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Posts published in November 2002


CHICKENPOX (Varicella)
By Patricia Henderson, MS, RN, C-FNP

Chickenpox (medical term is varicella) is a highly contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It spreads from person to person by direct contact or through the air from an infected person’s coughing or sneezing. The person with chickenpox is contagious 1-2 days before the rash appears and until all blisters have formed scabs. It takes 10-21 days after contact with an infected person for someone to develop chickenpox. A person may get chicken more than once, but this is very uncommon. The infection is thought to offer lifelong immunity.

Symptoms of chickenpox include a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness and fever. The rash usually appears on the trunk and face first, but can spread over the entire body causing between 250 to 500 itchy blisters. Most cases of chickenpox occur in persons less than 15 years old. Before the use of the varicella vaccine, the disease had annual cycles, peaking in the spring of each year. Mild cases can be treated with anti-itching skin treatments and antihistamines.

Certain groups of persons are more likely to have serious symptoms with complications. These include adults, infants, adolescents and people with weak immune systems from either illnesses or from medications such as long term steroid use. These complications include secondary bacterial infections of skin, lungs, blood and bone.

Other complications are due to the chickenpox virus itself and can include bleeding, pneumonia, and encephalitis (infection of the brain). Chickenpox can cause death in previously healthy unvaccinated children and adults. It is never possible to predict who will have a mild infection and who will have a serious or even deadly illness. There are effective anti-chickenpox drugs available to treat active cases of the disease for those persons at high risk of complications, but the treatment must be started early in the disease to be most effective.

The good news is that chickenpox can be prevented by vaccination. The vaccine was licensed by the Food and Drug Administration in 1995 and is now widely available in private doctor’s offices and public health clinics.

Who should be vaccinated?
? All children between 12-18 months with one dose of vaccine.
? Children who have had chickenpox do not need the vaccine.
? Children between 19 months and their 13th birthday should be vaccinated with a single dose.
? Persons 13 years of age and older who have not had chickenpox should get two doses of the vaccine 4 to 8 weeks apart.

Vaccination precautions include:
? Pregnant women should not receive the vaccine, and non-pregnant women of childbearing age should avoid pregnancy for 1 month following vaccination.
? People who have serious reactions to neomycin or gelatin should not receive the vaccine.
? If you currently have a serious illness, are pregnant, or unable to fight off serious infection due to depressed immune function (cancer, long term steroid use, or HIV, etc.) it is best not to receive the vaccine.
? You should avoid the vaccine if you have received blood products (a transfusion, immune globulin, etc) within the past 5 months.

The chickenpox vaccine has a good safety record. The most common side effects are redness and soreness at the vaccination site or a mild rash and fever. These are generally mild and last only a few days. Severe reactions to the vaccine are rare (about 1 in 50,000 doses).

The vaccine is very effective and results in complete immunity for 8-9 out of 10 persons vaccinated. As with any new vaccine, the length of immunity can only be determined for as long as the vaccine has been tested. The dates gathered from the U.S. and Japan indicates that immunity lasts for at least 25 years.

The chickenpox vaccine is on the list of required vaccines for Texas school children. Exemptions are allowed only if there is written documentation that your child has had chickenpox. Exemptions can also be granted on religious or medical grounds.

For more information about the varicella vaccine or other immunizations call the National Immunization Hotline at (800) 232-2522. You can also log-on to the Center for Disease Control website at .

Patricia Henderson, MS, RN, C-FNP
Family Nurse Practitioner
Center for Family and Preventive Medicine
Affiliate of San Jacinto Methodist Hospital
14626 FM 2100, Ste. C, Crosby, Texas

AF Reunion: He loved his Town and Stood his Ground

Eighty—six year old James W. (Jim) Brazzil, of Highlands, has finally realized the fulfillment of a dream that he had held onto for almost 60 years.

That dream was to someday meet again with veterans of the 13th Jungle Air Force that he served with in the Philippines during the last phase of World War II. A staff Sergeant in the Public Relations Office, Jim worked as an enlisted news correspondent and editor, attached to the 13th Headquarters Squadron. At that time the unit was based on the Island of Leyte near the capital city of Tac1oban.

Little known in the early stages of the war, the 13th is now often remembered as a powerful, aggressive force in the Pacific War.

Jim is a new member of VFW Post 00912 in Baytown, and last year he was overjoyed to find a notice in the VFW Magazine stating that the 13th had scheduled a reunion for Sept. 12—15 in Des Moines, Iowa. He was packed up and ready to go when the terrorist attack on America occurred on Sept. 11. All flights were cancelled and the reunion was called off.

This year’s reunion was held Oct. 16-20 at Valley Forge, out of Philadelphia, PA. Jim was there, accompanied by his two daughters, Bonita Tankursley and Susan Adcox, who planned and carried out every detail of the trip for their dad.

It was a busy three days, with meetings, tours, entertain-ment, a banquet, and other activities. One of the highlights was a Memorial Service for departed 13th AF members, held on the bow of the Battleship New Jersey, docked in the.Delaware River.

About 70 veterans of the 13th attended the reunion, most of them accompanied by relatives and friends. Jim was reunited with two friends that he served with on Leyte, and a good number of other veterans that he had written about during the war. They had not seen each other in some 58 years. Jim came home with his pockets filled with photos, addresses, cards, and notes, reminding him to keep in touch.

Jim’s military career began in the fall of 1942, while working for a newspaper in west Texas. After a brief stay at Lubbock Air Force Base, he was transferred to Garden City Air Force Base in Kansas, where he spent two years as editor of the base newspaper, “The Dustbowl Flyer”.

His next stop was at the Air Force Base in San Marcos, Texas. He was editor of the base newspaper, “The Asterope”, for about a year before going overseas.

After the war ended, Jim worked for a number of Texas daily and weekly newspapers before coming to Highlands in the spring of 1955, where he and his brother-in-law Alton Neatherlin started The Highlands Publishing Company and The Highlands Star. During the almost 20 years that Jim was editor of the Star, he was quite well—known in weekly newspaper circles around the state as an enterprising Country Editor who loved his town and stood his ground.

The trip to Philadelphia on a Continental Airlines 737 was Jim’s first airplane ride since World War II. Upon his arrival back in Highlands, he was asked how it felt to once again climb aboard an airplane and fly off into “The Wild Blue Yonder”.

“A piece of cake”, he said with a grin.

Alleged Bank Robber Nabbed

CHANNELVIEW– Twelve area bank robberies may have been solved with an arrest by Harris County Sheriff’s office and Houston Area Bank Robbery Task Force of a man dwelling in various motels along the East Freeway.

Kenneth Harrington, 47, was taken into custody on Halloween for two recent bank robberies of the Woodforest National Bank on Sheldon Road. Federal bank robbery and weapons possession charges have since been filed on Harrington. He is scheduled to appear in the South District’s Federal Court for trial.

In addition to bank robberies including ones in Baytown, Harrington is suspected in a robbery of a Wendy’s on the East Freeway and a Shell Gasoline Station in the 400 block of Sheldon.

Voters choose Perry, Eckels, Eversole, Stafford, Bell


EAST HARRIS COUNTY– For the first time in nearly three decades, a new person will be sitting on Commissioners Court to represent Precinct 2.

Former Houston City Controller Sylvia Garcia defeated Johnny Isbell, the former mayor of Pasadena by a slim 52-46 percent margin, or 6,946 votes.

The battle between Isbell and Garcia was a heated one, with each camp serving attack after attack in the final days before the election.

Returning to Commissioner Court for another term will be Jerry Eversole. Eversxole easily defeated a challenge by Charles Hixon 70.8-27.1 percent.

Crosby resident Mike Stafford was also an easy winner in Tuesday’s election, beating Marc Whitehead with 55% of votes. Stafford is the Harris County Attorney.

The U.S. District 25 will have a freshman representative in the next congressional session, as Chris Bell becomes the third Democrat to serve the district since its creation. Bell defeated Tom Reiser in a close fight 51.4-47 percent. The incumbent, Ken Bentsen, chose not to seek reelection, as he ran an ill-fated campaign for the U.S. Senate.

World’s Shortest Cowboy Poem

I wish I could draw a good picture, cause I feel like that cowboy with his hat soakin’ wet and down around his ears and his moustache drooping and his raincoat doin’ little good. There’s an image for ‘ya!
Well, the shindig in George West went on in spite of a good soakin’ there too. However, the place was packed. The audiences were there for the storytelling and poetry, and they weren’t disappointed! I’m goin’ to remind you all that the show, ‘A Cowboy True” is coming to the San Jacinto College North Campus February 7, 8, 9. Plan ahead and don’t miss out!

I found the world’s shortest cowboy poem, titled “Miniature Horses”.



If you don’t understand it, ask a cowboy!

The politicians are in a feeding frenzy, now that we’re on the last day. I had one call me and ask if I was goin’ to vote and I said I was plannin’ on it, if I could get to the polls. He asked if I needed a ride. I laughed and said I would probably need an airboat. He didn’t miss a beat and said he would have one come by at my convenience, if needed! Wow, did I feel special!
I had someone who attended a rodeo over at Liberty last week or so ask me to speak to whoever was in charge of the rodeo. It seems that a couple of “cowboys” in the wild steer milking (don’t try to figure that one out!), roped their steer to the ground and proceeded to kick the poor steer in the head and ribs repeatedly to try and get him back up. This behavior on the part of these so-called cowboys was totally uncalled for and was not stopped by the rodeo staff. I’ve been around rodeos all my life, so I know how things are done. But this treatment was brutal and should have been stopped and the “cowboys” disqualified. It was not stopped.
There is no excuse for this type treatment of rodeo stock. This behavior is what gives ammunition to the animal rights activists to try and stop rodeos. Shame on the rodeo committee in Liberty who allowed this to happen! Shame!
On a brighter note, I encourage every one of you to take the time to vote Tuesday for the candidate of your choice, even if you are wrong! Seriously, VOTE. It is your duty as Americans and Texans.
There are two sides to every political debate, yours and stupid’s! Remember, if you can’t say something nice about someone, then come sit by me (and whisper in my ear)!
By the way, I saw a couple of Crosby folks in George West on Saturday and they said they read Horsefeathers! That makes sixteen people I’ve found who read my column! Coool!
I’m feelin’ a little lonesome lately. If you see me somewhere, say howdy. I need to know you all are out there! I threw a “pity party”, and no one showed up, so I’m goin’ to quit doing that!
I’ll let you shut the gate on your way out and remind you to hug a politician tomorrow…naw, save your hugs for those you love! ‘till we meet again, Happy Trails, Lloyd