots usually appears 2-4 days after the fever begins and can last up to a week, it will often start at the hairline and move down.
  • Other symptoms may include a cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes.
  • Complications of measles can be very sever and in few causes may lead to death.

Protecting you family:

The best way to protect your family from measles is to receive the MMR (Measles, mumps & Rubella) vaccine. Children 12 months and older may be given the vaccine. According to Washingtonville Pediatrics, 93% of children are immune after that first dose. The second dose, given between ages 4-6 brings immunity up to 97%. In locations where there is an outbreak, such as Rockland County, early vaccination is recommended and given to children between 6-12 months.

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If you think your child or someone in your family may have been exposed to measles or has traveled outside of the country please call your doctor and let them know when making an appointment so that the office can follow the proper precautions to keeping everyone safe and healthy.

Parents born before 1957 were most likely exposed to measles and should therefor be immune. If you were born after 1957 and before 1971 and are at high risk for contracting measles you may want to contact your doctor to confirm your immunity and/or receive another dose of the MMR vaccine according to the CDC.

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If your child is over the age of 12 months and has not yet received the vaccination, please make an appointment ASAP. It is also highly recommended that infants under the age of 12 months avoid public places including shopping malls and airports especially in Rockland and Orange Counties.