Measles is a highly contagious disease; it is caused by direct contact and through the air. Approximately 90% of people who come into contact with the virus will contract measles. It seems that every few years we have a measles outbreak and there have been 26 cases of measles in NSW since 1st January 2015, so is it media hype or cause for concern and what can you do to protect your children?
The first Measles vaccine is given at 12 months but the government will allow vaccination at 9 months if you are going overseas. Whether you choose to vaccinate or not is another topic!
There are a few things you can do to help boost the immune system making it more robust, this is an advisable course of action at this time of year as coming into Autumn colds and flu’s are more common.
If your child is under 12 months –
Breastfeeding is the best protection. Mothers should take Vitamin C and Zinc, this will pass into the baby via the breast milk.
Over 12 months-
Give your child a pre biotic such as F.O.S powder- this will ensure they have good gut health and protect them from many nasty bugs going around. Probiotics and Prebiotics are not the same; prebiotics promote healthy gut bacteria growth.
Elderberry and Echinacea are great herbs to help boost immunity. Echinacea demonstrates anti viral activity as well as boosting immunity and Elderberry is a great immune booster and has been known to reduce some of the symptoms associated with measles.
Cod Liver Oil is the most important supplement for measles prevention. It is high in Vitamin A and according to WHO (World Health Organisation) a child who is deficient in Vitamin A is at a much higher risk of contracting measles. Children who are diagnosed with measles are also advised to have Cod Liver Oil as it reduces complications such as eye damage and blindness.
Lastly, it is important to point out that most measles deaths are due to complications with the disease and is much more likely among children who are severely undernourished or immune compromised.