Measles can make kids very sick. Around one in ten children infected by the measles virus are hospitalised. In rare cases, the disease can be fatal.
Most people who catch measles make a full recovery after a couple of weeks of feeling ill. But even those who suffer from a less serious case of the disease, the impact on family life can be significant – children miss school; parents miss work.
To understand the full impact of measles, researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine examined how a bout of measles affected quality of life for children and their families.
The study found that, on average, measles lasts for almost 14 days. Two thirds of people said they had to take time off work or school as a result of infection, missing an average of 10 days – equivalent to two working weeks or two weeks of school.
Of these, parents/caregivers also stayed at home to look after them in 37% of cases. The average number of days away from work for the caregiver was just over seven.
The research found that in England, measles epidemics led to 23,000 days of lost productivity in 2012/2013.
Anyone with young children knows how disruptive it can be when a child gets a fever and cannot go to school or crèche for a day or two. Your well-oiled routine – eat breakfast, get dressed, drop kids, go to work – comes to a grinding halt.
Some people can take a day off without causing major problems but taking more than a week away from work – at a moment’s notice – is far from ideal.
For others, even taking one unscheduled day off can be a challenge. What if you run your own business? What if you work in retail and have the keys to the shop? What if you’re a brain surgeon, a pilot or you travel for work? What if you study at night and have an assignment due?
In some countries, self-employed people lose money – and customers – if they are abruptly absent from their station.
But here’s some old news: measles is a preventable disease. The measles vaccine has been around for decades and is safe and effective. In Europe, it is free.
Keep your kids healthy, save time, save money, save stress. Follow your doctor’s advice and make sure your children have the measles vaccine.