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

Rotavirus disease can be serious for babies and young children

As if we don’t have enough to worry about with cold and flu viruses, we also have something called rotavirus disease to consider. It is easily spread among babies and young children, especially now, and it can be quite serious and even result in hospitalization. Western states, including Idaho, are seeing more cases of rotavirus disease right now, so it’s a good time to learn the symptoms and what can be done about it.

What are the symptoms?

It generally takes about two days for symptoms to develop. They include watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. The vomiting and diarrhea can last from three to eight days. Other symptoms can include a loss of appetite and dehydration. And even though now is a common time to become infected, it can be spread at any time of the year. Continue reading

Time to check immunization records as kids head back to school

This month is National Immunization Awareness Month. As summer is winding down and kids are getting ready to go back to school, be sure to check immunization requirements, especially for kindergartners and seventh graders. It’s also a good time to check records for everyone in your family. Getting immunized is a safe and important step to protecting our families and ourselves against serious and even deadly diseases throughout our lives.

What vaccines do we need, and when?

Check with your doctor, or visit www.immunizeidaho.com for immunization schedules for all age groups, including adults. Remember that immunizations not only protect the people who receive the vaccines, they also help protect those not able to be vaccinated because they have weakened immune systems, as well as those who are most vulnerable for serious complications, such as infants and young children, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions.  Continue reading

There are many things adults want to give to loved ones – illness is not one of them

You want to pass on certain things like family traditions, a grandmother’s quilt or dad’s love of books – but no one wants to pass on a serious illness. Take charge of your health and help protect those around you by asking about vaccines at your next doctor’s visit.

Vaccinating our children is fairly commonplace in the United States. But many adults don’t know which vaccines they need, and even fewer are fully vaccinated. Each year, tens of thousands of adults needlessly suffer, are hospitalized, and even die as a result of diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. In 2014, only 28 percent of adults ages 60 and older had received a shingles vaccine and only 20 percent of adults older than 19 had received a Tdap vaccine.

Vaccine-preventable diseases make you very sick, and they can also make your family members sick. You can help protect your health and the health of your loved ones by getting your recommended vaccines so you don’t spread the infection to them. Babies, older adults and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious diseases. They are also more likely to have severe illness and complications if they do get sick.

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Make sure your family is protected against tetanus

Summer fun often includes lots of time outside, and more than likely some of that time is spent barefoot. When shoes are optional, cuts and scrapes happen more often. Bacteria in the soil can work their way into your body through those cuts and scrapes and make you sick with tetanus.

What is tetanus?

Tetanus is a bacterial infection that affects your nervous system. The bacteria invade the body and produce a toxin that causes your muscles to tighten and cramp painfully. Infection mainly affects the neck, chest, and stomach. Complete recovery can take months, and if it’s not treated it can be deadly. The last reported case in Idaho was in 2013. Continue reading

Are your children current on their immunizations?

ImmunizeGirl

(Note: A Closer Look At Your Health airs at 6:50 a.m. most Tuesdays on KBOI News Radio 670. This is an edited transcript of the segment from April 19.)

This week is a good time to ponder that question because it’s National Infant Immunization Week, and World Immunization Week is next week. It’s a good time to talk about making sure you and your family are fully protected against infectious 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. Continue reading

Idaho leads the nation for number of immunization exemptions for kindergartners

New vaccination exemption data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows Idaho led the nation for school immunization exemption rates during the 2014-2015 school year. The recently published data show 6.5% of Idaho kindergarten students had an exemption on file for at least one vaccine when they registered for school.

Idaho allows immunization exemptions for religious, medical, or philosophical reasons. Of the 6.5% of Idaho’s kindergarteners with an exemption on file, 5.6% were for philosophical reasons, while 0.3% were medical and 0.6% were religious exemptions.

The high exemption rate is concerning for public health and school officials, along with parents of children attending schools.  “Having a high percentage of students who are not fully protected from preventable diseases is concerning, especially for other children who cannot receive vaccine protection because of medical conditions,” says Dr. Christine Hahn M.D., Idaho Public Health Medical Director.  “Many parents sign an exemption for convenience; it may be the path of least resistance when registering a child for school who is behind on their vaccine schedule. However, that path can lead to serious illness to their children or classmates. We believe Idaho can do better.”

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