Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

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Where can I get the MMR vaccine?

The MMR vaccine is one of the safest and most common vaccines on the market that every child should receive early on. It can safely stave off many preventable illnesses, and ensure children avoid diseases and illness in their early lives.

Pharmaca’s pharmacists are some of the best in their field, and focus on individual counsel and care for each patient. We’ve worked with some of the medical industry’s top professionals in order to provide the best, and safest immunization services across the country.

Thinking of getting an MMR vaccination? Contact your local Pharmaca pharmacy to schedule an appointment.

We’ve been offering many immunizations recommended by the CDC for certain health concerns and before travel abroad for many years. We accept most major insurance providers so that your immunizations can be convenient and affordable.

What is the MMR vaccine?      

The MMR vaccination is one of the most common childhood vaccinations. The vaccine immunizes against measles, mumps and rubella.

The CDC has recommended that children get one dose of the MMR vaccine at 12–15 months of age, and a second dose anywhere from 4–6 years old. The MMR vaccination is a simple shot and may be given at the same time as other childhood vaccines.

The MMR vaccine has been proven highly effective at protecting against measles, mumps and rubella, and also highly effective at preventing complications caused by these diseases. According to the CDC, children who get two doses of the MMR vaccine are considered protected for life.

In fact, two doses of the vaccine are 97 percent effective against measles and 88 percent effective against mumps. One dose of MMR vaccine is 93 percent effective against measles, 78 percent effective against mumps and 97 percent effective against rubella.

What is measles?

Measles is a highly infectious illness caused by the rubeola virus.

The measles virus lives in the mucus of the nose and throat. It’s spread in the air and by direct contact with someone who has the virus. The virus can stay active on surfaces and in the air for up to 2 hours.

The reason measles is so dangerous is that you can be contagious for four days before experiencing any measles symptoms. So people that have the virus could easily spread it without even knowing they have it. Not only that, people can continue to be contagious four days after the symptoms of measles go away.

Measles is an unpleasant condition, but it also can pass without treatment within 7–10 days. However, after someone contracts measles, they gain immunity for the rest of their life.

The symptoms of measles appear about 9–11 days after initial infection, and may include:

  • Runny nose
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Conjunctivitis, or swollen eyelids and inflamed eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sneezing
  • A reddish-brown rash
  • Bluish-white spots in the mouth, insides of cheeks and throat (Koplik’s spots)
  • General body aches

Other signs of measles can often include a fever that can range from mild to severe and can last several days.

The reddish-brown rash appears around 3–4 days after initial symptoms and usually starts behind the ears and spreads over the head and neck. It then spreads to the rest of the body, including the legs.

What is mumps?

The mumps virus is a viral infection that affects the parotid glands, one of the three pairs of salivary glands, which are located below and in front of your ears. The mumps virus can cause swelling in one or both parotid glands.

People infected with the virus have either no signs or symptoms of mumps or very mild ones. When signs of mumps do develop, they generally appear about two to three weeks after exposure.

How do you get mumps?

Mumps is spread easily from person to person through infected saliva. If someone isn’t immune, they can still contract the virus by breathing in the saliva droplets of an infected person who has just sneezed or coughed. Mumps can also be spread by sharing utensils or cups with someone who has virus.

Mumps symptoms

There are many signs of mumps that you should look out for. Some symptoms of mumps include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain while chewing or swallowing

The most well known sign of mumps is swollen salivary glands that cause the cheeks to puff out. The term “mumps” is an old expression for lumps or bumps within the cheeks.

What is rubella?

The rubella virus is a contagious disease that affects mostly children. It can cause symptoms like a rashfever and eye redness. Rubella us usually mild in kids, but can be more serious in pregnant women.

How is rubella transmitted?

Rubella is transmitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes tiny germ-filled droplets into the air and onto surfaces. People who are infected are contagious for up to a week before and a week after they get the rash. Some people don’t know they’re infected because they haven’t yet shown any symptoms, and thus rubella transmission can still occur to others.

Rubella symptoms

In children, the effects of rubella are usually mild. For kids who do show symptoms of rubella, the tell-tale red rash usually begins first, and appears on the face before spreading to the rest of the body. Some other signs or symptoms of rubella include:

  • A low-grade fever
  • Headache
  • Mild pink eye (redness or swelling of the white of the eye)
  • General discomfort
  • Swollen and enlarged lymph nodes
  • Cough
  • Runny nose

Adults who get rubella usually have a mild illness, with low-grade fever, sore throat and a rash that starts at the face and spreads to the rest of the body.

A quarter to half of people infected with rubella will not experience any symptoms.

Is MMR a live vaccine?

MMR is an attenuated (weakened) live virus vaccine. After a person gets the shot, the viruses cause a harmless infection with very few, if any, symptoms. Then the person’s immune system fights that infection caused by the weakened viruses, and the body’s immunity develops.

When should you get the MMR vaccine?         

A common question for parents is, “What age is the MMR vaccine given?” The MMR vaccination schedule is fairly simple. Babies get the MMR vaccine administered routinely between 12­–15 months, and a second dose at age 4–6. The second dose administered can be given as early as four weeks after the first one. This second dose is not a booster, but is intended to produce immunity in the small number of people whose bodies don’t respond to the first shot.

About the MMR vaccine for adults

The CDC recommends that most adults born in 1957 or later should get at least one dose of the MMR vaccine. Since the viruses can produce risks of birth defects, women of childbearing age should have the MMR vaccine unless they’re pregnant or have proof of previous immunity, or if they’ve already been vaccinated for rubella.

The CDC also says adults who are at a greater risk of measles or mumps should get two doses of the MMR vaccine.

MMR vaccine side effects       

As with just about any medical treatment, there are certain side effects of the MMR vaccine. However, according to the CDC, most people who get vaccinated experience no side effects of the MMR vaccine. They also state that “getting MMR vaccine is much safer than getting measles, mumps or rubella.”

Side effects from the MMR vaccine can range from minor to serious, and can include the following:

Minor: Fever and mild rash

Moderate: Pain and stiffness of the joints, seizure and low platelet count

Serious: Allergic reaction, which can cause hives, swelling and trouble breathing (extremely rare)

If you or your child have MMR vaccination reactions that concern you, it’s best to tell your doctor as soon as possible.