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Back to School Immunizations

schoolvaccinesParents. Ready, set, go! The last days of school summer vacation are quickly passing by, and there seem to be an endless “to do” list. Buy school supplies, packable lunch goodies, find that perfect backpack, haircuts, new clothes… the list can be daunting. But are back-to-school vaccinations on your list? You help prepare their minds for school, but protecting your child’s health is equally important; when a child is sick it is difficult to concentrate and perform well.  School means sharing – a classroom, a school bus, school supplies, lunches, gym equipment – as well as germs and viruses. To protect your child’s health and wellness over the school year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends childhood immunizations, especially for children under 6 years. Dr. Zack can help you cross that task off your list with one visit to Johns Creek Family Medicine, serving patients in South Forsyth, Gwinnett and North Fulton counties and surrounding North Atlanta area.

What are the Most Common Vaccine Preventable Illnesses?

In the U.S., medical advancements have rendered vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks rare. However, as the world seems to be shrinking with international travel becoming easier, new strains of viruses are introduced into the population, and outbreaks still occur. Children who haven’t been immunized have the highest vulnerability for succumbing to these newly introduced viruses, as well as the more commonly known diseases: measles, whooping cough (pertussis) and the flu. Even with recent medical advancements and vaccination technology, serious cases of these diseases, often with unfortunate outcomes, continue to occur in younger school-aged children.

As a child grows into middle school and teenage years, their resistance to such diseases as measles, whooping cough, and chicken pox wanes thanks to childhood immunizations. However, contact with larger populations in school and outside communities puts them at risk for contracting illnesses such as meningococcal meningitis and HPV. In addition, childhood immunizations have not been developed to protect infinitely, so it is important to regular vaccine boosters and annual flu shots.

How Do I Protect My Child From a Preventable Disease?

So what can you do to protect your child from coming down with a preventable disease?

  • Check with Dr. Zack to make sure that your child’s immunization schedule is on track with CDC, State of Georgia and your school district’s recommended time frames and doses for your child’s age. Vaccine requirements may differ from one school district to another.
  • If boosters or new vaccinations are needed, make sure to schedule the appointment before the first day of school – current immunizations are typically required prior to enrollment.
  • Check with the school to verify that all required and recommended school immunizations are on record. You can request a hard copy of your child’s immunization documentation from our practice.
  • Are your immunizations up-to-date on your vaccinations? Adults can easily transmit diseases to non-vaccinated children or those who are behind on their boosters if their own immunizations have lost their effectiveness.
  • If you or your child are behind on recommended vaccinations, talk to Dr. Zack about the best way to get back on schedule.

Keeping current with immunizations not only protects your children’s health, it also protects your family, other children they come in contact with, educators, and others in your community. Don’t let taking care of their wellness fall to the bottom of the “to do” list. Schedule an appointment at Johns Creek Family Medicine, a practice geared toward serving the entire family, for any necessary back-to-school vaccines, boosters or physicals before the first day of school.

 

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