About Town | 7-13-13


Free TDAP vaccinations offered July 20 in Kona

Adults age 19 and older can receive a free vaccination for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (TDAP) during a clinic July 20 at Christ Church Episcopal in Kealakekua.

The clinic will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the community hall located behind the church. Christ Church Episcopal is located at the intersection of Konawaena High School Road and Mamalahoa Highway.

The TDAP shot includes tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (“whooping cough”). This vaccine is not alive.

Most people received tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccinations as children. As adults get older, their childhood immunities diminish. If an adult has a medically compromised respiratory system, they may become seriously ill if they get diphtheria or pertussis; therefore, getting diphtheria and pertussis vaccinations as adults may help to protect against these diseases. Adults who have compromised respiratory systems, senior citizens, and adults who have not had a TDAP booster, may carry the pertussis bacteria, and may spread it to susceptible children who are not immunized or fully immunized.

The Ka‘u and Kona areas had a few pertussis outbreaks in the past two years.

A Nurse Practitioner will be providing the TDAP vaccinations. All adults are welcome on a “first-come-first-served” basis. There is a limited supply of vaccine that is free for this clinic made available from the Hawaii Department of Health.

The following information is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Tetanus (commonly known as lockjaw) is different from other vaccine-preventable diseases because it does not spread from person to person. The bacteria are usually found in soil, dust and manure. It enters the body through breaks in the skin — usually cuts or puncture wounds caused by contaminated objects. When the bacteria invade the body, they produce a poison (toxin) that causes painful muscle contractions. It often causes a person’s neck and jaw muscles to lock, making it hard to open the mouth or swallow.

Vaccines are recommended for adults to prevent tetanus with booster shots throughout life. Adults should get a booster vaccination every 10 years.

Diphtheria is an upper respiratory infection characterized by a sore throat, fever, weakness and swollen neck glands. The incubation period of diphtheria is two to five days.

Diphtheria can involve almost any mucous membrane. It is contagious and spreads by direct contact or by coughing or sneezing while in close to others.

Within two to three days, a thick coating can build up in the throat or nose, making it very hard to breathe and swallow. This thick gray coating is called a “pseudomembrane” and it can build up over the nasal tissues, tonsils, voice box and throat. The pseudomembrane is formed from dead tissue caused by the toxin that is produced by the bacteria. The toxin may be absorbed into the blood stream and may cause damage to the heart, kidneys and nerves.

Pertussis (commonly known as whooping cough) is a highly contagious respiratory disease spread by coughing or sneezing while close to others. It is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe.

Pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing, over and over, until the air is gone from the lungs and you are forced to inhale with a loud “whooping” sound. This extreme coughing can cause you to vomit and be very tired. In teens and adults, the “whoop” is often missing and the infection is generally milder, especially those who have been vaccinated.

The disease usually starts with cold-like symptoms and maybe a mild cough or fever. After one to two weeks, severe coughing can begin. Unlike the common cold, pertussis can continue for weeks. Many cases of pertussis go undiagnosed and unreported.

Many infants who get pertussis are infected by older siblings, parents or caregivers who might not even know they have the disease. Adults (including women who may become pregnant and adults 65 and older) who expect to have close contact with a baby younger 12 months should get a booster vaccination to help protect the baby from pertussis.

Meditation session Sunday in Volcano

Experience the authentic teachings of Buddha and practice meditation from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. The discourse will be on The True Nature of the Self.

The class is free and open to the public. Dress warmly and bring a cushion. Call Patty at 985-7470 for more information.

Summer Splash 2013 a big hit for keiki

Big Island nonprofit Sunday’s Child Foundation and its youth participants recently enjoyed Summer Splash 2013 — a week of fun for at-risk children ages 7 to 16.

During the week surrounding the Fourth of July holiday, children enjoyed the pool and waterslide activities at both Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay and the Waikoloa Hilton. After taking in the 4D Ride attraction at the Mauna Lani Shops, the kids hit the water with paddles in hand taught by the kupuna of the Kawaihae Canoe Club.

They also spent time at Hokukano Bayhouse at Keauhou Bay and Kohala Youth Ranch near Pololu Valley.

The generous support of many of Hawaii’s businesses made the event possible.

The mission of Sunday’s Child Foundation is to provide life skills and healing, as well as enliven the spirit of each child through its programs.

For more information visit sundayschildfoundation.org.

To donate or support the foundation, call (877) 375-9191.