Tag Archives: immunization

A Healthy Start Begins With On-Time Vaccinations

National Immunization Awareness Month is a reminder children need vaccines right from the start.

Immunization gives parents the safe, proven power to protect their children from 14 serious and potentially deadly diseases before age 2.

To celebrate the importance of immunizations for a healthy start and throughout our lives – and to make sure children are protected with all the vaccines they need – Door County Medical Center is joining with partners nationwide in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month. The first week of the month will focus on babies and young children and emphasize a healthy start for little ones begins with on- time vaccinations.

“Children who don’t receive recommended vaccines are at risk of getting the disease or illness and of having a severe case,” said Dr. John Arnold, who provides pediatric care at The Children’s Center of Door County Medical Center (DCMC). “Every dose of every vaccine is important to protect your child and others in the community from infectious diseases. I always ask parents if they have questions and I am happy to discuss the proven benefits of childhood vaccination.”

Today’s childhood vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, including polio, measles, whooping cough and chickenpox. There are many important reasons to make sure your child is vaccinated:

  • Immunizations can protect your child from 14 serious diseases before they turn 2 years old.
    Vaccination is very safe and effective.
  • Immunizations can protect others you care about.
  • Immunization can save your family time and money.

Immunization protects future generations by reducing the prevalence of serious diseases. When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk and can spread diseases to others in their family and community. Those at risk include babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions.

Parents can find out more about the recommended immunization schedule at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents or contact the Children’s Center of Door County Medical Center, 920-743-5566.

Ask the Expert: Back to School Health Tips

by Dr. Amy Fogarty, Pediatrician, Door County Medical Center

For families with school-aged children, August brings a flurry of preparations for the new school year. In addition to school shopping and registration, keep in mind these back-to-school health tips:

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  • Immunize. August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and because of back to school and sports physicals, it’s a good time to be sure kids are up-to-date with their immunizations. In addition to the roster of childhood immunizations, there are several important vaccines for teens including those that protect against meningitis, Hepatitis A and human papillomavirus (HPV). “The HPV vaccine is important for both boys and girls,” says Dr. Fogarty. “Not only does it protect against cervical cancer, but it is also effective against most cases of head, neck and throat cancer.”
  • Timing is everything. Mid-August is a good time to start transitioning back to school year schedules, since it often takes a few weeks to get back into the swing of appropriate bedtimes and wake times. “When considering wake times, be sure to account for adequate breakfast time, as well as enough time to prepare school lunches,” says Dr. Fogarty. To keep kids’ appetites on track, serve meals at times when they will be served during the school year. Kids who are hungry don’t do as well in school as those who eat regular meals and snacks.
  • Stress less. The beginning of the school year can be a stressful time for kids. Talk to your child daily about their activities at school, teachers and friends, and homework and expectations. “As a provider with a strong interest in mental health, I tell parents if they notice changes in a child’s sleep or eating habits, reactions that are out of proportion to events or a excessive crying or complaining about school, it may be time to seek medical attention.” Touch base with your child’s teacher three to four weeks into the school year. This is enough time for teachers to get to know your child, and allows parents to address concerns early.

August is National Immunization Month: Dr. Amy Fogarty Weighs In

It’s back-to-school time, and that means regular well-child visits for kids, including updating immunizations. Amy Fogarty, a pediatrician at Ministry’s Children’s Center discusses why immunization is so important to children’s health.

Why is it important to immunize children?

The basic premise of immunizing is that it sets up a person’s immune system to be able to fight disease. There are certain illnesses out there that are really serious, but that are preventable: pertussis (whooping cough), measles, and meningitis for example. Some of these diseases don’t have any cure, so prevention is key. Immunizing against these illnesses is an extremely low-risk procedure that yields really effective results.

Public Health used to perform immunizations for all kids. Do children need to see a provider at a clinic to receive immunizations?

Children with a primary care provider at Ministry Door County Medical Center, regardless of insurance coverage, can receive immunizations at our office. Families who take part in BadgerCare or are uninsured are eligible to receive immunizations at the Department of Public Health. Both our clinic and the Department of Public Health require an appointment.

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Young children need a series of immunizations to prevent disease. What about older kids?

Middle and high school kids are required to have the Tdap vaccine that prevents diseases including pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus. Door County has actually seen some outbreaks of pertussis in the last few years, so it’s just as important as ever to be immunized. But there are also some highly effective vaccines that we recommend at this age, including HPV and meningococcal vaccine.

Public Health will be providing some school-based immunization clinics at some middle/high schools, but we urge parents to check with their providers and make sure their children’s immunizations are up to date.

Some parents have reservations about immunization. What should they do?

The best thing parents can do is to have a conversation with their child’s provider. There is so much information out there, and not all of it is reliable. Most concerns that parents have are not borne out in the research, and I reassure parents on a daily basis that vaccines are enormously safe. For example, some people are concerned about the ingredient thimerosal, which has actually been completely phased out of pediatric vaccines in the last 10 years. There’s a stringent testing and approval process and extremely high standards for vaccines, and any risk is far outweighed by the benefits. The bottom line is, we don’t want to leave any child susceptible to a disease that’s preventable.

To make an appointment with a pediatrician at Ministry North Shore Medical Clinic’s Children’s Center, call 920.746.3666.