Tag Archives: vaccines

There Are Ways to Make Your Child’s Shots Less Stressful

LaDonna White, RN, MSN
Nurse Consultant
Immunization Division

Vaccines help protect babies and young children against 14 serious diseases before their 2nd birthday. Even though you are keeping her safe from diseases, it’s hard to see your child cry when she gets her shots. But you can take some steps before, during and after a vaccine visit to ease the short-term pain and stress of getting shots.

That’s where parents come in: What you say and do before, during and after their immunization appointment can help calm a child, allay their fears and make the immunization visit less stressful on you both.

Read about the shots your child will get in advance. “CDC has a lot of useful information to help parents understand the importance of on-time vaccination,” said Dr. Candice Robinson, a pediatrician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “You can review this information before your appointment, and then, you can ask your child’s doctor any remaining questions you have about vaccines.” The more informed you are about vaccinations, the better you may feel.

You may also want to bring your child’s vaccine record to show the doctor, and pack a favorite toy, book, blanket or other comfort item to keep your child occupied at the visit. For older children, shots can pinch or sting, but not for long. Remind them that shots help keep them healthy.

The CDC suggests trying the following tips during the vaccine visit to support your child before, during and after shots:

For babies and younger children

  • Distract and comfort your child by cuddling, singing or talking softly.
  • Smile and make eye contact with your child. Let your child know that everything is OK.
  • Comfort your child with a favorite toy or book. A blanket that smells familiar will help your child feel more comfortable.
  • Hold your child firmly on your lap, whenever possible.

For older children and adolescents

  • Take deep breaths with your child to help “blow out” the pain.
  • Point out interesting things in the room to help create distractions.
  • Tell or read stories. Remember to pack their favorite book!
  • Support your child if he or she cries. Never scold a child for not “being brave.”

For more information about how to make the immunization visit less stressful, go to cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/visit   

National Immunization Awareness Month

By Teresa Foo, MD, MPH
Medical Consultant
Divisions of Immunization and Acute Disease Epidemiology

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). Immunizations represent one of the greatest public health accomplishments of the 20th century. The purpose of NIAM is to celebrate the benefits of vaccination and highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages.

Vaccines prevent diseases and keep us healthy.

The need for vaccination does not end in childhood.  Vaccines are actually recommended throughout our lives. Did you know that every year, tens of thousands of adults in the United States suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, or even die from diseases that could have been prevented by vaccination?

Here are four important things to remember not only during National Immunization Awareness Month, but throughout the year.

  • Vaccines protect against serious diseases. Immunizations not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases.
  • These diseases still exist and outbreaks do occur. Vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles still circulate in the United States and around the world, so continued vaccination is necessary to protect everyone from potential outbreaks. It’s easy for a disease to spread when it reaches communities where groups of people are unvaccinated.
  • Vaccines are recommended for people of all ages. Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives based on age, lifestyle, occupation, travel locations, medical conditions and previous vaccination history.
  • Babies receive vaccinations that help protect them from 14 diseases by age 2. It is very important that babies receive all doses of each vaccine, as well as receive each vaccination on time. After age 2, children are still recommended to receive a yearly flu vaccine. Children will also be due for additional doses of some vaccines between 4 and 6 years of age. Following the recommended immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health.
  • Vaccines are also needed for children as they grow to be preteens, teens and young adults. Childcare facilities, preschool programs, schools and colleges are prone to outbreaks of infectious diseases. When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for disease and can spread disease to others in their play groups, childcare centers, classrooms and communities – including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions.
  • Preteens and teens need four vaccines to protect against serious diseases:
    • quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningitis and blood infections (septicemia);
    • HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV;
    • Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (pertussis); and
    • a yearly flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu.
  • Adults need vaccines too. Even healthy adults can become seriously ill, and can pass certain illnesses on to others. Certain vaccines are recommended based on a person’s age, occupation or health conditions.
    • All adults, including pregnant women, should get the influenza (flu) vaccine each year. Every adult should have one dose of Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis or whooping cough) if they did not get Tdap as a teen, and then get the Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster vaccine every 10 years. In addition, pregnant women are recommended to get the Tdap vaccine each time they are pregnant, preferably at 27-36 weeks.
  • Vaccines are very safe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Data shows that the current U.S. vaccine supply is the safest in history.” Get more information on vaccine safety at gov/vaccinesafety. The United States has a long-standing vaccine safety program that closely monitors the safety of vaccines. Scientists conduct various studies to ensure vaccine safety.

Remember, immunization isn’t just for children, it’s for all of us. Talk to your doctor or other health care provider about what vaccines you or your child need.

For more information about vaccines visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/ or www.scdhec.gov/health/vaccinations.

 

You Can Help #EndRabies

By Travis Shealy, DHEC Rabies Prevention Program Manager

World Rabies Day is September 28th and is a global health observance that seeks to raise awareness about rabies and enhance prevention and control efforts. Rabies is a deadly virus that kills pets, wildlife and people across the globe. Rabies education and vaccinations are the key to #EndRabies.

What is Rabies?

The South Carolina Rabies Application provides the summary statistics of rabies cases by county, species and year.

The SC Rabies Application provides statistics of rabies cases by county, species and year. 

Rabies (Lyssavirus) attacks nerves in the spinal cord and brain and can be passed to a healthy person or animal via exposure to saliva or neural tissue from a rabid animal. In South Carolina, rabies is most often found in raccoons, foxes, skunks and bats, but pets contract the virus as well.

As of September 15, there have been 96 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina this year. There were 139 cases in 2014.  You can view rabies statistics across the state here

Rabies Prevention

Join us in the fight to #EndRabies by keeping your pets up-to-date with their rabies vaccinations – which protects not only your pet, but also you and your family from the virus.  Check out DHEC’s World Rabies Day 2015 album on Facebook or Flickr

DHEC invited South Carolinians to send in photos of their vaccinated pets and livestock to help raise awareness about rabies prevention for World Rabies Day. #EndRabies www.scdhec.gov/rabies

DHEC invited South Carolinians to send in photos of their vaccinated pets and livestock to help raise awareness about rabies prevention for World Rabies Day. #EndRabies http://www.scdhec.gov/rabies

Avoiding wild animals, particularly ones that appear to be injured, tame or behaving abnormally, and teaching your children to do the same is a great way to protect your family from rabies. If you see a wild animal that seems sick, contact your local animal control office, veterinarian, or wildlife rescue/rehabilitation group for help. Do not handle wildlife or strays and keep them away from your family pets. You can learn more about rabies symptoms here.

rabies_pets_notpets

Rabid bats have been known to transmit the virus to humans and pets. People – especially children – sometimes don’t realize they’ve been bitten and it is very easy to overlook a bat bite because bat teeth are so tiny. If you find a bat in a room, a tent or a cabin where someone has been sleeping, with elderly or incapacitated persons, or where unattended children have been playing, always assume the bat could have bitten the person. Bats that have the potential to have been in contact with people, their pets or livestock should be safely trapped in a sealed container and not touched. Call your local office to report the incident.

Reporting Possible Rabies Exposure

If you’re bitten or scratched by a wild, stray or unvaccinated animal care for the wound properly and contact your health care provider immediately. The health care provider is required by the Rabies Control Act to report the incident to DHEC.

If you or your child is bitten, scratched or otherwise exposed and you do not seek medical treatment for the wound, you are required by the Rabies Control Act to report the bite to DHEC by the end of the following business day. Please visit our map for contact information for the Environmental Quality Control office in your area.

For more information on rabies, visit www.scdhec.gov/rabies.

World Rabies Day is co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and the Alliance for Rabies Control (ARC).

National Immunization Awareness Month

By Betsy Crick

bts-vaccines-iStock_000027367250_Full

August means back to school, and it’s also National Immunization Awareness Month. While you’re buying school supplies and planning to meet your child’s teacher for the very first time – don’t forget the most important item on your list: making sure your son’s or daughter’s vaccinations are up to date.

Important Updates:

  • Children in 5-year-old kindergarten and first grade are required to have two doses of chicken pox vaccine.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two doses for better protection against the disease.
  • South Carolina 7th, 8th and 9th graders are required to have one dose of tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis booster vaccine.  This booster vaccine is called Tdap.  In addition, there are other vaccines recommended for adolescents, including vaccines to protect them against meningitis and HPV-associated cancers.  Talk to your health care provider about these adolescent vaccines.
  • Flu season is just around the corner!  CDC recommends that everyone who is 6 months of age and older and can receive the flu vaccine should get the vaccine as soon as it is available.  Stay tuned for more information about school-located vaccine clinics which will be offered this fall.

Click here for the 2015-2016 “Required Standards of Immunization for School Attendance” and the “Required Standards of Immunization for Day Care Attendance.”

Many illness outbreaks in schools and child care facilities are due to vaccine-preventable diseases such as flu and pertussis. Getting all required vaccines is important and is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of disease.

Talk with your child’s health care professional to find out which vaccines your child may need. To locate the DHEC Clinic nearest to you, please visit our website.

Healthy Habits:
There are some other actions you can take to help protect yourself, your family and those around you from getting sick, including:

  • Frequent handwashing. Wash your hands with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough with a tissue or the crook of your elbow – not your hands. Be sure to cover your mouth and nose. If using a tissue, throw it in the trash immediately and wash your hands.
  • Stay away from others who are obviously sick. The best way to avoid them is by keeping a safe distance.
  • Stay home from work, school and errands when you’re sick. You don’t want to make others around you sick.
  • Live healthy. Keep yourself strong by eating properly, exercising, and getting plenty of rest.