Well child checks and school go together like ABC, 123! Getting your child in to see their Provider near the start of school lets you accomplish three tasks in one. Not only do you gain peace of mind that your child is healthy to start school, you get to check off your child’s immunizations and sports physical, if they are playing sports this fall.
Immunizations through the Years
Immunizations are important for school-aged kids from kindergarten through high school. While immunizations wind down around two years of age, it doesn’t mean you are done. There are a few vital ones left. Before kindergarten around age 5, children receive their final dose of DTAP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), IPV (polio), MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) and Varicella (chicken pox).
“Without these final doses, kids won’t get the full effect of the immunization. The immunization timeline is built to protect kids through the years,” said Monica Ledesma, Certified Medical Assistant with Prowers Medical Center Clinic.
Upon entering middle school (age 11), kids receive their first dose of the meningococcal immunization for meningitis. They also get their first and final dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis), which will last a lifetime. Finally, they receive a 2-dose series of HPV (human papillomavirus).
“HPV is the one parents tend to skip because they are worried it will send a message to their kids that it’s okay to have sex. But parents can let their kids know that the reason to get it is to prevent a deadly virus and doesn’t have to do with sex. It prevents cancer, so it’s important for kids to have it,” Ledesma said.
Finally, when entering high school, kids receive their second dose of the meningitis vaccine, and if they didn’t get their HPV vaccine in middle school they catch up with a 3-dose series. The new vaccine that comes into play is a second meningitis vaccine for the B strain. This demands a multi-dose series. Colleges usually require meningitis vaccination to start because it’s a deadly disease and very contagious.
Sports Physicals and Well Child Checks
Practices for fall sports can start before school, and often demand a sports physical. When you come in for a well child check, a sports physical is included. It’s wise to take advantage of the no-cost annual exams available through Medicaid and private insurance. For kids without health insurance, or with a high-deductible plan, children can receive free vaccinations through Vaccines for Children through the Colorado Department of Public Health (Colorado.gov).
“It’s important for parents to continue bringing in their kids for yearly checks as they grow older. We track growth and development and go over general wellness items like nutrition, exercise and safety,” Ledesma said.
If you haven’t done so, call and set a well child check for your kids before school starts. It’s helpful to bring your immunization card, especially if you are new to the state. Make a list of any health questions that have come up over the year to discuss with your provider.
Prowers Medical Center Clinic has five providers certified in delivering family medicine. To make an appointment, call (719) 336-6767. The Clinic is open 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday and is located at 403 Kendall Drive in Lamar.