National Infant Immunization Week approaching

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 in promoting healthy communities throughout the United States. This year, NIIW is scheduled to be held April 16-23, 2016. Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. They not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. Among children born during 1994-2013, vaccination will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes. Because of the success of vaccines in preventing disease, parents may not have heard of some of today’s vaccines or the serious diseases they prevent. These diseases can be especially serious for infants and young children. That is why it is important to follow the recommended immunization schedule to protect infants and children by providing immunity early in life, before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. Vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in the United States and around the world, so continued vaccination is necessary to protect everyone from potential outbreaks….

Health survey: More Wood County residents have insurance

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Many Wood County residents need to exercise more and eat fewer unhealthy foods. On the bright side, more of them have health insurance now to cover their medical needs. Every three years, Wood County has its overall health tested by the health district. Data was collected last year from health surveys mailed to a random sample of Wood County adults and students. A total of 513 adults and 489 adolescents responded to the surveys. The surveys showed some good and bad trends. “We did get a little better among adults,” but a little worse for adolescents with obesity and weight issues, according to Connor Rittwage, epidemiologist with the Wood County Health District. So reducing obesity is one of the priorities set in the new Community Health Improvement Plan. “It’s not going to be solved overnight,” Rittwage said. “It’s going to take decades.” Last year’s assessment also showed that more local adults have never smoked, and fewer youth are smoking. Some “major spikes” were seen in mental health issues among youth, with larger numbers purposefully hurting themselves and contemplating suicide. “Those are areas definitely to pay attention to,” Rittwage said. But a good…