What to do if Your Child is Exposed to Measles

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — As the measles outbreak has made its way to Missouri, Mercy Pediatrician Dr. Laura Waters has advice if you think your child has been exposed to the disease.

The Magic House, a children’s museum in St. Louis posted to Facebook last Wednesday, saying the Centers for Disease Control alerted it of a possible measles exposure. Now, some are worried it’s only a matter of time before measles is seen in Springfield.

Waters says about 90%of people who do not have an MMR vaccine and are exposed to the disease will get it. 

Here’s what symptoms look like: high fever, coughing, runny nose and red eyes. With allergy season here, Waters says it may be hard to differentiate until about four days in, when a rash of red, flat spots will start from the head and work its way down. She warns parents to think twice before heading straight to the waiting room.

“If you think that your child has measles, or has been exposed and may be developing symptoms, please don’t just automatically come into the emergency room or your doctor’s office,” Waters said. “Because it is so contagious, and you are potentially going to expose lots of people, we would ask that you would please call us first, warn us that you’re coming, so that we can take precautions to try and limit exposure to others. For instance, in our office, I’m gonna come out and meet you at the car.”

Waters says treatment is symptomatic, as there is no cure for measles. Complications include ear infections that can lead to hearing loss, a brain infection, which sometimes results in permanent brain damage, and about one in 20 kids with measles will get pneumonia, which is the most common complication for kids to die from.

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