TWIN FALLS, Idaho – Public health officials are reminding parents to get their kids vaccinated before school starts this month.

“Illness can spread quickly in schools because everyone is in such close quarters,” Logan Hudson, nurse manager with South Central Public Health District, said in a prepared statement. “Immunizations and proper hand-washing are the very best ways to make sure your kids don’t catch this year’s seasonal bugs.”

The district said that last school year several schools had to close because of widespread illnesses among students and staff. Health officials said residents can help prevent the spread of illness, and help protect their children and others from getting sick, by proper vaccinations.

“Vaccines don’t just protect the client who receives them—they help stop the spread of an illness and protect that client’s family, friends, and community,” said Public Health Nurse Christi Dawson-Skuza. “The problem is when too many people opt-out. At that point there isn’t much to stop viruses from spreading like wildfire across a community.”

Children are required to have several immunizations before entering kindergarten and seventh grade, according to the health district. Most colleges and universities also require future students to receive immunizations before enrolling.

SCPHD personnel will be at several area seventh-grade registration/open houses to offer immunizations. To find out more, visit the health district online: www.phd5.idaho.gov/Immunizations/