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Which Immunizations Should Be Included In Your Back-to-School List?

08/06/2018

Making sure your children receive their immunizations is an important step toward keeping them healthy. Children who don’t have their shots are at increased risk for diseases and can spread those diseases to others.

Most schools require students to have received the immunizations on this vaccination schedule. You can save time and trouble by making sure your child’s immunizations are up-to-date before school starts.

If you’re not sure if your child’s vaccinations are up to date, check with your child’s doctor. All immunizations are covered at 100% under your HealthSelect plan. 

Which shots do school-aged kids need?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends boys and girls receive vaccines against serious diseases when they are 11 or 12 years old. Some of these include:

  • Meningitis: Certain bacteria can cause infections of the lining of the brain, spinal cord and bloodstream. Meningitis can be very serious and even fatal.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV): Some strains of this sexually transmitted virus can cause deadly cancer. All boys and girls should receive HPV shots before their 13th birthday.
  • Tdap: The letters are short for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). Your child will usually receive this vaccine at age 11 or 12.
  • Flu: Most people ages six months and older should get an annual flu shot. It’s especially important for children who have chronic health conditions such as asthma or diabetes.

Check out the recommended immunization schedule for children and adolescents from the CDC and be sure to check with your doctor if you’re not sure that your child’s shots are up to date.

During and After Your Visit
Some children fear shots more than others. Encourage them to take deep breaths to help them with their fear or pain. You could also tell a story or find another way to distract them. Whatever method you use, don’t scold a child for being fearful.

After the shot, ask your child’s doctor for advice on using a non-aspirin pain reliever. Sometimes children feel mild reactions from vaccines, such as pain at the injection site, a rash or a fever. These are normal and will soon go away.

Consider these helpful tips:

  • Review any fact sheets your doctor provides you. The sheets will outline the normal side effects.
  • Use a cool, wet cloth to reduce pain and swelling where the shot was given.
  • Reduce any fever with a cool sponge bath. If your doctor approves, you can use a non-aspirin pain reliever.
  • Give your child plenty of liquids to drink. Many children eat less during the 24 hours after they get a vaccine.
  • Pay extra attention to your child. If you see something that concerns you, call your doctor.

Sources: AAP Schedule of Well-Child Care Visits, American Academy of Pediatrics, 2015; Vaccines and Immunizations, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2017; For Parents: Vaccines for Your Children, CDC, 2016

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