Health & Medicine

Drs. Oz and Roizen: Measles vaccine provides extra benefits

In the home of the (not-so-distant) future, when you hook up your Tesla Powerwall stationary battery (for around $3,500) to the solar panel on your roof, you might get more than you bargained for. Not only will you save money on your electric bill for heating and air conditioning (and hopefully on the cost of recharging your electric-powered vehicle), you’ll also get the added bonus of reducing your carbon footprint, which means a healthier environment for everyone.

Similarly, a new 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 (1963), long-term immune system damage caused by the measles was associated with 50 percent of all childhood deaths from other infections.

As more and more states contemplate mandatory vaccination (because of recent measles outbreaks), 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.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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