Wellness Matters

When It Comes to Measles, Know Your Numbers

February 19, 2015


With all the publicity about measles, it’s important that you know your numbers.

1957 Rule – If you are 58 or older, you probably had the measles. Once you’ve had the disease, you have lifetime immunity. If you didn’t have the measles, you have already lived through several measles epidemics and if you didn’t get the disease then, you probably won’t now, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

After 1958 – If you were born after 1958, check your health records to see if you have been vaccinated. The measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine program began in 1963. The shots given from 1963 to 1968 weren’t as effective as those after 1968. So if you can’t find your records, can’t remember if you had measles or had the vaccine between 1963 and 1968, you may consider getting a vaccine.

Before 1989 – Children got a single measles dose before 1989. After 1989, children got a double dose. If you are in a high-risk group, a health care worker or an international traveler, you should consider getting a second dose of the vaccine. If you are not considered high risk, the official recommendations say you don't need to get a second shot. However, you can get a second shot if you want, according to the CDC.

Be sure to talk with your primary care provider about whether you need to get the vaccine.

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