An Apple a Day


What you need to know about measles
May 06, 2019

It isn’t very easy being a parent today, especially when it comes to the issue of vaccines.

Each day parents are bombarded by conflicting messages about the safety of childhood vaccinations that often contradict what they’re told by their doctors and the traditional medical community. These warnings, often broadcast with scary headlines on social media, attempt to connect immunizations with autism (a theory long ago debunked), or tell readers vaccinations are not necessary, or that vaccines were created just to make “big pharma” billions and billions of dollars.
It can be dizzying for parents, and it’s okay to be confused and anxious. But let there be no doubt: not only are the risks of vaccination severely overblown, the benefits are just as underplayed. Bar none, vaccination is the best way to protect both children and adults from sometimes serious illnesses like measles, chickenpox, mumps and whooping cough.

Some may dismiss these naysayers as so out of touch with mainstream thinking that their impact is minimal. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that confirmed measles cases in the U.S. have reached the highest number since 2000. That year, just 19 years ago, measles was considered eliminated from the United States. Unfortunately, that victory is no more. In California, health officials are being forced to take dramatic steps we haven’t seen in decades to stop the spread of measles and in Los Angeles county have quarantined hundreds of students at two colleges.

The really scary question to consider is, given how easily cases of measles spread, how many individuals may be at risk for other diseases? Measles really is the canary in the coal mine. What plague is next?
Meanwhile here in Riverside County, we’re fortunate not to have had a confirmed case yet (as of May 6), but that hasn’t stopped us from taking action. We’re working with our local medical providers to make sure they have the latest information on prevention and testing, our laboratory is ramping up to test more “suspect” cases, and all our hospitals and health care facilities are being put on alert.

Today Riverside University Health System-Public Health is launching its measles resource page at filled with everything you need to know on measles from symptoms and shots to the latest news from reliable sources. If you’re not sure what you need to do to keep you and your family protected, look at the Q&As and our videos. Tell your physician about the medical resources we offer for them, too.
Don’t let confusion over measles and vaccination cause an outbreak in Riverside County too. Measles was beaten back once and we can beat it again. Let’s get educated together.