Open letter to Coeur d’Alene Pediatrics families regarding measles precautions
There has been a lot of information in the media recently regarding cases of measles in North Idaho. While there is no need to panic, many of our families have questions regarding precautions Coeur d’Alene Pediatrics is taking to ensure the safety of their children. This letter is to let you know what we have in place, and to ask for your assistance in keeping all children safe while limiting exposure and spread of this disease.
Coeur d’Alene Pediatrics is committed to the care of all children in North Idaho. Therefore, at any point in time, there may be patients in our waiting room who are more vulnerable to complications from measles. This includes premature infants, patients on chemotherapy, patients in a home where chemotherapy is being given to an adult, patients with chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, etc. Our goal is to ensure the safety of all these patients.
Measles is very contagious. The virus can be spread for 4 days prior to the rash breaking out and 3 to 4 days after the rash. Initially the illness looks like a bad cold with fever (see below for more information on signs and symptoms). Droplets from any patient with active disease stay airborne for 2 hours. If you believe your child has been exposed to measles, and is showing symptoms, we ask that you not bring them into our waiting room without first contacting our office. Know that we will see and care for your child, but we have precautions in place that need to be followed for the safety of all children.
Please call ahead and set up an appointment for your child to be seen. When you get to the office, stay in your car in the parking lot, and let the staff know you have arrived. Staff will come to you, give you protective masks, and escort you through a private door into a private room set aside with isolation precautions.
While the majority of children with measles will have minimal disease, there is a high risk of increased pneumonia, ear infection, brain infection such as encephalitis, and prolonged immune system depression. Our best defense is still immunization, and now isolation of any possibly infected persons.
*A special message to our unimmunized families* While we respect your right to choose not to immunize your child, we asked that you also respect the right of other families who do choose to immunize and are unable to fully immunize due to age, underlying illness, or complications. Because measles initially presents as a cold with fever, and red eyes, you may not realize the child has contracted this disease until the rash comes out, and they have been potentially spreading it for days. If you have concerns about your child's possible exposure to measles, and they have symptoms, please quarantine your child for 5-7 days. If you are concerned about progression of disease and worrisome symptoms, please follow the precautions outlined above so we can see and care for your child.
For more information about measles, signs and symptoms, areas of known epidemics, and immunization recommendations for international travelers, please visit our website at www.cdapeds.com.
From providers and staff at Coeur d’Alene Pediatrics