"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Is it protected to travel to Florida?

March 20, 2024 – Every spring, roughly 30 million people Visit Florida's beaches, cities and theme parks for some fun within the sun. But this yr because the state prepares for spring break, it is usually grappling with a measles outbreak that has many travelers wondering whether it continues to be protected to travel.

Last month, the state reported 10 measles Cases — nine in Broward County near Fort Lauderdale and one in Polk County near Orlando, with the earliest cases at Manatee Bay Elementary School in Broward County. According to the CDC, As of March 1, 41 cases of measles have been reported within the U.S., a big number considering 58 cases were reported in all of last yr.

Additionally, the Florida Department of Health was slow to release information in regards to the outbreak, adding to travelers' uncertainty. Neither the Florida Department of Health nor the Broward County Department of Health responded to requests for comment.

Florida officials' response to the outbreak is troubling for Florida residents and tourists, he said David M HigginsMD, pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Florida health officials are “responding to the outbreak in a way that contradicts decades of well-established public health recommendations,” he said of Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, MD, PhD. Ladapo has not really useful measles vaccination, leaving parents to make a decision whether to send children exposed to the virus back to highschool.

Still, traveling to Florida over spring break is protected for people vaccinated against measles, Higgins said, since the variety of cases continues to be low enough. That view is shared by another Florida health officials, who note that the danger profile is currently low and numbers haven't increased.

“Most people are vaccinated, and vaccinated people really don’t have to worry,” he said Nicole M. IovineMD, PhD, clinical professor and hospital epidemiologist within the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine on the University of Florida Health in Gainesville.

If you usually are not sure whether you've gotten been vaccinated, contact your loved ones doctor. The Pediatric Academy and the CDC We recommend that children be vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) from 12 to fifteen months of age and a second dose given at 4 to six years of age. Adolescents and adults must also be up so far on their vaccinations. Vaccination isn't required for people age 66 and older because almost everyone born before 1957 has been infected with the virus and has natural immunity. The vaccine is very effective and protected: only one dose provides 93% lifetime protection and two doses provides 97% protection.

People considering traveling to Florida who usually are not vaccinated will probably want to get vaccinated before their trip. “A single shot provides almost immediate protection and complete protection within weeks,” Iovine said.

However, in case your child is just too young to be vaccinated otherwise you or a member of the family has a weakened immune system, “you should exercise extreme caution when planning a trip to a state with reported cases of measles,” Higgins said.

Parents and others traveling to Florida with young children might consider getting their child vaccinated early, he said David Nguyen, MD, an internal medicine and pediatric infectious diseases physician at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. It is mostly believed that babies have some immunity to measles before they're six months old if their mother has been vaccinated. However, it's protected to receive the vaccine as early as 6 months. It is generally only really useful at 1 yr of age as that is when it's believed to work best.

But selecting to depart your child unprotected puts their health in danger, Nguyen said. “If you don’t get your children vaccinated against measles, they are extremely vulnerable to one of the most contagious infections of all.”

There is an actual risk of hospitalization for unvaccinated individuals who get measles 20% of it diagnosed with serious complications resembling bronchitis, pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). In fact, the disease still kills 200,000 people yearly world wide, most of them children.

“What people don't realize is that measles can weaken your immune system for weeks to months after infection, leaving you susceptible to many other infections once you recover from the actual illness,” Nguyen said.

Immunocompromised people – who make up 3% of the population and living with weakened immune systems attributable to certain illnesses, cancer treatments or recent organ transplants – are particularly vulnerable to measles because they cannot tolerate live vaccines like MMR and there are not any antiviral therapies for the disease. Higgins suggests chatting with a physician about your specific level of protection and whether it's protected to travel to states where cases of measles have been reported.

Nguyen, who treated a measles patient throughout the Disneyland outbreak in 2015, said in case you usually are not vaccinated and are considering traveling to tourist hotspots like Disney World in Orlando, it's price considering due to risk of exposure to other people to satisfy who is also unprotected.

Apart from vaccination, experts say it is basically useless to guard yourself from measles. Things like washing your hands and wearing a mask are good practices with regards to other respiratory infections like COVID-19, but they won't protect you from measles in case you're not vaccinated. Measles is spread by respiratory droplets when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. These droplets can remain on surfaces or within the air and cause infections for up to 2 hours.

“Measles is transmitted through the air and is highly contagious. So the only way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated,” Iovine said.

If you come into contact with measles during a visit to Florida or elsewhere, the illness begins with flu-like symptoms: fever, congestion, conjunctivitis and cough, they are saying Carla Garcia Carreno, MD, medical director of infection prevention and control at Children's Medical Center in Plano, TX. She said it can be crucial for patients who fear they've contracted the disease to inform their doctor since the disease is so contagious. The virus can spread days before a rash appears.

However, experts say most of us can easily visit the Sunshine State. So in case you're vaccinated, it's okay to pack your bags because though you would possibly bring home a sunburn, you're unlikely to bring home a case of measles.