Southwest Health Notes: Eight reasons to check your child’s vaccines

Supplies have been out on store shelves for weeks, and before you know, it big yellow buses will be transporting students to and from school each day. It’s a busy time, and one non-negotiable item on the to-do list is making sure that children’s immunizations are up to date.

August is National Immunization Awareness month, no doubt timed to coincide with the start of the school year.

Eight reasons to check vaccines

1. Vaccines are among the safest and most cost-effective ways to prevent disease. Protecting your children from preventable diseases will help keep them healthy and in the classroom. Following the recommended immunization schedule based on a child’s age is the best way to ensure they are protected from potentially deadly diseases.

2. Immunizations create a shield of protection, especially at schools which are a prime venue for transmitting vaccine-preventable diseases.

3. Vaccines don’t just protect your children, they also help protect other children and adults as well. Some diseases, such as whooping cough, can be deadly for newborns or infants. You can help protect our littlest community members from being exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases by making sure your children are up to date.

4. When children come down with a disease such as whooping cough, chickenpox, or the flu, they may miss quite a lot of school while recovering. Someone needs to stay home to provide care and make trips to the doctor. You can avoid this inconvenient and expensive situation by getting your children immunized.

5. Some diseases are only a plane ride away. Measles epidemics are occurring in the Philippines with nearly 32,000 cases reported as of April 20, 2014.

6. Most schools require children to be up to date on vaccinations before enrolling or starting school in order to protect the health of all students. If you are unsure of local school immunization requirements, check with your child’s healthcare provider, the school, or the local health department.

7. Delaying or withholding vaccines only increases the amount of time that children are vulnerable to diseases. The recommended vaccine schedule is based on the best scientific information available and provides doctors with information on administration of each vaccine.

8. Vaccines are very safe. They are thoroughly tested before licensing and carefully monitored even after they are licensed to ensure that they are safe.

Check your children’s immunization records and schedule a visit with their health-care provider. Doing so now will avoid a potential last-minute rush and will help make sure there are no surprises on the first day back to school.

Source: Material for this piece sourced from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Public Health Information Coalition.

EMT training slated for August

The Emergency Services Department at Southwest Health System is offering an EMT course that meets the requirements of the emergency Medical Services Section of the Health Facilities and Emergency Medical Services Division and will prepare students for the National Registry examination and Colorado State EMT certification. Instruction will include 180 hours of classroom time and 50 hours of clinical rotations in the hospital and ambulance.

Classes will be held from 6-10 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, occasional Mondays, and on some Saturdays from 8:30 – 4:30 p.m. in Cortez. The course begins on Aug. 21 and concludes in December. The deadline to enroll is Monday, Aug. 11. Tuition is $1,000 plus course materials, immunizations, background check, and drug screening (required for clinical rotations). For more information and an application contact Justin Lindsay at 564-2091 or by e-mail at

Save the date

The Southwest Memorial Hospital Foundation will host a fund raiser for its healthcare scholarship fund which was originally established in 1991. The Second Annual Made in Montezuma event will be held on Sunday, October 19 at Trail Canyon Ranch in McElmo Canyon. You won’t want to miss this afternoon celebration, featuring a guided tour of the tree nursery by Certified Arborist David Temple, followed by a live auction of locally crafted items with auctioneer Larry Don Suckla, and local food, wine and brews. Watch for more details in the in the Cortez Journal as the event date draws near.

Southwest Health Notes is a public service feature provided by Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez. The information provided herein is not intended as patient-specific medical advice or as a substitute for consultation with your personal health-care provider.