Unfortunately, it’s a reality that some vaccine-preventable diseases are making a comeback. No matter your age, your best defense against these diseases is making sure you and your family are up to date on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s entire recommended vaccination schedule. But you’ll also want to study up on the symptoms of common preventable diseases, in case you see them in yourself, friends, or family.
Symptoms for the measles usually appear a week after infection. The disease typically begins with flu-like symptoms: fever, cough, a runny nose, and red, watery eyes. After that, tiny white spots will appear in the mouth. Three to five days after infection, the tell-tale rash breaks out along the hairline and begins to spread to the rest of the body.
If you suspect measles in yourself or your child, be sure to let the doctor's office or emergency room know so that they can make proper arrangements. The measles virus is extremely contagious and can live in the air for up to 2 hours after an infected person has left the room. Because children typically don't get their first measles vaccine until 12 months of age, precautions like these in facilities that treat children are absolutely critical.
Though this disease usually affects just a small portion of the body, the symptoms can be severe. The most notable sign is an often painful rash that is concentrated in a band or strip along one side of the body, but it can also cause fever, headache, sensitivty to light, and fatigue.
The best way to prevent shingles is by getting a dose of the shingles vaccine after age 60.
Pre cancer and early cervical cancer usually have no symptoms, but warning signs include abnormal vaginal bleeding, an unusual discharge from the vagina, and pain during sexual intercourse.
HPV vaccination is the best way to prevent cervical and other HPV-related cancers. But even if you've had the vaccine, it's still important to be screened regularly.
The HPV vaccine is recommended for BOTH boys and girls at age 11-12, but is approved up to age 26.
Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Whooping cough, like many other diseases, starts with cold and flu-like symptoms: runny or congested nose, red eyes, fever, extreme fatigue and a cough. The big difference with whooping cough is that the cough often lasts for weeks (which is why it's also known as the 100-day cough).
Whooping cough is often much more severe in small children, often resulting in coughing fits so bad that they lead to vomiting and oxygen deprivation. The signature sign of whooping cough is the high-pitched "whoop" sound (hence the name) made while coughing, though not everyone will make the sound.
About half of babies under 1 with whooping cough need to be hospitalized. And babies often get the disease from an adult or older child in the family who might not have any symptoms or even know they are infected. That's why it's so critical that everyone (even adults) be up to date on their whooping cough vaccine, and that pregnant women receive a Tdap vaccine during each and every pregnancy.
Young adults and adolescents not up to date on their meningococcal vaccine could be vulnerable to developing bacterial meningitis. The first signs are the sudden onset of fever, a headache, and a stiff neck. As it goes on, it can cause nausea, increased sensitivity to light, and confusion.
If you experience any of these symptoms, visit a medical professional immediately, as the disease moves quickly and can lead to loss of limbs or even death within a matter of hours or days.
The best way to prevent meningococcal meningitis is by getting vaccinated. All adolescents should get two doses of the meningococcal vaccine: one at age 11 and then a booster dose at age 16.
For more information about these and other vaccine-preventable diseases, check out: