It's already time to get ready to go back to school, but there's something else that should be on your to-do list in addition to shopping for school supplies. 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.
The importance of vaccines
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.
School vaccination requirements
Public schools in all 50 states are required to obtain paperwork confirming that 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 listing required forms and vaccinations.
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.
In addition to administering vaccinations and giving a physical exam, be sure to have your provider fill out any required physical forms for your child's sports teams, if necessary.
A physical exam is a great opportunity 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 levels and make sure they're on a healthy track.
Make an appointment for your child
Don't wait — contact us to set up your back-to-school wellness visit with a Goshen Physicians primary care provider today.