What’s Up with Back to School Shots?

What’s Up with Back to School Shots?

Staying up to date with vaccines is either mandatory or strongly suggested for school-aged kids. It can give you peace of mind to learn about each vaccine—and how to spare your child from “shot” trauma.

Shots in the Light

Being in the dark about required vaccines may catch you and your child off-guard. A simple visit to the pediatrician may all of a sudden turn into an anxiety-ridden, horror-fest. For starters, you can check with your kid’s childcare facility or school for particular immunization requirements.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) does not set immunization standards for your school. Your particular state decides which vaccines your child will need to attend the local school. To access more information about your state’s guidelines, click here. It’s suggested that you check back often, as recommendations can change at any given time.

Doctor, Doctor…

Besides the immunization requirements set by your state and school, your pediatrician may have additional suggestions. In fact, he or she may have incredibly strong suggestions for supplementary shots. The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) has a list of schedules for routine vaccinations. Click here to check it out.

The Influenza vaccine is not required by schools, but most doctors strongly urge you and your child get one. They are typically administered in the late fall, but getting a shot in early winter may still help you both avoid contracting the virus.

The Rotavirus is another vaccine that helps prevent an illness that causes severe diarrhea and vomiting. It, too, is not school required, but pediatricians recommend it.

A more recent immunization is the Meningococcal conjugate (MCV4.) This vaccine protects against a bacteria that infects membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Kids going off to college are urged to consider getting this vaccine.

You and Your Child

As adults, we need to try and remember to get “boosters.” For example, we need to make sure we’re up-to-date on our tetanus shots. We can also benefit by getting a tuberculosis (TB) test every few years. One vaccine, however, that you may not want to neglect is for chickenpox.

If you’ve had chickenpox in the past, you’ll be well-enough immune. If, however, you’ve never had the illness or the vaccine, if you contract the virus, it can be very dangerous. This may also lead to an increased risk of getting shingles, which is excruciatingly painful.

Also painful is experiencing your child’s scream from getting a shot. In reality, shots don’t ‘hurt’ that much,” says Herschel Lessin, MD, a pediatrician at the Children’s Medical Group in Poughkeepsie, NY. “It’s the suffering brought on by the phobia of needles that bring on the pain.”

Make it All Better

Before your kid even gets to the point of hysteria, distract him. For the very young set, you can sing happy songs or blow bubbles. For those over three years, you can give them your Smartphone or tablet and let them watch their favorite cartoon or show.

Don’t make a big deal about getting a shot. You and the doctor/nurse take control and make it as nonchalant and seamless for your child. Get the job done as painlessly as possible and then go out for some ice cream. Staying healthy can have a delicious association.


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