Many people think that measles is a condition that rarely affects anyone these days because of the measles vaccine. And, even when a case does pop up, you might think it happens only in children. Unfortunately, that’s not true. People of any age can get the measles and the disease has made a comeback in recent years.
Measles Has Reappeared in California
According to an article posted on WebMD, there have recently been five new cases of measles confirmed in Los Angeles, California. The problem started when a person who had not been vaccinated traveled internationally and exposed four people in the state to the illness.
Measles is highly contagious, so being exposed to someone with the illness carries a high chance of getting the measles. So, if your aging relative isn’t immune to measles because of a previous case or because they’ve received the measles vaccination, they may be in danger of getting the measles. People who have had the vaccination have a 97 percent lower chance of getting measles than those who are unvaccinated.
What Is Measles?
Measles is also called rubeola. It is caused by a virus. Though the vaccination has greatly reduced measles cases in the United States, it has made a recent comeback. According to the Mayo Clinic, between 2000 and 2010, there were typically only around 60 cases of the measles in the U.S. per year. Recently, though, the average number of cases per year has raised to around 205.
The symptoms of measles usually begin within 10 to 14 days after being exposed to the virus. Symptoms of measles include:
- A skin rash that is made up of big red patches. The patches are flat and often flow into each other.
- Koplik’s spots, which are dots that appear on the lining of the cheek. They are white spots with bluish centers.
- Sore throat.
- Conjunctivitis (red, inflamed eyes).
- Dry cough.
- Runny nose.
Should Your Aging Relative Get a Measles Shot?
The vaccine used to prevent measles is called the MMR vaccine. MMR stands for measles, mumps, and rubella, which are the conditions the vaccine protects against. Anyone born in 1957 or after should receive the vaccination at least one. Those who travel internationally should receive 2 doses.
If your older family member has not yet had the measles vaccination, a senior care provider can help them to get it. A senior care provider can assist with making an appointment for the older adult. In addition, on the day of the appointment, the senior care provider can drive them to the clinic for the vaccine, help them into the building, and stay with them through the visit. Afterward, the senior care provider can bring them back home and help to watch for the mild side effects that may occur, such as pain or fever.