Measles Outbreaks Highlight the Importance of Vaccines

Measles outbreak

Most parents of school-age kids are way too young to recall how prevalent measles was in its heyday. A very serious, highly contagious respiratory disease that affects the lungs and respiratory tract, measles affected 3 to 4 million people in the United States each year before vaccination began in 1963. Back then, measles — which can be passed on through a cough or sneeze — put 48,000 people in the hospital and killed 500 people annually.

With vaccinations routinely given to children for the past 55 years, it’s easy to assume that measles has been totally wiped out. Unfortunately, as more children in school show up without being vaccinated, measles outbreaks have popped up more frequently. Just this year, more than 100 cases have been confirmed in 21 states — especially in Washington and Oregon – with most cases diagnosed in children who have not had the routine MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

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The Well-Child Check: What to Expect

Baby at a Well Child AppointmentFor most people, the doctor’s office a place we try to avoid unless we are sick. Even then, our lives are so busy that it’s hard to even get to clinic during business hours; so, why would we go in for a visit when everything appears fine? What we miss by forgoing these regular check-ups is preventative health care – a chance to make sure that things are going well, catch things before they become a real issue, and help patients learn to expect health changes and issues that might occur in the near future.  For kids, these regular check-ups are even more vital and make up a large percentage of the kids that pediatricians see in clinic on a daily basis.

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A Parent’s Guide to the Measles

Smiling ToddlerWhen I hear 594, I think about…

So far this year, almost 2 people per day in the United States has become infected with measles. Yes, 594 people in the United States from Jan 1 to September 29th have developed measles.

As a pediatric resident, I’ve read a lot about measles but have never diagnosed a child with measles. In fact, many pediatricians who trained in the last 15-20 years are like me. That’s why our newsletters are currently filled with information about how to identify measles, how to prevent the complications, and how to keep our patients healthy.

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