Don’t forget your measles vaccination

Disease can spread quickly to others after a sick person coughs or sneezes

The Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit is one place where you can get a measles vaccination. Contact your local health centre if you need to update your vaccinations. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

The Government of Nunavut is reminding residents to make sure their measles vaccines are up to date, following several recent measles cases in the country, including two cases in Northwest Territories.

“In Canada, measles cases are rare because most people are vaccinated for it in childhood, receiving a vaccine at 12 months old and another at 18 months old,” said a Department of Health public service announcement released Monday.

“Measles is a serious disease caused by a very contagious virus.”

Look out for these symptoms

Some symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, cough and puffy eyes that are sensitive to light.

As well, there could be small spots on the mouth.

A rash that usually lasts about four days starts on the head and face before it spreads to the rest of the body.

Measles can spread quickly to others after a sick person coughs or sneezes.

Anyone who has the disease is contagious four days before the rash appears and up to four days after the rash disappears.

Who is likely to get measles

People who were never vaccinated or did not get their second vaccination are most likely to get the measles after being in contact with someone who has it.

Those who are most at risk of getting very sick from measles are unvaccinated pregnant women, infants under 12 months of age, and people with weakened immune systems.

There is no treatment for measles. The body eventually kills the virus on its own.

While sick with the measles, you must stay home, says the Department of Health.

The best prevention for measles is vaccination.

You can get vaccinated at your local health centre and you can learn more about the measles on the GN’s website.

Additionally, the recommended childhood immunization schedule can be found here.

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