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Get Healthy Carson City: A healthy start begins with timely vaccinations



This column appears on the health pages of the Nevada Appeals on Tuesday. It covers topics that relate to the health of our community.

The national infant immunization week recalls that children need vaccinations from the beginning.

You are aware of the importance of car seats, child gates, bicycle helmets, and other ways to keep your child safe. But did you know that one of the best ways to protect yourself is to ensure that they are vaccinated on time each time? Each dose of each vaccine is essential to prevent 14 serious and potentially fatal diseases before the age of 2 years.

One of the diseases we hear about again and again is measles. As early as 201

8, 15 states have reported over 40 cases of this disease. The good news is that we have a solution: vaccines. However, we need to expand access to keep more children safe in the US and around the world. With cases of measles recently identified in Nevada and California, you may hear a lot about social media and the news about the disease. What do you need to know about measles?

Measles can be serious. Some people consider measles to be a rash and a fever that stops in a few days. Unfortunately, measles can cause serious health complications and death, especially in children under 5 years of age. There is no way to know in advance the severity of your child's symptoms.

Measles are very contagious. Measles spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is so contagious that if a person has it, 9 out of 10 people around him will also be infected if they are not protected. Measles can be transmitted to others before symptoms appear – from four days before the development of the measles rash to four days later.

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You can still get measles in the United States. Measles are one of the most common causes of death for children worldwide. On average, 246 children die every day. It is also a highly contagious disease that does not stop at borders. Although the US eliminated measles in 2000, they continue to be brought to the US (the Nevada and California cases were from a non-vaccinated traveler), protecting children and anyone else who is not in danger. That's why we absolutely must support measles control everywhere.

The best protection is the MMR vaccine. You have the power to protect your child against measles with a safe and effective vaccine. Two doses of MMR vaccine (age 12 months and age 4 years) are required for child care and schooling. Your child's health care provider can offer the MMRV vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chickenpox). If you have no insurance, or if your insurance does not cover your child's vaccines, the Vaccination Program for Children (VFC) can help. This program helps families of eligible children who otherwise would not have access to vaccines. To find out if your child is eligible, visit the VFC Web site at http://www.vfcnevada.org or ask your health care provider

Today's childhood vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses, including polio, whooping cough and chickenpox. Thanks to global efforts such as the Measles and Rubella Initiative, measles deaths have fallen by 84 percent since 2000. Now we have to finish the job and protect every child from all vaccine-preventable diseases. To celebrate public health successes of vaccines and the importance of vaccinations throughout our lives, Immunize Nevada is teaming with partners nationwide to recognize April 21-28 as the National Nutritional Immunization Week (NIIW). Every child should have a healthy life in Nevada, the US and worldwide.

If you have questions about measles or other vaccine-preventable diseases, visit us at immunizenevada.org or follow us on social media. For information on services and infant, pediatric and adult vaccines provided by Carson City Health and Human Services, visit http://www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or http://www.facebook.com/cchhs or call us at Number 775-887-2190. You can also find Carson City Health and Human Services at 900 E. Long Street in Carson City.

Heidi Parker is the CEO of Immunize Nevada.


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