SVHC Names Outstanding Volunteer of the Year

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BENNINGTON, Vt. — Southwestern Vermont Health Care has announced the 2019 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year is Everley St. Peter of Shaftsbury.

The Outstanding Volunteer Award is given to the volunteer who shows dedication to patients and staff, provides excellent customer service, quality in all work that they do, and empathy and respect in all interactions with patients, staff, visitors, and fellow volunteers.

St. Peter has volunteered providing reiki to patients, visitors, and staff since 2005. Reiki is a form of integrative therapy that uses touch to promote healing. She discovered reiki after the events of September 11, 2001, when she shared, "I felt compelled to find something I could do to help my fellow man."

After a level one course, she found many willing to allow her to practice on them and soon had a loyal following, one of whom recommended she provide reiki at the hospital.

"That planted the seed for me to gather up the courage to find out if it was even possible," St. Peter remembers.

"We are so grateful that Everley was inspired to bring her skills and compassion to us," said Jennifer Civello, SVHC's director of volunteer services and community outreach. "She and fellow reiki practitioner volunteer Phyllis Michaelson bring so much comfort to those they touch."

Thomas A. Dee, SVHC's president and CEO, presented the award at the Volunteer Appreciation Lunch at the Mount Anthony Country Club in June.

Other nominees included Mary Ann Carlson of Arlington, Phyllis Michaelson of North Pownal, Ron Myers of Bennington, Cecil Potter of Bennington and Peggy Taber of Hoosick Falls. The event recognized each nominee and nearly 30 volunteers who had reached milestones from 100 to 11,500 hours.

For information about becoming a volunteer at SVHC, visit the website or call 802-440-4024.


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Protecting Children and Others During a Measles Outbreak

Dr. Marie George

Once a common childhood disease, measles was almost an expected part of growing up. But it wasn't without consequence. Worldwide, up to 2.6 million people died annually from measles every year up until a vaccine was introduced in 1963.

In recent years, some parents have refused to vaccinate their children based on misinformation about side effects of the vaccine.  As a result, the number of unvaccinated children, teens and adults in our communities is on the rise. While those making the choice to not vaccinate believe they're making this decision solely on behalf of themselves or their children, they're actually impacting the health of others. Sometimes with deadly consequences.

How is it spread? Who is at risk?

The measles virus is highly contagious and spreads easily. Spread by close personal contact, coughing, or sneezing, the virus can remain active in the air or on a surface for up to two hours after it has been transmitted.

That means that any unvaccinated individual — including infants and those with compromised immune systems — can get sick when entering a space where an infected person was even hours before. Infected individuals can then go on to spread the illness days before they show any signs of the disease.

How to protect those at risk

Measles vaccines are by far the best possible protection you can give your child. Two doses are 97 percent effective and the potential side effects are rare and not nearly as scary as suggested by a lot of popular media. If they appear at all, side effects are usually a sore arm, a rash, or maybe a slight fever. Claims that the vaccine causes autism have been undeniably proven to be false.

As for when to get your child vaccinated, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Family Physicians all recommend children receive the measles vaccine at age 12 to 15 months and again at 4 to 6 years old. Children can receive the second dose earlier as long as it is at least 28 days after the first dose.

How about adults?

Because the risk of death from measles is higher for adults than it is for children, teens and adults who have not been vaccinated should take steps to protect themselves. "The vaccine can be provided in two doses within 28 days of each other. This is particularly important for those planning travel overseas or to areas in the United States where outbreaks are occurring.

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