Back To School — Are your child’s immunizations up to date? Let us help you find out!

August 12, 2015 | Uncategorized | By: Naomi Wyatt

Well-child visits, including pre-school physicals, kindergarten physicals and sports physicals provide a great opportunity to raise general questions and concerns about your child’s development, behavior, and overall well-being.  Children should be seen for an annual health supervision visit that includes a physical exam as well as a developmental, behavioral, and learning assessment.   This is also a great opportunity to update necessary immunizations, assess growth and development, and counsel children and parents about behavioral issues, nutrition and exercise.  Healthy kids need to be seen for a yearly check-up.  The back-to-school season is a convenient time for putting the exam on your family’s schedule.

A healthy childhood and adolescence calls for balancing home life, school, social activities, sports, and extracurricular activities. This is all the more reason to keep an established relationship with your medical provider.

Immunizations are also an important part of keeping our kids healthy.  Recommendations change, but currently, before starting school (after age 4), kids should be immunized against MMR, Varicella, DTaP and IPV.  At age 11, students should get a Tdap, a meningococcal, and an HPV vaccine such as Gardasil.  If these students have not already been vaccinated against Hepatitis A, this can be done at this time.  Lastly, after age 16, students should get a meningococcal booster.

DTaP/Tdap is a vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough).  The Diphtheria is a very serious disease that can make a person unable to breathe, cause paralysis, or heart failure.  Tetanus (lockjaw) is a disease making a person unable to open his mouth or swallow and causes serious muscle spasms.  Pertussis (whooping cough) is a disease causing spells of coughing and choking that make it difficult to eat, drink, or breathe.  Most children do not have any side effects from the vaccine.  However some children may experience a mild fever, soreness at the injection site for 1-2 days, fussiness, and crying.

Varicella is a vaccine against chicken pox.  Chicken pox is a disease causing a skin rash over the scalp and body, moving to the face, arms, and legs.  The skin rash turns into 250-500 itchy blisters that will dry up and scab 2-4 days later.  Mild fever may be present as well.  Most children do not have any side effects from the vaccine.  However, some children may experience a mild fever, redness and soreness at the injection site, stiffness, nausea and fussiness.  Some may also experience a mild rash 1 month after the vaccine was given.

MMR is a vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubellaMeasles is a disease causing high fever, cough, rash, and possible brain infection.  Mumps is a disease causing fever, headache, and swollen painful glands under the jaw.  The disease lasts several days and can lead to meningitis (infection of spinal fluid) and hearing loss.  Rubella (German measles) is a mild disease causing mild fever, swollen neck glands, and a rash lasting about 3 days.  Rubella is very dangerous to pregnant women because it can severely harm the unborn baby.  Some side effects of the vaccine are soreness at the injection site lasting 1-2 days.  Some side effects may appear 1-2 weeks after the vaccine was given.  They include rash, fever of 103°F, swelling in lymph glands of the neck lasting 1-2 days, and mild pain in the joints lasting 3 days.

IPV is a vaccine against Polio which is a disease causing permanent paralysis, difficulty breathing, or death.  Some side effects of the vaccine are soreness and redness at the injection site.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection affecting the liver.  There are several types of hepatitis viruses, type A (HAV) generally causing the least serious liver infection.  The virus is spread by inadequate hygiene, in contaminated food or water, or by infected food handlers.  It is commonly spread in day care settings with young children, as hand washing may not be consistent.  It may be spread through sexual contact.  The disease is contagious before any symptoms develop, which may take 2-3 weeks.

Gardasil is a vaccine against HPV, the most common STD in the United States.  HPV can cause cervical cancer in women.  There is no cure for HPV infection.  This vaccine can prevent most cases of cervical cancer in females, if it is given prior to exposure to the virus.  It can also prevent vaginal and vulvar cancer in females, and genital warts and anal cancer in both males and females.  Several mild to moderate problems are known to occur with this HPV vaccine, but they do not last long and go away on their own.  This includes pain, redness and swelling a the injection site, fever and headaches.

Meningooccal disease is an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord.  It is most common in infants less than one year of age and people 16-21 years.  Meningococcal infections can be treated with drugs, but many people who get the disease die from it, and many others are affected for life.  As many as half of people who get meningococcal vaccines have mild side effects, such as redness or pain where the shot is given.  This usually lasts for 1-2 days.  A small group of people who receive the vaccine develop a mild fever.

Article By: Emily Decker, PA

Post Rock Family Medicine is offering Sports Physicals for a flat$25.00 fee, call us to schedule yours today! (This fee does not include immunizations.)