Measles outbreak: How to protect yourself before flying

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Springfield, MO – The United States is currently in the midst of the worst measles outbreak since it was eliminated from the states nineteen years ago. 

“Nation-wide the number of measles cases has really sky-rocketed, it’s up to 940 cases,” said Administrator of Public Health and Epidemiology for Springfield-Greene County Health Department Kendra Findley. 

Findley said while Missouri isn’t experiencing an outbreak, it’s important to ensure your vaccinations are up-to-date before traveling. 

“Vaccinations are the gold standard of public health, they’re not perfect, but they are the best means we have to protect ourselves,” said Findley. 

Summer traveler Sara Taracena said she realizes how easy it is to spread germs in airports.

“Planes and airports are very condensed spaces and there are a lot of people that are traveling different places,” said Taracena. “You wouldn’t wanna ruin their plans by spreading germs.” 

Sue Smith, who’s on her way to Florida, said she appreciates people who wear masks when traveling sick. 

“I saw some people wearing masks, so I understand their concern,” said Smith. “I also try to avoid them too just for their sake as well as mine.” 

However, it’s not always easy avoiding people in close-contact areas such as airports and especially air planes. 

“Our hands are the number one way we are spreading disease or you’re picking disease up,” said Findley. 

Findley said practicing respiratory etiquette goes a long way. 

This includes sneezing and coughing into your elbow, only using a tissue once and making sure to always wash your hands after.

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