By: Kyle Lasalita
Recently the Department of Health (DOH) declared a measles outbreak in Central Luzon and Metro Manila. An outbreak is the sudden increase of disease manifestation in a specific time and place. As parents, it’s natural for you to get a little nervous in times of an outbreak, but if you had your child vaccinated the possibility of them contracting the disease goes down to around 7%.
The recent outbreak was also correlated to the Dengvaxia scare which made the public distrust vaccines altogether. As of February 16, there had been over 8,000 outbreak cases recorded and 136 fatalities. According to the DOH, most of the deaths recorded was due to the fact the kids did not receive any vaccination. DOH also added that they don’t expect the outbreak to end anytime soon although experts say that it’s probably going to wane some time in April.
So, as parents how do we make sure our kids stay protected during times like these? Here are four tips to help you in times of outbreaks.
Prevention is always better than a cure. The best way to protect your child is by getting them vaccinated. As early as 9-months, your child can already take the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Once the vaccine has been administered, it will take two weeks for your body to build the antibodies needed to fight the diseases.
It’s also never too late; if you know that your child has been exposed to the disease, you can get them vaccinated within 72-hours after exposure. While this does not guarantee anything, it can help your child’s body manage the disease better.
Vaccination doesn’t just protect your child; it can also help protect others and the future generation. For example, smallpox vaccination is no longer a thing because the disease has been completely eradicated which means it no longer exists. This happened because there had been a worldwide immunization program decades ago. Imagine, if we all had MMR vaccination? The outbreak couldn’t have occurred.
Wash Your Hands Often
Always maintain high standards of environmental hygiene by telling your kids to wash their hands often. Outbreak diseases are usually passed on through physical contact. If someone who’s contracted the disease holds your hands or your child’s hands and they rub their nose and eyes, there is a 90% chance of them getting the disease. One of the best ways to stop spreading anything is by consistently washing our hands with clean water and soap.
Additionally, always make sure that you have a hand sanitizer with you so that you can always disinfect your hands anywhere you go. At a time of a disease outbreak, remind your kids to avoid physical contact with other people as much as they can. You can let them know how to respectfully decline physical contact so as not to make people feel uncomfortable.
Wear A Mask
You can also catch outbreak diseases through inhalation because these viruses are often airborne. During the time of an outbreak, have your kids wear a mask whenever they go outside. The regular surgical masks usually work fine, but in the case of the measles outbreak, the virus is too small and can still enter the pores of a surgical mask. Experts suggest that you use an N95 mask because it has a better facial fit and can effectively filter out airborne viruses.
Make sure that you teach your kids to always cover their mouth when they see someone sneezing or coughing. If they’re the one who’s coughing, let them know that the best way to cough is through the inside of their elbow. Coughing directly through their hands can lead to them spreading the virus when they touch other objects.
Once the outbreak has been declared, get as much information as you can about it. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to protect your family. Ensure that your vaccination record is up-to-date, if not get the necessary vaccines right away. The more you know about the disease, the better chances you have of avoiding it.
My name is Kyle and I’m a father, a writer, and a struggling entrepreneur. I believe that dads are just as awesome as mothers, only cooler. When you don’t see me changing my son’s diapers, you can see me on my blog – Daddy Set Go.