Immunization tips suggested

Special to the Altus Times

Today, vaccines are 90 to 99 percent effective in protecting children and teens from 16 diseases, including polio, influenza and chickenpox, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

GlobalHealth, an Oklahoma-based health maintenance organization, suggests a family visit to a primary care physician or PCP for a wellness check to discuss what vaccinations may be needed in recognition of August as National Immunization Awareness Month.

“Scheduling routine wellness checks that focus on prevention and getting regularly scheduled vaccinations is important for protecting you and your family’s overall health,” said GlobalHealth Senior Vice President John Wiscaver. “With school starting again, it is also a great time for your child to be checked for any conditions that could prohibit him/her from participating in extracurricular activities.”

Immunization helps prevent dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases. For example, one in four Americans — about 79 million people — are currently infected with the human papillomavirus or HPV, and another 14 million will become newly infected each year. This disease infects both men and women, and can cause cervical cancer in women. However, with proper immunization, cases of HPV decreased 56 percent in teenage females from 2006 to 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

GlobalHealth is offering Oklahoma families the following tips about vaccine-preventable diseases:

* Get vaccinated. The best prevention method for multiple common diseases is vaccination, not only in children, but people of all ages, including pregnant women. For a child age 6 or younger, it is recommended and may even be required for them to be vaccinated and have records. A PCP will be able to explain a child’s immunization schedule. In addition, a PCP will be able to recommend vaccinations for teenagers, adults and pregnant women.

* Get an annual wellness check. Wellness checks focus on prevention, which is important in protecting overall health, as well as help monitor health issues such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels and obesity. Having a wellness check before school starts is a great way for a child to be checked for any conditions before participating in extracurricular activities.

* Create less stress. Getting a shot can be stressful for both the parent and child. Pick a favorite toy or book to help comfort a child, distract and comfort them by cuddling, singing or talking softly, and smile and make eye contact to let the child know everything is OK. Ask a PCP for advice on which pain reliever to use to comfort a child. For older children, be honest and explain that shots can sting but that they won’t hurt for long. Enlist other family members, especially older siblings, to help support the child, and avoid telling scary stories or making threats about shots.

About GlobalHealth

GlobalHealth is changing health insurance in Oklahoma. As an industry leader, GlobalHealth is an Oklahoma-based health maintenance organization covering more than 45,000 individuals in all 77 Oklahoma counties. Working proactively with each member, GlobalHealth engages a personalized management plan to address their specific needs and ensure the best possible health outcomes. GlobalHealth utilizes cutting edge, predictive data technology as a foundation to deliver improved healthcare as part of its commitment to making health insurance more affordable. Its membership includes state and education employees, federal employees, municipal employees, Medicare Advantage members and private employers. GlobalHealth employs more than 250 associates throughout Oklahoma. To learn more, visit

Special to the Altus Times

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