One of the most common vaccines that doctors mandate that children and adults alike should receive is the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. While most people think of these diseases as things from the past, in many countries, and some part of the United States, these diseases are quite common, and sometimes lead to serious injuries. This is unfortunate, because all three of these diseases are preventable by this vaccine.
All of three of these diseases are spread through the air and are extremely contagious. If one child does not get their vaccination, they can spread it to anyone else who has not had the vaccine. Measles can cause minor things like a cough, cold like symptoms, and fever. However, more serious side effects can be infection in the lungs, causing pneumonia, seizures, high fevers that cause brain damage, and death in some serious cases.
The mumps are more serious than measles, because they rarely have small effects. If you are infected with the mumps, you are at risk for serious infections to the brain and spinal cord. Deafness is also a serious side effect as mumps attacks the area around the brain and head. A common problem in the old day would be that mumps cause the testicles and ovaries to swell, which can lead to reproductive problems later.
Rubella is also called the German measles. This is the least serious of the three diseases, but can be spread in addition to the air through touch of a rash or runny nose. Rubella causes mild rashes and flu like symptoms.
The vaccine is given to children between the first 12-15 months of life, then at 5 years and then again somewhere between 10-18. There are usually two does of the vaccine, although sometimes three are given if the child was very young. There are only minor risks of side effects from the vaccine, including a small rash that clears up in a few days. The lymph nodes around the neck may also swell.
It is extremely important to vaccinate your children against these diseases. Make sure you talk to your doctor about the appropriate times to vaccinate.