From a worried GP
Did you know that a case of measles was confirmed in the Waikato region in February? Or that measles are easier to catch than Covid-19? Or that some people who think they can’t catch it actually can?
The possibility of measles spreading back into our community scares a GP like me.The biggest scary fact is that serious complications can occurfor 1 in every 10 people who catch measles. These complications can turn into nasty things like ear infections, pneumonia, and brain infection (encephalitis) and even death. This can happen to anyone, especially our children where this disease spreads most rapidly.
Why does it spread through children so quickly?Measles is spread through tiny airborne droplets that land on surfaces like toys or furniture, and can be spread through a sneeze, cough or just talking to someone! Wearing a mask and washing your hands can certainly help keep you safe, but as you would have noticed most people have moved away from wearing masks in public now, and it’s not easy to do with children!
Measles was a common childhood illness 30 years ago but this was almost wiped out from the MMR vaccine – which is the best protection for you and your family. Now with lower vaccination rates among our young people, the protection we have in our community has weakened. Worse still, those who can’t get the vaccine like immunocompromised people or pregnant women are at even greater risk.
To make sure you are protected, have a chat with one of our nurses and find out how many doses you’ve had (especially if you are between 17-32yrs old now, or over 54!). Our skilled and friendly nurses are really good at helping you or your children feel comfortable through this process. We care about our patients and want you to be safe so give us a call.
Dr. Clare Hartford,
Hamilton GP, Little London Medical Clinic
MORE INFO ON THE MMR VACCINE:
To protect yourself and your kids, ensure that you have all had two doses of the MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) vaccine. Those who are aged 17- 32 years may have only received one dose at this time, and unfortunately, this has been shown to be less effective than receiving two doses. If you are over the age of 54 and have not had the MMR vaccine or natural immunity from having measles, then you are also very vulnerable to catching this illness. If you are unsure, there is no harm found in having three doses to help you be well-protected!