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How To Stay Safe During The Current Measles Outbreak

May 10, 2019 08:16 PM EDT

Measles is a foul disease that most people believe was eliminated as a threat to public health years ago. Nevertheless, the recent anti-scientific trend of anti-vaccination movements has led to a resurgence in measles outbreaks across the United States, with countless children who should have been safe from the disease once again suffering under its painful yoke. One of the reasons that so many people are struggling to stay safe is that it's a pain to find accurate and reliable information on staying safe.

Here's how to stay safe during the current measles outbreak, and why we're once again dealing with such a sinister even in the first place.

Don't listen to the anti-vaxxers

The reason that we're undergoing perhaps the worst measles outbreak in living memory is that anti-vaccination movements have been gaining traction in recent years. Government officials have been keeping close track of the measles outbreak, and now believe that the current epidemic is a 25-year record high in terms of the total number of people impacted. Unfortunately, the anti-scientific drivel being pushed by anti-vaxxers has convinced many people to keep their children from getting vaccinated.

In reality, vaccines do not cause autism, and as the Center for Disease Control clearly elucidates on its webpage, vaccines are a vital part of public health and essential towards saving lives. Unfortunately, recent movements across social media platforms enabled conspiracy theorists to spread misinformation centered on measles and other diseases which we have vaccines for. These conspiracy theorists wrongfully assert that vaccines cause autism, which created a nationwide panic that unfortunately led some gullible parents to prevent their children from getting the vaccines they need to be safe.

It can't be stressed enough that you need to avoid anti-vaccination disinformation and should ignore any social media posts about vaccines causing autism. The recent outbreak is largely a result of foreign travel combining with social media ignorance, so being able to spot misleading medical information is imperative to staying healthy.

Now that Facebook, with the help of Toronto digital marketing, and a number of other popular social media platforms followed in the lead of Pinterest and banned anti-vaccination content, these conspiracy theories will hopefully die down. Nevertheless, Pandora's jar has already been opened and measles, once it begins to claim lives, is not so easily put down. How, then, can the public go about ensuring its safety in the midst of a major health crisis?

Staying safe from measles

Measles spreads through the air when an infected individual coughs and sneezes, so besides getting your proper vaccinations you should be isolating yourself from anybody who has the disease. Knowing the early symptoms of measles can help; those beginning to develop measles traditionally develop a fever before suffering from a cough and runny nose that's soon made worse by a rash of tiny, red spots which appear all over the body.

According to the CDC, about 3 to 4 million people got measles in the United States every year until the measles vaccination program began in 1963, which saw a 99 percent reduction in measles cases almost immediately. Elsewhere, however, measles hasn't been eradicated entirely, so you should also be cautious when travelling outside of the United States if you're concerned about measles. As the recent outbreak demonstrates, however, you can come down with measles even if you stay within the borders of the United States, so other public health tips are highly advised.

Understand that adults sometimes need booster shots for measles, so don't make the mistake that vaccines are only for developing children. Furthermore, a healthy and hygienic lifestyle will bolster your immune system while making you more physically fit, which in turns expedites the recovery process if you do in fact get sick. Knowing how to eat healthy and ensure you enjoy a proper body weight is important, as malnutrition or obesity can both lead to reduced immune systems which struggle to fend off contagious illnesses like measles. Regular physical exercise is also recommended for all children and adults, so getting some time out in the sun for a run or spending some hours in the gym pumping iron are worthy of your consideration if you're living in fear of the measles outbreak.

You can also catch measles by being in the same room as a person who had it, even if they left, so be careful about where you're spending your time. Any visits to loved ones in the hospital or a similar medical facility should always include thorough washing and hygiene protocols. The CDC only considers adults to be truly safe from measles if they have received at least one dose of the measles vaccine, have a lab confirm that they once suffered (and recovered) from measles before, or have been confirmed to be immune from the disease in the first place.

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