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Influenza: Plan Ahead – Flu Season is Here

October 18, 2019

Information from the Healthy Child Care Pennsylvania ECELS Program

The influenza (flu) virus is common and unpredictable. It can cause serious complications, even in healthy children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 136 influenza-related pediatric deaths for 2018-2019. The 2018–2019 influenza season was the longest-lasting season reported in the United States in the past ten years. Certain people are more at risk for serious flu-related complications. These include:

  • Children younger than 5 years of age, especially those younger than 2 years
  • Preterm infants
  • Children of any age with certain long-term health problems, for example, asthma or other lung disorders, heart disease, or a neurologic or neurodevelopmental disorder
  • Pregnant women
  • Older adults age 65 years and older: Immune systems decline as adults age.

The influenza vaccine is on the recommended Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) schedule and is recommended for children 6 months of age and older in child care.

The flu vaccine helps reduce serious illness and deaths that occur every year from influenza. For the 2019-20 flu season, the national American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that any licensed, recommended, age-appropriate vaccine available can be administered. Flu mist is an approved form of the vaccine for this season. Some children may need two doses of flu vaccine. Get flu vaccine as soon as it is available for the current season.

Flu Vaccine for Child Care Staff  Educators and staff can help reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses like flu and colds. In addition, adult flu vaccination protects vulnerable young children in child care programs. Infants less than 6 months of age are too young to get the flu vaccine. It is especially important for everyone who comes in contact with infants to get flu vaccine. This will help protect babies from exposure to the virus.

Many people say they have had the flu when they had an uncomfortable respiratory illness. However, short, mild-to-moderate illnesses are most often caused by other seasonal viruses. Usually, influenza causes a severe and long-lasting illness. 

Link to the CDC website: Information for Schools & Childcare Providers to find information about preventing the flu as well as materials and tools for early care and education (ECE) programs and schools. Promote full participation in this year’s immunization effort for children and staff in your ECE program:

  • Consider offering flu vaccine on-site for staff.   Some pharmacies offer this service.
  • Identify a Flu Vaccine Champion. This staff member can promote the importance of vaccination for children, staff and family members. Documenting staff members that are vaccinated can be important in the event of an outbreak. Consider offering incentives such as a $5 gift card for staff who get flu vaccine.
  • Offer help if needed to find convenient locations to get the vaccine. Use the Flu Vaccine Finder. Enter the zip code or address for your location in the upper right hand box. 

 

National Infant Immunization Week is April 27 – May 4, 2019

April 26, 2019

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities.

Milestones Reached

Several important milestones in controlling vaccine-preventable diseases among infants worldwide worldwide have already been reached:

  • Vaccines have drastically reduced infant death and disability caused by preventable diseases in the United States.
  • Through immunization, we can now protect infants and children from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age two.
  • Routine childhood immunization among children born 1994-2018 will prevent an estimated 419 million illnesses, 26.8 million hospitalizations, and 936,000 early deaths over the course of their lifetimes, at a net savings of $406 billion in direct costs and $1.9 trillion in total societal costs.
  • The National Immunization Survey has consistently shown that childhood immunization rates for vaccines routinely recommended for children remain at or near record levels.

It’s easy to think of these as diseases of the past. However, the truth is they still exist. Children in the United States can—and do—still get some of these diseases.

One example of the seriousness of vaccine preventable diseases is an increase in measles cases and outbreaks that were reported in 2014. The United States experienced a record number of measles cases, with 667 cases from 27 states reported to CDC’s NCIRD. This was the greatest number of cases in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000.

Learn more about vaccination from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)!

Chatham County Child Care Health Consultant Receives Recognition Award

December 19, 2018

Congratulations to Chatham Child Care Health Consultant, Dorothy Rawleigh! She received the Public Health Staff Recognition Award through the NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation’s 2018 Child Health Recognition Awards program. The award was presented at the NC Public Health Association conference in December 2018. This award recognizes her work on developing partnerships resulting in healthier food, higher immunization rates, and better emergency preparedness planning in child care facilities.

 

Additionally, the Chatham County Public Health Department Immunization Program was recognized with a NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Child Health Recognition Award. Chatham County regularly ranks number one in the state in immunization rates among children ages 0 to 36 months. The Chatham County Health Department achieved this by blending policy changes, training, tracking, feedback gathering, and follow-up with child care facilities.

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