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Measles Vaccine Provides Big Benefits for Your Child

Measles Vaccine Provides Big Benefits for Your Child

A study reveals that you get a lot more than you bargained for when you give your child a measles vaccine. Not only does the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine protect against measles, it also prevents damage the virus causes to immune system memory cells. That damage makes children vulnerable to life-threatening infections for two to three years after they recover from the rash, high fever and dry cough. (We used to think the weakened immune system could recover in a few months.)  And researchers who conducted the study speculate that in the days before the vaccine was introduced, long-term immune system damage caused by the measles was associated with 50% of all childhood deaths from other infections.

As more and more states contemplate mandatory vaccination (because of the recent measles outbreak), this is one more piece of evidence that suggests parents should voluntarily -- and gladly -- get the MMR vaccine for their kids. Not only will they dodge the measles, it protects them from other diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and bronchitis.

Medically reviewed in November 2019.

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