All adults not protected from measles should get a measles shot. You are already protected from measles if you have at least one of the following:
- A written record showing that you already got a live measles shot
- A blood test showing that you are immune
- A blood test showing that you have had measles
- Born before 1957
If you don’t have at least 1 of these or are unsure, you may not be protected from measles. You shouldn’t rely on your memory. Talk to your doctor. You can get a blood test to check if you are protected. You can also just get the shot. Getting another measles shot is safe, even if you’re not sure if you’ve already had one.
Many adults only need 1 shot. Some people should get 2 shots. You should get 2 shots if you are:
- A student
- Planning to travel outside of the US
- Working in healthcare
- Living with or are close to a person with a weak immune system.
- HIV-positive (unless you have severe immune problems)
What should I do during a measles outbreak?
During a measles outbreak, it is very important to make sure you are protected. If you have only had 1 shot, you may want to get another shot. If you are not sure, you should get the vaccine.
Why protect against measles?
Measles can be a very dangerous disease. Measles is a virus that spreads very easily through the air. It causes fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes. A rash of tiny, red spots breaks out, spreading from the head to the entire body. Measles can cause serious infections of the lungs (pneumonia) and brain (encephalitis). It can cause other serious problems and even death.
In the US, if 1,000 people get measles, 2 to 3 of them will die from it. This is why doctors suggest getting the measles vaccine. The vaccine is very safe. It also does a good job of preventing measles. After getting 1 shot, 95 out of 100 people will be completely protected from measles. After 2 shots, 99 out of 100 people will be completely protected.
Who should NOT get the vaccine?
- Pregnant women, and women planning to get pregnant in the next month
- People with a weakened immune system, including people with AIDS with severe immunosuppression, certain cancers, or taking certain medicine
- People who have had a severe allergic reaction to anything in the vaccine, including people who are allergic to neomycin. Neomycin is an antibiotic medicine. It is in medicines such as Neosporin. There is a little bit of it in the measles vaccine.
Note: If you are allergic to eggs, you CAN get the vaccine.
These recommendations are based on national guidelines for the United States. Other local and international organizations may give slightly different advice. Talk to your doctor to see if a measles shot is right for you.
Don’t delay, make sure you’re protected from measles today!