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You have probably heard of the MMR vaccine more than once. But do you know what it is used for exactly? What viral diseases does it protect your baby from?
We tell you all about the MMR vaccine for babies, from which diseases it covers to when you should give it to your child according to the vaccination schedule.
The MMR vaccine protects your baby against three viral diseases: measles, rubella, and mumps, and it is made of weakened viruses.
The MMR vaccine is safe, it is administered subcutaneously, and two doses are required to ensure the highest percentage of protection. The first dose is applied after one year and the second between 4 and 6 years; in epidemic situations an extra dose can be given at 9 months of age.
The side effects that can occur are very mild:
- Pain and redness of the application site the first 3 days.
- After 5 to 12 days you may have general discomfort, runny nose, headache, rash, cough and fever (which resolve without the need for medications).
Symptoms are milder and less frequent compared to those caused by any of these three diseases. Hence vaccinating your child is a smart decision for him or her and for the rest of the family.
We explain in more depth which of the three diseases the vaccine protects your child against:
1. Measles. Measles is a viral disease that causes skin lesions. It is a highly contagious disease that is transmitted by direct contact with droplets of discharge from the nose or mouth (and rarely by airborne spread). In addition, it is contagious from one to two days before the appearance of symptoms and up to four days after the disappearance of the rash. It has high mortality, and is more serious in malnourished patients and / or with low levels of vitamins. The only reservoir is the human being.
Measles was already controlled in developed countries, although now it has very high peaks again. In recent years there have been some epidemics in different countries, due to the low vaccination rate. In 2017, 21,315 cases with 35 deaths were reported in Europe, an increase of 400% over the previous year. The most punished country was Romania with 5562 cases, Spain had 152 cases and the European country with the fewest cases was Switzerland with 105 cases. In Mexico, the last outbreak due to cases in the country was in 1995, since then there have been some isolated cases in travelers to countries with a high rate of measles.
In developing countries, they are even more common and cause high mortality. In fact, it is estimated that currently one million children die annually from complications of measles.
Measles produces an acute illness, manifested by fever, red eyes, nasal congestion, cough, small spots inside the mouth in the throat. The disease is most serious in children under 2 years of age, malnourished children and adults. It can be complicated by severe diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia, blindness, and swelling of the brain, which can lead to death.
2. Rubella.Also known as German measles, it also has lesions on the skin. There is a variety called congenital rubella, which appears when a pregnant woman catches rubella and passes it to her baby during pregnancy, it can cause serious malformations.
Man is the only reservoir. It is a disease that spreads in the air or close contact with droplets of secretions from the nose or throat infected patients. It is most common in late winter and early spring. 20 to 50% of infected cases are symptom-free. It is contagious from a week before you have skin lesions and up to a week or 2 after the lesions disappear. The incubation period is two to three weeks.
Rubella causes red skin lesions, with growth of glands throughout the body, most important near the neck and behind the ears, and causes a low-grade fever. It can cause pain and inflammation of the joints in children and adults, it is considered a benign disease, but in pregnancies it is very serious due to the alterations in the formation that it can cause the baby such as blindness, deafness, alterations in the structure of the heart, mental retardation, predisposition to bleeding.
3. Parotitis. It is a dominant viral infection throughout the world, most common in late winter and early spring. It is more frequently in children, but it is more serious in adults (the stage where there is a greater number of deaths). Man is the only natural reservoir, therefore, its frequency has greatly decreased due to the use of the vaccine and it is believed that it can be eradicated.
The transmission of mumps is by droplets of secretions from the nose and throat or by direct contact with the saliva of an infected person. The contagion period can be from two days before the inflammation of the parotid gland and up to nine days after. It has an incubation period of two to three weeks.
In the child, the manifestations are usually only an increase in volume of the parotid (gland that produces saliva and is found on both sides of the face) on one or both sides of the face and is usually benign. When it has manifestations outside the gland, usually in adults, it can cause inflammation of the brain; in boys after puberty it can cause swollen testicles that rarely leads to infertility. In children it is the most common cause of unilateral deafness in childhood due to viruses.
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