Back-to-school physicals and vaccines for your child

Back-to-school physicals and vaccines for your child

It's already time to start making back-to-school preparations, but buying pencils and paper shouldn't be the only thing on your to-do list. If your child's yearly physical exam isn't already on the calendar, make an appointment with your healthcare provider to ensure your child's vaccinations are up to date before school starts.

While getting shots and being examined certainly aren't as fun as picking out a new backpack, it's a necessary requirement for most schools and helps you keep tabs on your child's growth and development. 

Vaccines are a crucial tool in the effort to keep children and the broader community safe and healthy. They've played a role in eradicating many diseases that were leading causes of death in children just a few decades ago.

Public schools in all 50 states are required to obtain paperwork confirming children have received certain vaccinations or have filed an exemption to the state. Specific vaccinations are required according to a child's grade level. While your healthcare provider should be aware of which vaccinations your child needs, it's good for parents to be informed as well. Additionally, most schools send out documents denoting required forms and vaccinations.

There are some general guidelines for which vaccinations your child should receive and when they should receive them. In Indiana, children entering any grade between kindergarten and 12th grade must show that they've had two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. Kindergarteners and sixth graders must show they've had two doses of the varicella vaccine and three doses of the Hepatitis B vaccine. 

In addition to the above Indiana-specific requirements, kindergarteners must receive the polio, diphtheria/pertussis and chickenpox vaccines. Sixth graders should receive a chickenpox booster (if they haven't had two already), as well as the tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine and the meningitis vaccine. At age 16, your child should get a meningitis booster, since it's now a requirement for many colleges. Talk to your school nurse or provider about the flu shot.

In addition to administering vaccinations and giving a physical exam, make sure to have your provider fill out your child's school's sports team's required physical forms, if necessary. 

A physical exam is a great time to talk to your provider about your child's general health, including sleeping habits, allergies, medications and overall development. You can even ask to see your child's overall growth chart. Seeing your child's yearly growth can help you assess their diet and exercise level and make sure they're on track to stay healthy.

Don't wait — set up your back-to-school wellness visit with an Goshen Health Physicians primary care provider today.


Posted: 7/29/2016 by Goshen Health
Filed under: healthy kids

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