There is a small measles outbreak on the mainland and while it is fairly contained at this time there is the potential for a much larger scale problem.
I logged into social media this morning to see many shares of a potential Island case. Scratch that, a potential Cowichan Valley case.
To be honest I was already aware of this possibility. A friend of mine was told that the potential case was in her doctors office the same day she was in there with her daughter.
I don’t believe in fear mongering. I don’t believe in sharing this information before it has been confirmed. It can cause mass hysteria. But at this time, it’s already out there, all over my personal Facebook page.
To clarify, at this time Island Health states that there is no lab-confirmed measles case on Vancouver Island. This is on their website and was also tweeted by them at 11:47am today.
I do understand the perspective of those who worry. Many would like to stay ahead of this the best they can. Many have babies who are too young to get the measles vaccine or may have children who cannot get the vaccine for medical reasons.
So, what can we focus on? How do we help prevent a larger scale spread?
Make sure you and your family are up to date on immunizations. Here is a link with a detailed description of who needs what: https://immunizebc.ca/measles
What is less obvious is what to do if you think you have the measles virus.
The BC Centre of Disease Control describes the following symptoms:
Fever, cough, runny nose, watery inflamed eyes.
Small red spots in the mouth with whitish or bluish white centres.
Dusky red, blotchy rash that starts on the face and spreads all over the body. Rash begins on third to seventh day of illness and lasts between four and seven days.
Have these symptoms? If you think you have measles you need to be assessed by a doctor.
Make sure you call your doctors office or health care establishment first to let them know you are coming in. They may have extra precautions for their establishment to take to prevent the spread.
Measles is airborne for up to several hours after an infected person has coughed or sneezed in the room. That means potentially putting an entire waiting room of people at risk. Nobody wants that.
Stay home. It’s tough. Being locked up with little ones and off work is not easy on anyone. But it’s a necessary measure to prevent the spread of disease.
We all need to do what we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and all of those around us.
Keep in mind this blog post is being written at noon on March 4th, 2019. Please follow Island Health and the BCCDC on social media or check their websites frequently for up to date information. More questions? Here is a link to some fantastic FAQ: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/measles-faq. Additionally, you can call 8-1-1 and speak to a nurse. Nurses staff the line 24/7.