Craig health briefs for Sept. 13, 2014: Time to check your child’s vaccine record
Several adolescent vaccines are given in a series, which if not finished leaves your child incompletely protected. Protection provided by some childhood vaccines, such as pertussis (whooping cough), begins to wear off by adolescence. Three vaccines are recommended at age 11 to 12. If your teen missed these shots, Visiting Nurse Association officials advise they should “catch up.” The shots can be given at any medical office visit, camp or sports physical:
• Tdap vaccine is a booster against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Pertussis, or whooping cough, can keep kids out of school and activities for weeks. It can also be spread to babies, which can be very dangerous. In Colorado, the Tdap vaccine is required for entry into sixth grade.
• Meningococcal vaccine protects against meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is caused by bacteria and is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis (a serious infection around the brain and spinal cord) and its complications. A booster dose is recommended at age 16.
• HPV vaccine protects girls and women against the types of HPV that most commonly cause cervical cancer. HPV vaccine can also protect boys against genital warts and other cancers. Immunization against HPV is a series of three shots throughout six months.
Every year, children and adolescents should receive an influenza (flu) vaccine too, because even healthy kids get the flu, which can be serious.
For families with health insurance, all or most of the cost of vaccines is covered. For families without insurance, children 18 and younger are eligible to get vaccines at low or no cost through the Vaccines For Children program. You can find out more about the VFC program or about these vaccines by contacting your health care provider, the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association at 970-824-8233 or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/teens or 1-800-CDC-INFO.
Medical foot care clinics for older adults
The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association provides medical foot care clinics for older adults from 8:30 a.m. to noon every Wednesday at The Journey at First Baptist, 1150 W. Ninth St. Clinics also take place from 9 to 11 a.m. the first three Thursdays of each month at Sunset Meadows I, 633 Ledford St. Clinics include consultation, foot inspections and toenail trim. The cost is $20. Call 970-875-1884 to make an appointment.
Colorado teen marijuana use continues to decrease post legalization
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released new data last month showing that teen marijuana use has continued to decrease after legalization.
The data shows that the rate of marijuana use among Colorado high school students decreased from 22 to 20 percent between 2011 and 2013. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that national teen marijuana usage remained virtually unchanged within the same time period. The CDPHE survey also shows that lifetime use by high school students has declined from 39 to 37 percent during the same two years.