August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and as you check paper, pencils and markers off your children’s back-to-school list, make sure their immunizations are up to date.
It’s easy to remember when children are babies since check-ups happen at more regular intervals.
Upper-elementary, middle, high school (if not administered in earlier years) and even college students need booster shots and in some cases newly-recommended vaccines to make their immunization records complete.
If it has been a few years since your child’s last vaccination, it may be time for a visit to your family physician. These are the current vaccine guidelines for school-aged children recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
• Ages 4 to 6- Children ages 4 to 6 should be given DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine), IPV (inactivated polio vaccine ), MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine) and Varicella (chickenpox vaccine) booster shots prior to entering school if they are caught up on their immunizations. The CDC also recommends a yearly flu vaccine for all children age 6 months and older.
• Ages 11 to 12 – Children ages 11 to 12 years should receive a TdaP (which is the booster for DTaP/diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine — given in the preteen and teen years), one dose of MCV4 (meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease, such as meningitis or sepsis, a bloodstream infection) and a yearly flu vaccine. The first of three doses of HPV (Human Papillomavirus vaccine) can also be given at this time depending on the wishes of the family. The HPV vaccine is now approved for both girls and boys.
• Ages 13 to 18 – Children should receive a MCV4 booster and their yearly flu vaccine.
The CDC also recommends checking with your family physician as protection from some childhood vaccines may decrease over time. In addition to the guidelines for school-age children (outlined above) adults may need to be revaccinated, even if they were completely vaccinated as children.
Vaccinations protect your child from deadly diseases like tetanus, diphtheria and measles.
These diseases can still infect children who are not protected and the danger to your child from the actual illness is much greater than that of the vaccination itself. Thanks to the availability of vaccines, families and society are spared the devastating effects of many diseases.
Where to get your child vaccinated
The best place to get your child vaccinated before the new school year begins is through your personal physician. Annual visits to family physicians keep your child up to date on vaccinations, provide vital information for you on his or her growth and development and address any concerns you may have.
Your child’s physician is also the first stop in finding any health conditions that may require care from a specialist. Your doctor can also point you in the right direction for proper dental care, vision care and help with any educational concerns you might have.
A family physician is a partner in the health, development and well-being of your child. Other options for immunizing your child include the local health department or health department sponsored Immunization fairs.
Whatever method you choose, getting your child caught up on vaccines is the best way to start the school year in a healthy way. Family physician Dr. Jeffrey Gorodetsky and the staff of the JSG Medical Practice are located in Stuart.
For more information, visit http://www.jsgmedical.com or call 772-223-4504.