This column appears in the Nevada Appeal’s Tuesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
It’s National Infant Immunization Week, and this year, Carson City Health and Human Services has an especially important message to get out about vaccinating young children. Currently, our community is experiencing an outbreak of pertussis, or whooping cough. This vaccine-preventable illness has been making a resurgence in recent years, and right now, children right here in Carson City are suffering from the intense coughing and runny nose that the illness brings. While whooping cough initially resembles a cold or allergies, the disease quickly can become more serious. Young children who have a severe cough should see their healthcare provider.
Ensuring your child receives their childhood immunizations is an important part of protecting your child’s health, as well as the health of others. This is often called “herd immunity” or “community immunity,” as we like to call it. Some children are unable to receive vaccines due to illnesses like cancer, or allergies to ingredients in the vaccine. Being immunized can help prevent your child from becoming ill and passing vaccine-preventable illnesses to those who may not be able to receive vaccinations.
While whooping cough is currently on the minds of health officials in our community, there are plenty of other illnesses, like measles, mumps, and rubella that can also be stopped by vaccines. Rates of these diseases have decreased due to successful vaccination programs, however, parents and healthcare providers must remain diligent. If vaccination rates decrease, it is likely that many of these vaccine-preventable diseases could return. The current whooping cough (pertussis) outbreak in our community underscores the need for continued participation in vaccine programs. See your healthcare provider to make sure your child is up-to-date on his or her vaccines.
In celebration of National Infant Immunization Week, Carson City Health and Human Services will be offering vaccines during our regular Thursday immunization clinic. It’s a good time to get children caught up on all vaccinations, including teens preparing for college. In order to participate, parents need to bring your child’s immunization card with you to our clinic (adult immunizations will still be offered that day at our normal affordable rates.) We accept Medicaid and most private insurance plans. For those without insurance, the Vaccines for Children Program makes vaccine available and we charge only a small administration fee.
For information about Health Department services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cchhs.