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Healthy You

Back to School: Get Your Exam, Shots and Screening Scheduled Early

Monday, August 10, 2015 12:12 PM

The school year is right around the corner. Chances are you've already had your child's required annual physical, complete with updating any needed vaccines. Staying on schedule with all health screenings and vaccinations is one of the many ways to keep your kids safe from illness and avoid infecting their peers.

Sabrina Cimo, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, gives parents some tips on preparing for back-to-school shots: (Please note this is just a sample list of vaccines needed. Please refer to your office guidelines for shots).

Children should have the primary series of all the following vaccines by 0-12 months of age:

  • Diphtheria , tetanus and pertussis (Whooping cough)
  • Polio
  • Haemophilus influenzae Type B
  • Prevnar 13 (Pneumococcal)
  • Measles, mumps and rubella
  • Hepatitis (A and B)
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • Rotavirus (oral)

Booster doses of several of these occur between 12 and 18 months and then again between ages 4 -6 years. Influenza vaccines are yearly beginning at 6 months of age.

  • Children age 10 years old should have booster doses of Tetanus and pertussis vaccine (Tdap).
  • Meningitis vaccine (Menactra) is at age 11. 
  • Human papillomavirus vaccine for girls and boys  (3 doses) can begin as early as age 9, but is usually given at ag 11 alogn with the meningitis vaccine. 

Most kids don’t like being pricked by needles or look forward to getting shots. Below is some advice on how to ease the pain of getting shots:

  • Be honest, direct, clear and calm.
  • Give some notice. Don’t give it too early; one day is fine for most kids.
  • Bribery is often effective. Offer your child special treats for easy cooperation, promise Band-Aids and fun for after the visit.
  • Explain that vaccines are not optional and are necessary to keep us healthy. 
  • Distraction is a great tool to help with pain. Consider bringing your child's favorite stuffed animal, music, book or video to the appointment to facilitate this.

When do you usually schedule your child’s back-to-school appointments? Do you have any tips to help with shots?

For more information, visit the Illinois Department of Public Health, Immunization Program website.