In a little over one week, area school districts will be back in session, meaning your children will soon be surrounded by their peers and teachers — old and new — on a regular basis.
Now is the perfect time to schedule their annual well child check before they return to their regular school-year routine! Sure, we know to take our children to the doctor when they’re sick, but it’s just as important to take healthy children for preventative check-ups.
During a well child check at Prowers Medical Center Clinic, you can squeeze in your kids’ annual exams, immunizations and sports physicals into one appointment. This will give you peace of mind that your child is healthy and ready to learn when walking into their classroom on the first day of school and for the remainder of the year.
Immunization Timeline from K-12
Immunizations are important for school-aged kids from kindergarten through high school. Most immunizations are given before the age of 2, but there are several vital ones that must be updated and/or received during later years in life.
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) immunizations.
“Without these final doses, kids won’t get the full effect of the immunization,” said Monica Ledesma, certified medical assistant with Prowers Medical Center Clinic. “The immunization timeline is built to protect kids through the years.”
Upon entering middle school around age 11, kids receive their first dose of the meningococcal immunization for meningitis. They also get their first and final dose of DTaP (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis), which will last a lifetime. Finally, they receive a two-dose series of the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination.
“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,” Ledesma said. “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.”
Finally, when entering high school, kids receive their second dose of the meningitis vaccine for the B strain, which demands a multi-dose series. Colleges and universities around the country usually require the meningitis vaccination to start classes because it’s a deadly disease and very contagious. Also, if a high-schooler didn’t get their HPV vaccine in middle school, they catch up during this time with a three-dose series.
For those without health insurance or with a high-deductible plan, children can receive free vaccinations through the Vaccines for Children program at Prowers Medical Center Clinic. Vaccinations through this program are also available at Prowers County Public Health and Environment.
Sports Physicals and Well Child Checks
Most fall sports require a sports physical before participation, and sometimes team practices for sports begin before school does.
At Prowers Medical Center Clinic, a sports physical is included in a well child exam, which is a no-cost annual exam available through Medicaid and private insurance.
“It’s important for parents to continue bringing in their kids for yearly checks as they grow older,” Ledesma said. “We track growth and development and go over general wellness items like nutrition, exercise and safety.”
If you haven’t already done so, call and schedule a well child check for your kids before their first day of school. It’s helpful to bring their immunization card, especially if your family is new to the state. Make a list of any health questions that have come up over the past year to discuss with your provider.
Prowers Medical Center Clinic has six providers certified in delivering family medicine. To schedule an appointment, call (719) 336-6767. The Clinic is open 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday. For more information on walk-in hours, go to prowersmedical.com/services/clinic.