The impact fake news had on the world of politics is well known, but the dangers of spreading fake news in the world of health care can potentially have more serious consequences than we can imagine and impact hundreds of thousands of people. Instead of visiting our good family doctor when we feel sick or simply scheduling an online medical consultation, we often take medical advice without verifying it. One of the latest examples was one simple fake information created by one person that connected the rise of autism with children to the use of MMR vaccines that changed the perspective on the issue on a global level.
The return of measles in Europe
This person was Andrew Wakefield, a now discredited British ex-physician, who has since lost his license and became persona non grata in medical circles. But the damage was done, and even the best doctors in Amsterdam had trouble explaining to their patients that this small piece of fake news was sufficient enough to reduce the rate of those taking MMR vaccines only in the UK from 92 percent from 1996 to 84 percent in 2002. In fact, The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported there was a “dramatic return” of measles to Europe, supported in part by patients refusing advice from their primary care physicians to get vaccinated, resulting in nearly 90,000 people receiving the disease in the first half of 2019.
But why does modern patient care insist on vaccinations?
Even though to some people it may seem harmless, measles are some of the most contagious diseases in the world. One of the things that makes it so pandemic is the ease with which it is passed on, as well as the cold-like symptoms, which is why doctor consultation is necessary. Measles are spread by coughing and sneezing, with symptoms usually beginning eight to 12 days after exposure, with fever and rash spreading throughout the body. This is why vaccination has proven to be the only efficient method of dealing with measles, recommended and practiced by modern family practices around the world. Even though the vaccines can not protect us 100% and all the time, they are still the most efficient solution against measles.
If in doubt, always contact your family doctor
This is why If you suspect that you or your child have measles or been exposed to someone who has it, the best thing you can do is find a general practitioner or visit the nearest walk-in clinic for a professional opinion. Medical professionals will then determine if you are immune to measles based on your vaccination record, age and lab evidence.
However, if you or a member of your family recognizes the symptoms mentioned above and if you’re not sure you’ve had your dose of protection, you should first try to find your vaccination records. If you’re not sure or have lost your written documentation of measles immunity, you should get the MMR vaccine. And if you’re experiencing measles symptoms – especially if you’ve recently traveled overseas – you should stay home and call your primary care doctor immediately.