The Ottumwa Courier

Letters to the Editor

February 23, 2013

We cannot let our guard down against preventable diseases

OTTUMWA — In the United States, immunizations have saved millions of lives by reducing or eliminating many infectious diseases that once routinely killed or harmed many infants, children and adults. Immunizations prevent more than a dozen potentially deadly diseases in children by the time they are age 2. The viruses and bacteria that cause diseases and death still exist and can be passed to those who are not protected by vaccines. Some preventable diseases are still quite prevalent in other parts of the world. Travelers can unknowingly bring the diseases into the United States, and if our loved ones are not protected by immunizations, these diseases could quickly spread throughout our population in epidemic proportions. It is always better to prevent a disease than to treat it.

If your child does not have a physician or a medical home, please contact American Homes Finding’s Child Health program at 641-682-8784. Our Child Health Program can assist parents in finding a medical home for their children. Having a medical home for your children is very important and may lead to less emergency room visits. A medical home is having a “home base” for your child’s health care needs. The place where you usually take your child for health care can be your child’s medical home.

But a medical home is more than just a place; it is how your child is cared for. In a medical home you have a doctor, physician assistant or a nurse practitioner who help you keep your children healthy. In a medical home your family is at the center of care and your medical provider and their staff include your family in making decisions about your child’s health care. We cannot let our guard down against preventable diseases.

Schedule an appointment today to update your child’s immunizations with their doctor. Immunizations should be given at the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12-18 months and 4-6 years and then again between 11 and 12 years.

Lacey Dickey, LMSW

child health coordinator

American Home Finding Association

Ottumwa

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