Idaho is seeing an increase in whooping cough cases. Are you immunized?

We are starting to see an increase in the number of whooping cough (also called pertussis) cases in Idaho, specifically in the southwest part of the state. So now is a good time to remind everyone to get immunized, especially if you will be meeting a newborn member of your family during your holiday gatherings.

I thought pertussis was dangerous for babies, but not so much for adults?

Adults get pertussis too! While many adults can shake it off, in some cases the cough can last for weeks or months, and it can land you in the hospital with pneumonia or other complications. Plus, babies can’t start getting vaccinated until they’re two months old, and they don’t have high levels of protection until they are 6 months old. If adults are vaccinated, there is less of a risk of passing the highly contagious disease to an infant.

Why is pertussis so dangerous for babies?

Babies are most at risk for getting very sick or dying. About half of infants younger than a year old who get the disease need to be hospitalized. About 1 in 4 infants hospitalized with pertussis get pneumonia, and about two-thirds will have slowed or stopped breathing. In a small number of cases, the disease can even be deadly. Infants are most often infected by family members or members of the same household. In fact, a person with pertussis will infect almost everyone in their household who isn’t immunized. Continue reading

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month – Regular screening is key!

 

CervicalAwareness_EarlyDetectionAll women, especially those over the age of 30, are at risk for developing cervical cancer, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it’s also the easiest gynecologic cancer to prevent, with regular screening. Getting screened regularly for cervical cancer is important because that is the most effective way to find the disease early. It is highly treatable when it is found early enough. Unfortunately, Idaho has the lowest rate for cervical screening in the United States. Continue reading

Stay safe and healthy when you cool off in the water this summer

SwimSafetyRossPark

It’s finally warming up outside, and as school ends and summer begins, you may be thinking about taking the kids to the pool, water park, lake or beach. Before you go, here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe from drowning – and from possibly getting sick.

Let’s start with drowning. What the most important thing to do to help keep people and children safe?

Ten people drown in the U.S. every day, and many are children. From 2011 through 2015, drowning was the second-leading cause of injury death for Idaho kids aged 1 to 9, exceeded only by motor vehicle accident fatalities. The most important thing to do is to simply pay attention. Continue reading

Are your children current on their immunizations?

This week is National Infant Immunization Week and it’s also World Immunization Week, so it’s a good time to talk about the importance of protecting infants in Idaho and around the world from vaccine-preventable diseases.

This week, the focus is on infants. Why infants specifically instead of all children?

While it’s important that all children have received the recommended vaccinations, giving babies the recommended immunizations by the time they are 2 is the best way to protect them from 14 serious childhood diseases, including whooping cough and measles. Parents are encouraged to talk to their child’s doctor to make sure their babies’ immunizations are up-to-date.

Some parents may not trust that vaccines are safe, so they may not immunize their children. What would you say to those parents?  

We know that parents want to do what’s best for their children, and if they have concerns about the safety or necessity of a particular vaccine, they should talk to their children’s doctors about that. Generally, vaccines are very safe, and they are monitored continuously to make sure they stay that way.  Continue reading

Here’s how to protect your children from lead poisoning

It’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, so it’s a good time to learn about it and consider having your children tested for lead exposure, especially if you live in a home that was built before 1978. Although lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among children, there are still about half a million kids in the U.S. with elevated levels of lead in their blood.

How does lead get into your child’s body?

The most common way a child is exposed to lead is from dust from deteriorating lead-based paint in older homes and apartments. This is by far the most dangerous lead exposure for most children. Lead-based paint was used in more than 38 million homes until it was banned for residential use in 1978. More than half of the homes in Idaho were built before 1978 and could have lead-based paint in them. Lead also can be found in soil near mining or smelting sites, tap water in homes with older plumbing, car batteries, bullets, and even some folk medicines such as azarcon or greta. Grown-up hobbies that use lead such as reloading and making bullets, or making stained glass and pottery can also increase a child’s exposure to lead. Continue reading

‘It’s About Me!’ highlights children in the developmental disabilities program

 

hallie-art

A love of all animals, Star Wars, Boise State University, being an artist, a winking rainbow, doing gymnastics, reading “millions of books,” dancing — these are the things children in the Developmental Disabilities Program think of when they  describe themselves and their interests.

This is the first year for the Idaho Children’s art contest highlighting children who receive developmental disability services throughout the state.

“We want to highlight the children in our program, because they are the reason we come to work each day,” said Sarah Allen, a supervisor in the Children’s Developmental Disabilities Program in the Department of Health and Welfare. “This contest showcased the kids in our program — their interests, strengths, talents, and future aspirations. It was really fun learning more about the kids we serve.”  Continue reading