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Hello fellow Saguache County Residents, finally the sun has come out to play! With our delay in Spring time weather many might have forgotten that Spring & Summer are working our way. Please remember to keep you & your families safe- wear helmets whenever on bikes, ATV's, motorcycles, ect., apply sunscreen prior to being in the sun & reapply as directed, keep hydrated at all times, increase intake of fruits & veggies & stay active, doing all of these consisently will help you & your family better live safe & healthy lives!
Although we Coloradans have not yet been affected by it- the number of confirmed Measles cases in the US has dramatically risen throughout this year. From January 1st 2014 to May 16th 2014 there have been 216 confirmed Measles cases & of those 15 outbreaks in different states throughtout the US. Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus, which has a quick onset & is extremely contagious. The virus is transmitted via airborn route by person with virus breathing, coughing or sneezing and can remain infectious on surfaces or in the air for up to 2 hours after infected person coughs and breathes. Nine out of ten unvaccinated persons, if exposed to the virus which causes Measles, will get Measles. One indemnifying symptom of Measles is the rash associated with, which is characterized as a flat red area covered with small bumps(if immunocompromised may not exhibit rash), other symptoms may be a very high fever (up to or greater than 105 degrees), cough, runny nose, fatigue, water-crusted eyes. Additional complications one can have from Measles include ear infections, pneumonia, bronchitis, diarrhea, respiratory & neurologic complications, & acute encephalitis (infection in the brain) which can lead to permanent brain damage. Fortunately there is a vaccine to prevent Measles. It is a live-atttenuated 2 dose series vaccine established in 1963, prior to this vaccine there were approximately 549,000 Measles cases & 495 deaths per year in the US. From 2000 to 2013 there was a range of 37 to 220 Measles cases in the US, majority of those occuring in persons not vaccinated. The recommendations for the MMR vaccine for children are first dose at 1 year, if traveling outside of US and under 1 year, can have first dose from 6-11 months, second dose between 4-6 years, for adults if born during or after 1957 & do not have evidence of immunity at least one dose is recommended, for teens & adolescence, young adults 2 doses are recommended with at least 28 days in between the doses. We do have MMR vaccine available at both our Center & Saguache offices, & can provide vaccines via walk in or by appointment, please call for availability 719-754-2773 (Center) or 719-655-2533 ( Saguache). Prevention is the key for you & your family!
Along with the warm weather come more travelers & more community members traveling to remote areas for recreational activities such as camping & fishing. Another issue for those to be aware of is Tick Born Relapsing Fever (TBRF) which is bacterial infection caused by a bite from a soft body tick(usually in lodgings where rodents may be) & is characterized by reoccuring episodes of fever lasting days, followed by days without fever & this process repeating 1-4 times, other symptoms may include body aches, muscle pain, joint pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, dry cough, light sensitivity, rash, neck pain, eye pain, confusion or dizziness. If exposed to an environment where ticks may be present & have symptoms listed with 7 days of exposure, it is recommended to follow up with your Primary Care Physician. In order to be proactive you can help protect you & your family by using insect repellelent containing DEET, avoid sleeping in areas with rodent infestation, rodent proof building/lodgings (use of respirator mask when removing rodent carcasses & or cleaning rodent droppings/urine/saliva), use of protective clothing, bathing & washing clothing when exposed. If you have questions or would like additional information regarding TBRF or Measles, please feel free to call either of the Public Health offices.
I wish al of you & your families a safe & fun summer!
Alyssa O'Brien, RN, SCPHN, School Nurse