Dignity Health Merced | helloHealthy | Summer 2019

HelloHealthy | Summer 2019 5 This year’s measles outbreak has been big news: The U.S. is experiencing the highest number of measles cases in decades. Measles is highly contagious—and it can make kids seriously sick and, in rare cases, kill them. The disease can sweep through communities, especially in locations where people have opted not to vaccinate their children due to unfounded fears about the safety of the vaccine. According to Joanne Spalding, MD, a family doctor at Dignity Health – Mercy Medical Center in Merced, the measles vaccine is safe and should not be skipped. “Parents need to know that it benefits their child to be vaccinated and to prevent this illness,” she says. For most children, the worst part about measles is the symptoms, which include a high fever, a cough, and a rash. But some children who get measles may develop pneumonia or a serious brain infection that can cause long-term brain damage. If you have questions about the measles vaccine, ask your child’s health care provider. MEASLES VACCINE Why your kids need it Protect your kids from measles. Find out how at cdc.gov/measles . Joanne Spalding, MD