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Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department (SNCHD), located at 301 E.12th, encourages parents to make sure their children are up-to-date on immunizations. All students entering kindergarten are required to have two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine, and two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine; and all students entering seventh grade are required to have one dose of Tetanus and Diphtheria toxoids and acellular Pertussis vaccine (TDAP) vaccine, one dose of meningococcal vaccine, and two doses of varicella vaccine, unless child has history of varicella disease (chickenpox), or documentation of varicella immunity.
National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is observed during the month of August.NIAM provides an opportunity to highlight the value of immunization across the lifespan. We want to encourage all people to protect their health by being immunized against infectious diseases.
On Wed., August 13, we will focus on children going “back to school”. SNCHD will have an immunization fun day event. Each child receiving immunizations will receive a balloon, free 16 oz. travel cup and have a chance to win a McDonald’s gift card or Dairy Queen Blizzard. You do not have to be present to win. Representatives from Molina Healthcare (Medicaid & CHIP) will have a table set up from 8:30-11:30 a.m., so if you have children uninsured, you can inquire about their services. Buzzi the Bee, the immunization mascot, will be available to see the children from 2 until 4 p.m. Please bring your child’s immunization record with you.
The third Wed., August 20, we will focus on a healthy start. All infants vaccinated will receive some wipes and pregnant women vaccinated will receive a tote bag. The fourth Wed., August 27, we will focus on adults. All adults vaccinated will receive a tote bag.
SNCHD has Immunization Clinic every Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and 1p.m. until 4:30, and the second Wednesday of each month until 6 p.m. Children with private health insurance need to be vaccinated by their physician unless their insurance does not pay for vaccines; we encourage parents to call their insurance provider to find out if they cover cost of vaccines. If not the child can be vaccinated at the health department. There is a $10 administration fee per a person. Children’s Medicaid, and CHIPS are accepted. Adults with private insurance must go to their physician. Please call the Health Department at 235-5463 or your local doctor if you have questions about immunizations.
Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus. The disease of measles and the virus that causes it share the same name. The disease is also called rubeola. Measles virus normally grows in the cells that line the back of the throat and lungs. Measles spreads through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing.
The symptoms of measles generally begin about 7-14 days after a person is infected, and include: blotchy rash, fever, cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis), feeling run down, achy (malaise), tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots).
Three to five days after the start of symptoms, a red or reddish-brown rash appears. The rash usually begins on a person’s face at the hairline and spreads downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. After a few days, the fever subsides and the rash fades.
Measles is highly contagious and can be spread to others from four days before to four days after the rash appears. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected with the measles virus.
The virus lives in the mucus in the nose and throat of the infected person. When that person sneezes or coughs, droplets spray into the air. The droplets can get into other people’s noses or throats when they breathe or put their fingers in their mouth or nose after touching an infected surface. The virus can live on infected surfaces for up to 2 hours and spreads so easily that people who are not immune will probably get it when they come close to someone who is infected. Measles is a disease of humans; measles virus is not spread by any other animal species.
About 30% of measles cases develop one or more complications, including: pneumonia, which is the complication that is most often the cause of death in young children., ear infections occur in about 1 in 10 measles cases and permanent loss of hearing can result, and diarrhea is reported in about 8% of cases. These complications are more common among children under 5 years of age and adults over 20 years old.
Even in previously healthy children, measles can be a serious illness requiring hospitalization. As many as 1 out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, and about 1 child in every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis. (This is an inflammation of the brain that can lead to convulsions, and can leave the child deaf or mentally retarded.) For every 1,000 children who get measles, 1 or 2 will die from it. Measles also can make a pregnant woman have a miscarriage, give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight baby.
Measles can be prevented with measles-containing vaccine, which is primarily administered as the combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. The combination measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccine can be used for children aged 12 months through 12 years for protection against measles, mumps, rubella and varicella. Single-antigen measles vaccine is not available.
CDC recommends routine childhood immunization for MMR vaccine starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age or at least 28 days following the first dose.
Students at post-high school educational institutions without evidence of measles immunity need two doses of MMR vaccine, with the second dose administered no earlier than 28 days after the first dose.
People who are born during or after 1957 who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine.
People 6 months of age or older who will be traveling internationally should be protected against measles. Before travelling internationally: infants 6 through 11 months of age should receive one dose of MMR vaccine, children 12 months of age or older should have documentation of two doses of MMR vaccine (the first dose of MMR vaccine should be administered at age 12 months or older; the second dose no earlier than 28 days after the first dose. Adults born during or after 1957 without evidence of immunity against measles should have documentation of two doses of MMR vaccine, with the second dose administered no earlier than 28 days after the first dose
There are still sporadic cases of measles in the United States because visitors from other countries or US citizens traveling abroad can become infected before or during travel and spread the infection to unvaccinated or unprotected persons.
For more information call the Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department or go to http://www.cdc.gov and search for measles.
What Is Pertussis or Whooping Cough?
Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious disease marked by severe coughing. It is named after the "whoop" sound children and adults sometimes make when they try to breathe in during or after a severe coughing spell.
What are the Symptoms?
Whooping cough usually starts with cold- or flu-like symptoms, such as runny nose, sneezing, fever, and a mild cough. These symptoms can last up to 2 weeks and are followed by increasingly severe coughing spells. Fever, if present, is usually mild.
During a classic coughing spell:
signature "whoop" is heard as the patient struggles to breathe
coughs usually produce a thick, productive mucus
vomiting may occur
lips and nails may turn blue due to lack of oxygen
patient is left exhausted after the coughing spell
Mild pertussis disease is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms mimic those of a cold. Usually a prolonged cough is present, but without the "whoop."
Milder symptoms usually affect all age groups, but are increasing among school children.
The coughing attacks may last for many months in the "classic illness" or just a few days in the mild form of the disease.
Symptoms appear between 6 to 21 days (average 7-10) after exposure to the bacteria.
What are Some Potential Complications?
Young infants are at highest risk for pertussis-related complications, including seizures, encephalopathy (swelling of the brain), otitis media (severe ear infection), anorexia (severe restriction of food intake) and dehydration.
In adolescents and adults, whooping cough can cause severe coughing that can make it hard to breathe, eat, or sleep, and can result in cracked ribs, pneumonia, or hospitalization.
How is it Spread?
Whooping cough is caused by a bacteria that is found in the mouth, nose and throat of an infected person, and is spread through close contact when an infected person talks, sneezes, or coughs.
It is most contagious during the first 2 to 3 weeks of infection, often before the beginning of severe coughing spells.
Vaccine protection against whooping cough does not last forever. The vaccination most people received as children wears off, typically by adolescence. Therefore, adolescents and adults are at risk for whooping cough and can spread the infection to infants and young children in the household.
Who Gets It?
Whooping cough (pertussis) can occur at any age, but infants and young children are at highest risk of life-threatening consequences.
Recent outbreaks have shown that adolescents and adults carry the disease, which in its milder form is hard to recognize. Undiagnosed mild disease contributes to the spread of the illness among infants and young children.
Persons with mild whooping cough can transmit the illness to un-immunized and partially immunized infants and young children who are more susceptible to severe illness and complications, such as pneumonia, encephalitis, and seizures.
Anyone - particularly infants and young children - who is un-immunized is at a higher risk for severe whooping cough.
How Do You Treat It?
Whooping cough is treated with antibiotics and patients are advised to take all prescribed medication and avoid contact with anyone, particularly small infants and children.
Ask your health care provider for treatment options if you think you or your child may have whooping cough.
How Do You Prevent It?
While there is no lifelong protection against whooping cough, immunization is the best preventive measure. There is a vaccine to help protect you and your child against whooping cough.
The Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department administers the Tdap vaccine to the uninsured, which protect a person from the whooping cough on Wednesdays from 8-11:30 & 1-4:30, second Wednesday of each month until 6 p.m. Click on Immunization tab for more information on immunizations.
Consult your health care provider to be sure you and your family have been vaccinated.
Please refer to the Center for Disease Control website at cdc.gov or pertussis.com for more information.
The Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability or age.