Newswise — MAYWOOD, Ill. – (July 22, 2014) It hardly seems that summer has begun and already Frozen backpacks and 25-cent crayons are filling the stores. Though summer fun will last a few more weeks it’s not too early to start thinking about your child’s back-to-school physicals and making sure they are up to date on their vaccines.
“August is one of our busiest months. Doctors’ offices are jam-packed with last-minute appointments, so get a jumpstart on it now,” said Dr. Heidi Renner, primary care physician at Loyola University Health System and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
When heading to the doctor’s office don’t forget your school’s required physical forms. Also, if you have an updated immunization record, bring it along as well.
“To get the most out of your visit be sure to talk to the doctor about your child’s growth and ask to see his or her growth chart. This is helpful in assessing a child’s nutrition/caloric intake and helps to make sure they’re on track with a healthy diet and appropriate exercise,” said Renner.
In addition to diet she also suggests asking about:
“Though no one likes to get shots, vaccines are an integral part of keeping kids and our community safe. They work to safeguard children from illnesses and death caused by infectious diseases and protect our kids by helping prepare their bodies to fight often serious, and potentially deadly diseases,” said Renner.
Vaccines have helped to nearly eradicate many of the diseases that were leading causes of death in children only a few decades ago. Here are the main immunizations your kids need before heading off to school.
• When entering kindergarten your child should receive the following vaccinations:
o Measles, Mumps and Rubella, better known as the MMR
o Chicken Pox
• Most likely your child received these immunizations as an infant. This second round of shots boosts the immunity. So, in sixth grade your child should receive:
o Chicken Pox Booster if your child has not had two by this time
o Pertussis and Tetanus Booster (TdaP)
o Meningitis (this is not a booster)
A meningitis booster vaccine should be given at age 16 or prior to college if not at 16 since many colleges are now requiring this vaccine. Some schools are requiring a flu shot s well so talk to your school nurse about that.
“Yearly physicals are a great time to touch base with your child’s physician to make sure everyone is on the same page. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. We can’t help you if we don’t know a problem exists,” said Renner
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Loyola University Health System, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs. It includes a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and 22 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 569-licensed-bed facility. It houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 264-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness and Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Care Center.