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What should I know about the measles or MMR vaccination?

Measles is a fairly common childhood disease that usually occurs most frequently in unvaccinated children between the ages of one and four years old. Adults and older children can, however, also catch the measles virus, which is caused by a virus known as paramyxo virus. Although measles is common, it should not be taken lightly, as it can lead to much more serious diseases and infections.

Aside from the usual symptoms of measles, which can include flu like symptoms, the characteristic red rash, coughing, fever, conjunctivitis and grey spots in the mouth, your child may also experience ear infections, lung infections, acute encephalitis or brain inflammation and breathing difficulties. These more severe symptoms and complications can even be fatal.

The measles virus is highly contagious, and has a two week incubation period. The rash that most of us recognise as measles is actually only apparent about three to five days after your child is contagious, and will last about three to five days, with a further four day period that your child can infect others after the spots disappear. Usually, your child will have other symptoms before the rash appears, however.

As it’s so contagious, it’s important that you keep your child with measles out of school while he or she is contagious, to prevent the spread of the virus.

Although there have been rumours and concerns about the measles or MMR vaccine that is administered to babies aged 12 to 15 months, it’s the best way to prevent your child from getting measles, and you should definitely have your child immunised, unless your doctor advises you otherwise.

Your child will receive another, booster shot, at around four or five years of age, and by that time, your child will be 99% likely to be immune to measles.

More questions

There are very specific guidelines when it comes to safely administering over the counter medications to babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
A cold bath can actually do more harm than good to a feverish child.
Many children have a mild reaction to the MMR vaccine – it’s not usually full-blown measles though, and it’s usually not serious. There are a few things to watch out for though...
Injections are necessary - the thing is to just have them and then get on with it. If needs be, have your child’s favourite toy or something else that will distract him while he has his shot.
Antibiotics do not kill viruses, such as the common cold, and by over using antibiotics, particularly when they aren’t necessary, you are weakening your child's future defences! 
In general, chewable medicines are only designed for children two years and older, who are adept at eating solid foods.
Giving any child aspirin could contribute to them getting a serious illness known as Reye’s Syndrome.
As a parent you should understand the risks associated with various different types of medication
Both ibuprofen and paracetamol are effective pain and fever treatment options for babies and children.
Choosing between a vaporiser and a humidifier is a personal choice but both help to make children feel better

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