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Protecting Your Family from Measles in 2024 and Top Symptoms to Know

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The recent national outbreak of measles may have you concerned about how to protect your family and wondering what symptoms to look for. And the Louisiana Department of Health has reported new cases in 2024 in the New Orleans area.

First and foremost, we encourage all families to ensure their children are up to date with all their vaccinations, including the measles vaccine.

Children: The CDC recommends routine childhood immunization for the MMR vaccine starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose or booster at 4 through 6 years of age or at least 28 days following the first dose.

College students: Students at post-high school educational institutions without evidence of measles immunity need two doses of the MMR vaccine, with the second dose administered no earlier than 28 days after the first dose.

Symptoms of measles

Measles affects all organs of the body, and can cause serious, and in some cases, life-threatening complications in children, including pneumonia and encephalitis.

A person infected with measles may not show symptoms for up to four days and during this time they can possibly spread this contagious virus to other children that they come in contact with through coughing or sneezing. The measles virus can live for up to two hours on a surface or in an airspace where an infected person coughed or sneezed.

Symptoms of measles Include:

  • Fever of 101 degrees or above
  • Generalized maculopapular rash (a rash with both flat and raised parts), usually beginning on the face and spreading to the body
  • The presence of one or more of the following

If your child has not received this vaccine or you are unsure if they are up to date, please contact your pediatrician’s office and ask them to check your child’s vaccine records.

The CDC offers answers to frequently asked questions for parents about measles and the measles vaccine.

Evidence of Immunity

If you need to show evidence of immunity. The CDC accepts the following:

  • Written documentation of adequate vaccination
    • One or more doses of a measles-containing vaccine administered on or after the first birthday for preschool-age children and adults not at high risk
    • Two doses of measles-containing vaccine for school-age children and adults at high risk, including college students, healthcare personnel, and international travelers
  • Laboratory evidence of immunity
  • Laboratory confirmation of measles
  • Birth before 1957

To receive the measles vaccine, talk to your doctor or visit an Ochsner Pharmacy and Wellness location.

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