What is measles?
Measles is a viral infection that begins with a fever that lasts for several days, followed by a cough, runny nose, and conjunctivitis (pink eye). The rash starts on the face and upper neck, spreads down the back and trunk, and then extends to the extremities (arms and legs) to include the hands and feet. After about 5 days the rash then fades in the same order it appeared.
That all sounds fairly benign, so why should we worry about the measles?
- 1: 4 = require hospitalization
- 1: 1000 = Get encephalitis(inflammation of the brain)
- 1 or 2: 1000 = Will die from this illness either from pneumonia or encephalitis
- Pregnant Unvaccinated Women or Women who’s antibodies to the vaccine are no longer protective= are at risk if they acquire measles during pregnancy for Miscarriage, Still birth, Prematurity, or Congenital Rubella Syndrome which consists of heart problems, Microcephaly(small head), hearing and vision problems, learning problems, and the list goes on.
How is measles spread?
- A person with measles is contagious for 4 days before developing symptoms and remains contagious until 4 days after symptoms evolve.
- The measles virus lives in the mucous of the nose and throat, and is spread when people sneeze or cough.
- Droplets from coughing enter the air and can contaminate a space for up to 2 hours after person leaves
- Incubation period(time from exposure to dev of disease) is 7-21 days.
Memphis had 3 distinct outbreaks and now 7 confirmed cases. The cases were not related to foreign travel and the health department could find no relationship between the outbreaks but are still investigating.
So what about the measles vaccine!
- Introduced in 1963, and is combined with Mumps and Rubella to give the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine. In 2000, Measles was felt to be eliminated in the United States, but there are still pockets of disease secondary to people traveling outside of the US and bringing it home or in populations which opt out of vaccines.
- There is no scientific proof that the measles vaccine causes Autism, and the vaccine does not contain mercury. The fear of both of these things has caused families to not vaccinate.
- Nationally, 91.9% of children between 19-35 months of age have had at least one MMR vaccine as of 2013. However, Arkansas’s numbers were at 88.3% for the country (near the bottom but not the worst). The saddest part of these statistics, is that our state is at the very bottom of the list for this age group having received all of its vaccines at 57% (means only 57% of kids in Arkansas between 19-35 months of age are completely immunized).
- At present the recommendations are that children receive 2 doses of the MMR vaccine. The first dose to be given between 12-15 months of age, and this would protect 93% of those exposed from getting measles. The second dose normally is given between 4-6 years of age,with entrance to school and raises the protection level to 97%(this means if you were exposed to measles you should be protected against not getting it 97% of the time). If the health department deems necessary, they will change timing of second vaccine and request it to be given 28 days after first.
- Those less then 5 yrs of age are the one of the most susceptible groups, either because they are too young to vaccinate or have not gotten their second dose of the vaccine.
What about babies who aren’t vaccinated because they are too young?
Babies get passive immunity from their mothers (antibodies pass through the placenta), but no one is quite sure how long these last for. Thus this age group is very much at risk.
What other groups can’t receive the vaccine?
Pregnant women, those on steroids and other immunosuppressive medicines can not receive the MMR vaccine. This includes those individuals who have undergone transplants or are bring treated for cancer.
So the major take home point is that we need to get our children immunized with the MMR vaccine to protect them, but also to protect those in the community who are too young, pregnant, or unable to be vaccinated for other medical reasons. Stay informed by checking your local news and visiting our website for updates.Read More
May 15-22, 2016 is Dog Bite Prevention Week®.
Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the US are bitten by dogs. Of the 800,000 who seek medication attention, half are children.
Since most dog bites involve familiar animals, prevention starts at the home.
The American Pediatric Association gives the following tips on preventing dog bites:
- Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention. For children, the injuries are more likely to be serious. Parents should be aware of some simple steps that can prevent dog bites.
- Never leave a small child and a dog alone together, no matter if it is the family dog, a dog that is known to you, or a dog that you have been assured is well behaved. Any dog can bite.
- Do not allow your child to play aggressive games with a dog, such as tug-of-war or wrestling, as this can lead to bites.
- Teach your child to ask a dog owner for permission before petting any dog.
- Let a dog sniff you or your child before petting, and stay away from the face or tail. Pet the dog gently, and avoid eye contact, particularly at first.
- Never bother a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies. Dogs in these situations are more likely to respond aggressively, even with a person who is familiar to them.
- Do not allow your child to run past a dog, because dogs may be tempted to pursue the child.
- Teach your child that if a dog is behaving in a threatening manner—for example, growling and barking—to remain calm, avoid eye contact with the dog, and back away slowly until the dog loses interest and leaves.
- If you or your child is knocked over by a dog, curl up in a ball and protect the eyes and face with arms and fists.
For more information and what to do if a dog bites your child, visit healthychildren.org.Read More
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The American Academy of Pediatrics gives the following tips for liquid medication safety.
- Always read the label to make sure the medicine is safe for infants and toddlers.
- Check the dosage chart to assure you are giving the correct amount based on child’s weight.
- Do not mix measuring devices from other products.
- Keep all medication up and away from children’s reach.
- Talk to your pediatrician if you have any questions.
Also remember… ALWAYS use a correct measuring device to give medicine to children. Utensil spoons do not accurately measure medication.
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The Children’s Clinic just received a shipment of the Flu Mist* flu vaccine. We also have flu shots in stock. It is not too late to protect yourself against the flu! Call our office today to schedule your flu vaccine appointment.
Influenza is dangerous for children
Influenza (“the flu”) is more dangerous than the common cold for children. Each year, many children get sick with seasonal influenza; some of those illnesses result in death.
- Children commonly need medical care because of influenza, especially before they turn 5 years old.
- Severe influenza complications are most common in children younger than 2 years old.
- Children with chronic health problems like asthma, diabetes and disorders of the brain or nervous system are at especially high risk of developing serious flu complications.
- Each year an average of 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized because of influenza complications.
- Flu seasons vary in severity, however some children die from flu each year. Last influenza season, more than 140 flu-related pediatric deaths were reported.
For flu-related updates from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, follow @CDCFlu on twitter.
* Flu Mist nasal spray flu vaccine is not recommended for children under the age of 2 years old. Your child’s physician will determine if this is the best method of vaccinating your child.
The largest review of the available evidence on the quadrivalent, or four-strain, HPV vaccine Gardasil, has found no evidence of any serious short-term or long-term safety issues. Bringing together the findings from clinical trials, post-licensure studies and data presented at scientific meetings but not yet published, the researchers focused particularly on autoimmune diseases, nervous system disorders, anaphylaxis, blood clots and stroke – but none of them is caused by the vaccine, they found.
As of July 7, 2015, Dr. Johnson has been with The Children’s Clinic for 40 years!
Pictured is Dr. Johnson with his wife, Kathy, who he hired to be his nurse 40 years ago. Four years later they were married!
Thank you Dr. Johnson for your 40 years of caring for our children!
The Children’s Clinic will be closed July 3rd – July 5th for the Fourth of July holiday. We will re-open Monday, July 6th at normal office hours.
Please have a fun and safe holiday. Below are helpful links for summer safety.Read More