Back-to-school season can be a hectic time for parents. There’s just so much to do to make sure your children have everything they need to be ready for a successful year, so now’s the time to focus.
School supplies? Check. School clothes? Check. Daily transportation figured out? Check. Vaccines up-to-date? Ummm….
While you’re making your checklist, don’t forget what might be the most important item: Are your kids up-to-date on their vaccines? Even for parents of non-school age children, now’s a good opportunity to check if your kids have received the latest vaccinations.
“Vaccines are important for keeping our children safe and healthy,” said Jennifer Kelsey, APN, of OSF HealthCare Medical Group – Ottawa. “Thanks to vaccines, we’ve seen reductions in polio, measles, mumps and other diseases that can have long-term, sometimes life-threatening complications. We decrease the spread of these diseases by getting children vaccinated.”
Checking a child’s immunization record is usually a standard part of any wellness check, so a simple way to keep your children properly vaccinated is to schedule an annual health check-up with a health care provider.
Vaccines safer than ever
While vaccine risks tend to get more news coverage than vaccine benefits, most vaccine safety scares tend to be false alarms, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Developments are making vaccines safer than ever. However, a fall in vaccinations in some countries has led to a rise in cases of whooping cough and measles.
“Being a parent is a big responsibility, and the best thing you can do is make sure your children are protected from these diseases and not spreading them,” Jennifer Kelsey said. “Have a good relationship with the provider to make sure your kids stay up-to-date.”
Parents should also get their children a flu shot every year. It’s recommended for every child over the age of 6 months.