What Does the Measles Outbreak Mean for Older Adults?
Measles. It’s a disease that children get, and it’s been mostly wiped out, right? Unfortunately, the answer is no. People of any age can get the measles, and while vaccinations have made a huge difference in the spread of the disease, it hasn’t been eradicated. In fact, there’s been a recent outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that as of July, there have been 107 cases in the United States during 2018. And, measles has occurred in 21 different states. If you’re concerned about the possibility of your aging relative getting the measles, here’s what you need to know.
Measles, which is also known as rubeola, is caused by a virus. When a person comes in contact with the virus and is not immune to it, the symptoms usually appear within two weeks. Symptoms of measles include:
· A cough that is dry.
· Sore throat.
· Runny nose.
· Inflammation in the eyes.
Probably the most tell-tale sign of measles, though, is the rash that accompanies it. Spots appear inside the mouth on the cheeks. They are small and white with bluish centers. The skin behind them is red. In addition to the spots in the mouth, a rash also appears on the skin. It appears as large red splotches on the skin that are flat and may run one into the other. The rash starts on the face, then spreads downward, covering the trunk and arms first, then moving on to the legs.
If your aging relative catches the measles, they will be infectious beginning four days prior to the start of the rash and for another four days after the rash begins.
Fortunately, measles can be prevented with a vaccine. Whether your family member needs one depends on whether they are already immune. In most cases, people born before 1957 do not need the vaccination because they probably had measles as a child, making them immune to a second infection. However, if they are not sure they had the disease or if they were vaccinated, it’s best to have the doctor check. Testing for measles immunity requires only a simple blood test.
If your aging relative does get measles, senior care can help them during the recovery period. To prevent spreading the infection, the older adult will need to remain isolated. This means they cannot go out in public as they may come into contact with someone who has not been vaccinated. A senior care provider can run errands for them during that time period. Senior care providers can also assist them while they are feeling ill, giving them the time to rest.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering senior care in Parma, OH, please talk to the caring staff at Avalon Home Health Care today.
Call us at (440) 863 -3609.