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Measles Outbreak, Flu Season, or Just a Cold

January 29th, 2019

If you live in the Portland/Vancouver area, you are likely aware of the current outbreak of measles. So far, most of the cases are in unvaccinated individuals. While most children will recover fully, there can be significant complications for others. Click here for more information on measles. I am not addressing the controversy regarding to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, but want to address the issue of what to do when you are sick.

If you are sick–fever, coughing, malaise, etc.–your best course of action is to stay home, rest, and recover! This goes against very real and powerful cultural pressures to “keep going”, “be strong”, “power through”, etc. The advent of all the medications to help dry up that runny nose and suppress that cough and reduce that fever have contributed to our perception of the ability to continue our daily schedules “as usual” when we are ill. This not only is a disservice to our own bodies, but to others whom we then expose. One of my favorite examples is from the book by Alvin Tresselt and illustrated by Roger Duvoisin, “White Snow, Bright Snow” published in 1947. The policeman caught a chill, his wife applied a mustard plaster, and he went to bed. I’ve attached a couple of the illustrations–but read the book, it is fun!

My hope is that we each can contribute to changing this cultural pressure–from pushing ourselves and children when we should be resting and healing to a culture that values our limitations and allows time for recovery. Yes, I know being sick is inconvenient and that recovery may be even more so.

And in this season of measles which is very contagious, please stay home if you have a fever, cough, runny nose. These will start even before the telltale rash. Just think, if everyone in Clark County could stay home for 2 weeks, we could end this outbreak! (OK, I know that is not practical 😉 ). Of course, call your health care provider if you are concerned about progression of your or your child’s illness!!

To your health!!

White Snow, Bright Snow