Back to school means backpacks and new school supplies. It also means it’s time to make sure your children are in their best physical health for the school year ahead. Now is the time to schedule your family’s sports physicals and be sure everyone is current on their vaccinations/immunizations.
Participation in sports is a wonderful way for children to lead a healthy, physically active lifestyle. Before playing an organized sport, a child should receive a pre-participation physical exam (PPE). The PPE will take into account the child’s medical history and ensure they’re healthy enough to participate.
Immunizations, or vaccinations, helps prevent dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases. Not only do vaccinations protect the person receiving the vaccine, they also help protect the health of classmates, friends, relatives, and others in the community, especially to those who are most vulnerable to serious complications (infants, young children, the elderly, and people with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems).
4 Vaccinations for School Aged Children (Pre-Teens and Teens)
- Tdap: A booster to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Recommended for preteens, as well as teens who’ve not yet received their booster. Outbreaks of whooping cough at middle and high schools have occurred. In these rare instances, children and adults who are vaccinated and still get the disease are more likely to have a mild illness compared to those who never received the vaccine.
- Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4): Protects against two of the three most common causes of meningococcal disease which can be very serious—even life-threatening. First dose is recommended at age 11 or 12 followed by a booster at age 16-18.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine: Given in three doses over a 6-month period to boys and girls starting at 11-12 years old, the vaccine protects against the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers.
- Influenza (flu) vaccine: A yearly dose is recommended for everyone 6 months and older to protect against different strains of seasonal influenza. 2017-2018 was a high severity flu season with record breaking levels of influenza-like illness and hospitalization rates. Sadly, it was also the most deadly flu season for children, with 176 flu-related deaths reported. According to the CDC, approximately 80% of these deaths occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination that season.
It’s Not Too Late for Protection
Getting every recommended dose of each vaccine provides children with the best protection possible, but sometimes doses are missed or delayed. If your children have missed any vaccines, we can use a catch-up immunization schedule to get them back on track. For more information on immunizations, visit the Georgia Department of Public Health, The Centers for Disease Control, or call our office at 770-771-5050.
Come see the Russell Medical team for all your back to school sports physicals and immunization needs today!