What parents should do if they're concerned about measles

HOUSTON – Dr. Laila Woc-Colburn is a professor of infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine.

She said if parents think their child has been exposed to measles, they should take them to the doctor immediately and also check their immunization records.

If they have had the vaccine, they will be 95 percent protected.

Measles can be detected by paying attention to the symptoms.

"What you're looking for ... it's mild like flu-like symptoms ... you have a mild fever. Instead of body aches, you will have red eyes, what we call conjunctivitis, cough and whitish bluish dots inside your mouth," Woc-Colburn said.

Another major symptom of the measles is a rash all over the body.

That rash is a tell-tale sign that person is highly contagious.

"It starts on your face and then it comes down to your trunk and your arms and then slowly progresses through your legs," Woc-Colburn said.

  • She said a person may not develop symptoms for 10 to 14 days.
  • The rash comes with a very high fever, about 104 to 105.
  • There is a high risk of swelling of the brain and even death.
  • Woc-Colburn said go to the doctor to get tested for measles immediately.
  • Also check their immunization records.

"If you have two measles vaccines you have about 95 percent protection rate," Woc-Colburn said.

As far as the notion that measles is spread by more and more people coming into the United States from other countries, she said people from other countries have a bigger fear of getting it in the United States.

"The World Health Organization has made that a priority to be immunized 95 to 100 percent so where we see the rates lowered in vaccinations are in developed nations Europe and the United States," Woc-Colburn said.

She said she knows of cases where children in Latin America go to Europe as exchange students and bring the measles back with them when they head home.

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