State laws require written proof of immunization before starting school or childcare. Your doctor or local health department has complete information to get your children on the vaccination or make up schedule if they have missed it. For activities to help young children develop their brains see grandparentsteachtoo.org.
According to the Center for Disease Control, cdc.gov/vaccines, the United States vaccinates to protect our future. Vaccinations not only protect our children protect our grandchildren and their grandchildren. If we keep vaccinating now, parents in the future may be able to trust that diseases like polio and meningitis won't infect, cripple, or kill.
ANDEREGG, MACALADY, FOX, HETRICK, KATERS
The CDC site explains. It's like bailing out a boat with a slow leak. When we started bailing (vaccinating), the boat was filled with water. But we have been bailing fast and hard for many years, and now it is almost dry. We could say, "Good." We can stop vaccinating now and relax." But the leak hasn't stopped. Before long we'd notice a little water seeping in, and soon it might be back up to the same level as when we started.
Doctors at the CDC emphasize unless we can "stop the leak" (eliminate the disease), it is important to keep immunizing. Even if there are only a few cases of disease today, if we take away the protection given by vaccination, more and more people will be infected and will spread disease to others. Soon we will undo the progress we have made over the years. This happened in Japan in the 1970's with whooping cough.
The recommended immunization schedule on cdc.gov/vaccinations is designed to protect infants and children early in life when they are most vulnerable and before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. There is also a catch up schedule. See your doctor or local health department. It's not too late.
Anyone can get the flu, but the risk of getting flu is highest among children and older people. Symptoms come on suddenly. Flu can make young children, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, those with heart, lung or kidney disease, or a weakened immune system sicker than others. Flu vaccine is especially important for these people, and anyone in close contact with them. Again, it is not too late.
Flu can also lead to deadly pneumonia and make existing medical conditions worse. It can cause diarrhea and seizures in children. Each year thousands of people in the United States die from flu and many more are hospitalized. When children receive flu shots they not only protect themselves but others in the family from getting deadly strains of the flu.
The cdc.gov/flu vaccine site has information about people who should no get the flu shots.
Editor's note: This column is penned by retired Marquette Area Public Schools teachers Iris Katers, Jean Hetrick, and Cheryl Anderegg. Esther Macalady is from Golden, Colorado. Tim Fox currently teaches at Superior Hills Elementary. It's supported by Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship, the School of Education, U.P. Children's Museum, U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, and U.P. Parent Awareness of Michigan. Their book "Learning Through the Seasons" is available at area stores and www.grandparentsteachtoo.org. Their mission is to provide fun standards based activities that adults can do in the home to prepare children for school and a lifetime of learning and reduce the stress of child care.