Measles, What You Need to Know
It is hard to imagine that just over 50 years ago there was not a measles vaccine available in the United States and most children contracted measles by age 15. That means that approximately 3 to 4 million Americans were infected annually, that 400 to 500 died, 48,000 ended up in the hospital and 4,000 developed encephalitis which is swelling of the brain according to the CDC. Even though measles was declared eliminated (absence of continuous disease transmission for greater than 12 months) in the United States in 2000 we continue to have outbreaks with the largest occurring last year with 644 cases. This year we already have 84 cases that have been linked to an outbreak at Disneyland in California. Although, the investigation is ongoing it appears the majority of infected individuals were not vaccinated.
The vaccine is 97% effective after two doses of the vaccine, the first at 12-15 months old and the second at 4 to 6 years old. Only 3 out of every 100 people vaccinated will contract the measles and the disease is typically much milder than those who are unvaccinated. So your best protection is vaccination.
Here are the facts about measles.
• Symptoms appear 7 to 14 days after exposure.
• Symptoms begin with high fever up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes.
• Two to three days later small white spots may appear in the mouth called Koplik spots.
• During days three to five the trademark rash will appear, starting as flat red spots at the hairline spreading downward to the neck, body and then outward to the arms, legs and feet.
• The flat red spots may become raised and then the spots may run together as the rash spreads.
• Symptoms may last up to a week.
• The measles is spread through coughing, sneezing and contacting a contaminated surface as the virus can survive up to two hours outside its human host.
• The measles is highly contagious infecting up to 90% of unimmunized people who come into contact with an infected person.
• Infected individuals are contagious for four days before and four days after the rash appears.
• Complications of the measles include pneumonia, encephalitis, diarrhea, ear infections and death.
• A very rare and serious complication is subacute sclerosing pancephalitis (SSPE) that occurs 7 to 10 years after a person has contracted and recovered from the measles. It affects the central nervous system and is fatal.
Remember vaccination is your best protection and if you are unsure if you are immune or had the vaccination ask your doctor for laboratory confirmation that you are immune or you can get the vaccine. There is no harm in receiving the vaccine again if you did as a child. You will need to receive two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine separated by 28 days.
Who among us has not made a New Year’s resolution only to watch it drift away over a course of days to weeks, never accomplished? The gyms are full the first few days of the New Year only to be empty the following week. How do the few who make serious changes in their lives do it? Here is a simple method to help you realize your goals and not only conquer those New Year’s resolutions but transform your life.
1. First you must be mentally prepared. Goals and dreams start with desires to achieve something you have not done before. You can sit and daydream but that gets you nowhere fast. Change requires action and that requires getting very specific about your goal and being laser focused on it. Your goals should be realistic and time bound. For example, your goal is weight loss. You must be clear-cut on what you mean by weight loss. Do you want to lose 2 pounds a week or lose 50 pounds in a year? Do you want to lose the muffin top or see your six-pack abs? Do you want to run 3 miles in a month for an upcoming fun run or run a marathon in 6 months? The fantastic thing about goals is you get to decide what defines your success! Now that you have a goal move on to the next step.
2. Write down your goal! When you write down your objectives it makes them real and tangible. When you take the time to think about them and write them down it solidifies it, like a contract with yourself. Be specific about how you want to reach your goals. Will you change your diet completely over night or gradually? Will you run for exercise or do cross fit? There is no right or wrong road but you must take the first step to begin your transformation! You must be the leader of your own journey, no one else can live your life for yourself.
3. Call in the troops. Humans were not intended to live alone. We are social creatures and when we share our desires and goals with others there is an added pressure to succeed. It is a lot easier to turn off the alarm early in the morning when you are only accountable to yourself but when your friend will be meeting you for a morning run at the track you will get up.
4. Find the passion that is fueling your goals. When you get stuck in a rut and don’t want to continue on your quest, emotions are what will get you moving again. Champions are not made when they win a race, they are created with the sweat, tears and the daily grind before the race ever happened. Focus on the end result and imagine the emotions tied to YOUR victory, not anyone else’s but your very own! What will be like to know that you succeeded in changing the course of your life’s journey? Here is a hint, it will be glorious! You will be ready to take on another challenge because your spark has now turned into a roaring fire and the confidence is addicting and you will not want to let go of it!
Finally, get out there and conquer your dreams! You can do it!