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Make Your Child’s Shots Less Stressfulaaaaaa

Vaccines help protect babies and young children against 14 serious diseases. Even though you are keeping her safe from diseases, it’s hard to see your child cry when she gets her shots. But you can take some steps before, during, and after a vaccine visit to ease the pain and stress of getting shots.

Read about the shots your child will get in advance. “CDC’s vaccine webpage has a lot of useful information to help parents understand the importance of on-time vaccination,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “You can review this information before your appointment, and then, you can ask your child’s doctor any remaining questions or concerns you have about vaccines.”

You may also want to bring your child’s vaccine record to show the doctor, and pack a favorite toy, book, blanket or other comfort item. For older children, be honest—shots can pinch or sting, but not for long. Remind them that shots help keep them healthy.

Distract your child with a toy, a story, a song, or something interesting in the room. Make eye contact with your child and smile, talk softly, or sing. Hold your child tightly on your lap, if you can. Take deep breaths with an older child to help “blow out” the pain.

After the shot, hug, cuddle, and praise your child. For babies, swaddling, breastfeeding, or a bottle may offer quick relief. Comfort and reassure older children if they cry.

If you notice redness, soreness, or swelling from the shot, place a clean, cool washcloth on the area. These reactions are usually mild and resolve on their own without needing treatment. If your child runs a fever, try a cool sponge bath. You can also use a non-aspirin pain reliever if your doctor says it’s OK. Some children eat less, sleep more, or act fussy for a day after they get shots. Make sure your child gets plenty to drink. If you’re worried about anything, call your doctor.

“Remember,” added Dr. Messonnier, “keeping your child up-to-date on vaccines is the best way to protect against vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Five Important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Childaaaaaa

You want to do what is best for your children. You know about the importance of car seats, baby gates and other ways to keep them safe. But, did you know that one of the best ways to protect your children is to make sure they have all of their vaccinations?

Immunizations can save your child’s life. Because of advances in medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children are no longer common in the U.S. – primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Polio is one example of the great impact that vaccines have had in the United States. Polio was once America’s most feared disease, causing death and paralysis across the country, but thanks to vaccination the United States has been polio-free since 1979. Due to continual worldwide vaccination efforts, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries in the world that have never interrupted the spread of wild poliovirus, and only small pockets of polio still exist in these countries

Vaccination is very safe and effective. Vaccines are only given to children after careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccine side effects are almost always mild such as redness or swelling at the site of the shot, but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and risk of injury and death from the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccinated are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.

Immunization protects others you care about. Children in the U.S. still get vaccine-preventable diseases. In fact, we have seen resurgences of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) over the past few years. For example, in 2014, there were 667 cases of measles in 27 states, the greatest number of cases since measles was eliminated in 2000. The following year saw measles cases as well. During 2015, 147 people were part of a large, multi-state measles outbreak linked to an amusement park in California. Almost one in 10 people who became sick with measles in this outbreak were babies too young to be vaccinated. While some babies are too young to be protected by vaccination, others may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, weakened immune systems from conditions like leukemia, or other reasons. To help keep them safe, it is important that you and your children who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This not only protects your family, but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to your friends and loved ones.

Immunizations can save your family time and money. A child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be denied attendance at schools or daycare facilities. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. In contrast, getting vaccinated against these diseases is a good investment and usually covered by insurance. The Vaccines for Children program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children from low-income families. To find out more, visit the CDC VFC site, or ask your child’s health care professional.

Immunization protects future generations. Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots anymore because the disease no longer exists anywhere in the world. By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles), we have dramatically reduced the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their fetus or newborn, and birth defects associated with that virus are seen in only rare cases in the United States when a pregnant woman who was never vaccinated against rubella is exposed to someone who contracted rubella in another country. If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.

For more information about the importance of infant immunization, visit CDC’s vaccine website for parents.

Supporting your local non-profit health centeraaaaaa

As a non-profit company, health centers such as MEHOP are not focused on treating as many patients as possible, but instead focus on working with each patient to get well, be well and live well. By intent, health centers are located in medically under-served communities such as Matagorda County. Medically under-served communities are those which have a shortage of primary care health services for residents within a geographic area. As most community health centers do, MEHOP offers a variety of comprehensive primary care services that treat the whole person including family medicine, dental, mental health services, OB/GYN, ophthalmology, pediatrics, prescription and other wellness programs.

Beyond those served, local nonprofit organizations should be supported by members of their community. Smaller nonprofit organizations operating within your hometown do not receive the same level of government support as larger non-profits. On average, local nonprofits rely on grassroots efforts to further their missions.

The biggest reason to support local non-profits is the impact your donation has within your own community. These small but mighty organizations are changing the lives of those living within your area. MEHOP is proud to be a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) — part of a network of health providers dedicated to improving the health of their communities.

Local support brings local change. Challenging others to donate to a worthy cause such as community health centers allows you and your neighbors to have access to new resources that focuses on delivering services that respect the diverse cultures and needs of patients.

Community health centers are thriving, patient-centered facilities that practice wellness, collaboration and excellence. They are leading the health care industry with technology including the use of electronic medical records to better coordinate the care their patients receive. Health data is deidentified, compiled and analyzed about their communities to better understand and treat chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, obesity and diabetes.

Health Centers are led by a Board of Directors with a majority of the members being patients of their centers allowing them to be responsive to the needs of their patients and their communities. Community health centers start with working with you to take an active role in improving and managing your health. We encourage you to take an active role in improving not only your health but the health of your community by supporting your local community health center.

Join MEHOP on April 14th for their annual fundraiser at the Bay City Civic Center. For tickets, or to make a donation or for additional details call 979-245-2082 or go to This year’s proceeds will go towards renovations of our original site for employee training and patient education facilities.

The benefits of “After-hours” Health Careaaaaaa

“After-hours care” refers to care for medical problems arising after 5 p.m. and on weekends that could be appropriately managed by the patient’s primary care physician/team.

Health problems developing outside of normal business hours are a leading cause of ER visits. Many acute complaints seen in the ER, including stomach and abdominal pain, fever, cough, and headache are commonly and typically managed by Primary Care Physicians. Continuity of primary care (care received by the same physician/team), including care received outside usual business hours, is associated with improved patient outcomes and lower ER use for non-urgent problems.

The high rates of ER use for non-urgent, after-hours care contributes to fragmentation of patient care, inefficient use of resources and higher spending since ER visits cost more than primary care visits. Offering after-hours access for select primary care services, including telephone access and expanded clinic hours, helps eliminate many costly ER visits while improving continuity of patient care.

MEHOP Family Medicine clinic (1700 Golden Ave. in Bay City) offers after hours care Monday through Friday 4pm – 8:30pm, Saturday’s 7am-4pm and Sunday’s 8am – 12pm for adults and children. Same day appointments are also available in all MEHOP clinics during regular business hours, Monday through Friday. If MEHOP patients have a medical question/concern that arises after normal business hours and is unable to wait until the following business day, they may contact MEHOP after hours on-call personnel for assistance as well. MEHOP accepts Medicare, Medicaid and Private Insurance. If you are uninsured or have limited insurance benefits, MEHOP offers discounts (sliding fees) for services based on household size and income if eligible. For additional information please call 979-245-2008 or visit

Mistakes parents make with their kids’ teethaaaaaa

You know regular brushing, a healthy diet and dental visits are some of the best ways to prevent cavities, yet experts say many parents are falling short when it comes to oral hygiene.

In fact, 42 percent of children ages 2 to 11 have had cavities in their baby teeth. And 21 percent of children ages 6 to 11 have had them in their permanent teeth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Find out the biggest mistakes dentists say parents are making and learn what you can do to keep your children’s teeth healthy throughout their lifetime.

1. Letting kids brush alone
Since most children don’t have the motor skills to brush effectively until they’re 8 years old, parents need to supervise brushing and check to make sure every surface of each tooth is clean.

“It’s not that they don’t want to do a good job, they’re just not physically capable yet,” said Dr. Edward H. Moody, Jr., president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

2. Putting baby to bed with a bottle
It’s the easiest way to cause tooth decay, yet parents are still doing it, experts say. In fact, according to a survey by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, 85 percent of parents said it wasn’t a good idea to put their babies to bed with a bottle of milk or juice, yet 20 percent did it anyway.

Whether it’s a bottle at bedtime or a sippy cup all day long, the habit keeps the sugar and bacteria levels in the mouth elevated all the time, Moody said. If your baby wakes up at night for a bottle or to nurse, wipe out her mouth with gauze or a soft cloth or brush if she has teeth.

“If you start early on it becomes part of the normal routine,” he said.

3. Making the first dentist appointment too late
Expert say it’s common to see children 2 or 3 years-old who need to go under general anesthesia to treat cavities and infections. One of the explanations for this is that parents aren’t bringing their babies to the dentist early enough.

The first trip should either be when the first tooth erupts or by your baby’s first birthday. Dental visits every six months from the get-go will also help your child feel comfortable—and even excited—to go every time.

4. Offering “healthy” foods
Bananas, raisins, and whole-grain crackers seem healthy, but foods that are sticky and have concentrated sugars like these will sit in the grooves of the teeth and create cavities. Instead of nixing them entirely, eat them with meals— when there’s more saliva— and always brush afterwards, said Dr. Joseph Banker, founder of Creative Dental Care in Westfield, N.J.

5. Thinking cavities are no big deal
You might think treating a cavity is an easy fix, but cavities can affect your child throughout his lifetime.  For starters, healthy baby teeth are necessary to maintain space for adult teeth. They help guide the jaw so it can grow.

Plus, if a cavity becomes infected, it can affect the development of the adult teeth and if there’s an abscess, the child will likely need sedation to treat it, Banker said. Cavities at an early age, especially if they’re not treated, can also lead to problems with speech articulation, poor sleep, and even low self-esteem and school performance.

6. Not using fluoride
Last year, the American Dental Association revised its recommendations and now suggests children age 2 and under use fluoride toothpaste, too. Although fluoride is controversial, experts agree that the research is clear: it’s one of the best ways to prevent cavities.

The appropriate dose, however, is key. For children 3 years old and younger, use the equivalent of a grain of rice, and for children 3 to 6 years old, a pea-sized amount is enough. Nevertheless, if you’re concerned about your child’s exposure to fluoride in the water and toothpaste, talk to your dentist.

7. Loading up on sports drinks
A common cause of tooth decay in older kids is sipping on sports drinks and soda at lunch, at games and at home. By bathing their teeth in acid all day, there’s no opportunity for the PH to re-balance, Banker said. If you can’t persuade your child to completely nix it from his diet, encourage him to limit the amount, then drink it and be done with it.

MEHOP Annual Fundraiser 4/14/18aaaaaa

MEHOP Rock and Roll Fundraiser

Matagorda Episcopal Health Outreach Program’s (MEHOP’s) Annual Fundraiser is April 14th, 2018. We look forward to an evening filled with fun, great food, and Rock and Roll!

This year, proceeds from the event will support us in renovating our old dental offices for multiple uses by medical, administrative, and community health worker staff as well as aid in the expansion of our OB/GYN and Behavioral Health practices.

The event will be held at the Bay City Civic Center located at 201 7th St. in Bay City TX. The event will begin at 6:30pm with cocktails and a silent auction. Set-ups will be provided if you would like to bring your own beverage of choice. At 7:30pm dinner will be served, and a live auction and dancing will follow. Tickets can be purchased on-line through Tickets to the City by going to and clicking the link to purchase tickets on our Home page. If you are unable to attend and would like to make a donation you can do that as well through the purchase tickets link.

Tables seat ten and individual tickets are $50 a piece or $500 for a table. This year we have four fantastic sponsorship packages available as well.

Platinum Sponsor Package $2,500 – Tickets for table of ten, Name recognition, Preferential Seating, Complimentary Wine & Champagne, Table Side Dessert, (20) 50/50 Raffle Tickets.

Gold Sponsor Package $2,000 – Tickets for table of ten, Name recognition, Preferential Seating, Complimentary Wine & Champagne, Table Side Dessert.

Silver Sponsor Package $1,500 – Tickets for table of ten, Name recognition, Preferential Seating, Complimentary Wine & Champagne.

Bronze Sponsor Package $750 – Tickets for table of ten, Name recognition, Preferential Seating.


Your child and ear infectionsaaaaaa

Your Child and Ear Infections

Middle-ear infections, which doctors call otitis media, are less common during mid­dle childhood than at younger ages.

When the Ear is Infected…

When an ear is infected, the eustachian tube—the narrow passage connecting the middle ear (the small chamber behind the eardrum) to the back of the throat—becomes blocked. During healthy periods this tube is filled with air and keeps the space behind the eardrum free of fluid; dur­ing a cold or other respiratory infection, or in children with allergies, this tube can become blocked, fluid begins to accumulate in the middle ear, and bacteria start to grow there. As this occurs, pressure on the eardrum increases and it can no longer vi­brate properly. Hearing is temporarily reduced, and at the same time the pressure on the eardrum can cause pain.

Your pediatrician should examine your youngster’s ears with an instrument called an otoscope, with which inflammation and fluid behind the eardrums can be detected. If an infection is present, your physician may prescribe antibiotics to destroy the bacteria and diminish the buildup of fluids. Antibiotics are not always necessary. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help ease the pain.

About Ear Tubes

Occasionally, when a child has repeated ear infections, and when fluid in the ears tends to persist despite medication, the doctor may suggest inserting small drainage tubes through the eardrum to help remove the trapped fluid. To date, however, the research examining the poten­tial benefits of these tubes is inconclusive, and there are clearly some drawbacks to them—namely, anesthesia is required for insertion, and the tubes can sometimes come out by themselves.

Treatment for Recurrent Ear Infections

If your child has recurrent ear infections (4 or more ear infections in the past 12 months with at least 1 in the past 6 months), your doctor may decide to place your child on low doses of antibiotics on a long-term basis to prevent infections. This therapy has been shown to decrease the frequency of ear infections. However, this therapy can increase the risk of resistant infections. Some doctors may also suggest surgical removal of the adenoids (adenoidectomy) if they are blocking the child’s eustachian tube.

When to Return to Child Care or School

Ear infections are not contagious. Your child can safely return to child care or school after the pain and fever subside. However, he should continue taking the antibiotics as pre­scribed until the pills or liquid are used up.

Adapted from Caring for your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12 (Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics)

Pain and Fever medicines for your childaaaaaa

About Pain and Fever Medicines

Acetaminophen (uh-SET-tuh-MIN-uh-fin) and ibuprofen (eye-byoo-PROH-fin) help with fever and headaches or body aches. Tylenol is one brand name for acetaminophen​. Advil and Motrin are brand names for ibuprofen.

These medicines also can help with pain from bumps, or soreness from a shot. Ask the doctor which one is best for your child.

What Else You Need to Know

  • Never give ibuprofen to a baby younger than 6 months.
  • If your child has a kidney disease, asthma, an ulcer, or another chronic (long-term) illness, ask the doctor before giving ibuprofen.
  • Don’t give acetaminophen or ibuprofen at the same time as other OTC medicines, unless your child’s doctor says it’s OK.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend OTC cough or cold medications for children under age 6.
A Warning About Aspirin

Never give aspirin to your child unless your child’s doctor tells you it’s safe. Aspirin can cause a very serious liver disease calle Reye syndrome. This is especially true when given to children with the flu or chickenpox.

Ask your pharmacist about other medicines that may contain aspirin. Or, contact the National Reye’s Syndrome Foundation at 1-800-233-7393 or

Benefits of Extended Hour Clinicsaaaaaa


MEHOP extended-hours Family Medicine clinic is the perfect solution to the problem of crowded emergency rooms, appointment waiting lists, and illnesses and injuries that always seem to happen on the weekends. We have extended hours so you and your loved ones will be able to get the care you need exactly when you need it. Here are three ways our extended-hours Family Medicine clinic benefits the community.

#1: Easing ER Overcrowding 

Over crowded emergency rooms are a big problem. In many emergency rooms, people have to wait at least several hours for care if they have illnesses or injuries that are not life-threatening emergencies. There is usually a much shorter wait time at an extended hours clinic, which means you’ll get the care you need faster. By using an extended hours clinic it also means that emergency room beds and staff will be more readily available to tend to those who do have life-threatening emergencies .

#2: Evening and Weekend Access

Many primary care doctors do not see patients in the evening or on weekends, making it difficult for people who work or attend school during the day to get the care they need.  If you need a routine checkup or want a doctor to help you manage a condition such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, you don’t have to take a day off work or wait several weeks to see someone. MEHOP extended-hours Family Medicine clinic schedules appointments for routine care as well as accepts walk-in sick visits. We have extended hours so you can get the care you need when it is convenient for you.

#3: Cost Reduction 

Using an extended-hours clinic will also save you money on your medical expenses. Emergency room visit can be costly. MEHOP accepts private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and for those that are uninsured we offer discounts on fees for services based  on household income if eligible.

MEHOP Family Medicine clinic is open Monday – Friday 7am – 5pm.  Extended hours begin Monday-Friday from 5pm – 8:30pm and continue Saturday’s from 7am-4pm and Sunday’s 8am – 12pm. MEHOP Family Medicine is located at 1700 Golden Ave. in Bay City, 979-245-2008. It is to your advantage to arrive no later than an hour before closing times. If we have high patient volumes we may have to close doors early to ensure staff are able to see all patients and leave clinic at reasonable hours.

Take precations during this active Flu seasonaaaaaa


DSHS Commissioner urges people to take precautions to avoid getting the flu


With influenza continuing to be widespread throughout Texas, the Texas Department of State Health Services reminds people to take precautions to avoid getting and spreading the disease. The state health commissioner, Dr. John Hellerstedt, filmed two short messages encouraging everyone 6 months old and older to get vaccinated and stressing the importance of good hygiene.


Vaccination can provide protection against flu as long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness. Vaccination is especially important for adults over 65, children under 5, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions because they are at greater risk of developing serious complications from the flu. People can find out where flu shots are available at or by contacting their health care provider.


Influenza is a contagious disease caused by one of a number of related viruses. Flu symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches and fatigue. The onset of symptoms is sudden and people should stay home until at least 24 hours after their fever is gone except to get medical care. People experiencing symptoms are encouraged to seek treatment promptly. Antiviral drugs may shorten the duration or lessen the severity of the flu if started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.


People can help stop the spread of flu by getting vaccinated, washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home when they’re sick.