The school year is fast approaching and I bet you're thinking about back to school shopping and bedtime routines. It's also time to make sure your children's immunizations are up to date.
Current vaccine records are important not only for your own child's health but for the health of their friends, classmates and the entire community.
Many vaccine preventable diseases have become rare, but there are still outbreaks of disease in this country so to prevent disease, it is essential that all children and adolescents are vaccinated according to the schedule recommended by the CDC.
Children under the age of 6 years should have received their initial infant immunizations and should have received "booster" doses of DTaP (diptheria, tetanus and pertussis) as well as second doses of MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) and varivax (chickenpox vaccine). These vaccines are typically given between the ages of 4 and 6. Most children will receive these shots prior to entering kindergarten.
Older children need vaccines too and adolescents need to be vaccinated against several diseases that are more likely to occur during the teen years and later into life. Meningococcal meningitis vaccine and HPV vaccines are recommended at age 11-12 years, and another tetanus/diptheria/pertussis booster (TDaP) is also given at that time. Moms & dads...you need the TDaP vaccine as well, so go ahead and pull up your sleeve along side your child!
For college bound students, it is recommended that a second dose of meningococcal meningitis vaccine be given. Adolescents now receive this second dose at the age of 16 years, but many college age students are still lacking this second dose and will need this prior to moving into a dorm or even registering for classes.
Don't wait until the last minute to update your child's immunizations. You can find the current immunization schedule on line at CDC.gov. By thinking ahead and making sure your child is vaccinated, they will be ready when the bell rings on the first day of school. It will be here before you know it.
I'm Dr. Sue with The Kid's Doctor helping parents take charge.