By Anitha Leonard, MD, from South Charlotte Primary Care
It’s the middle of the summer, the heat is on, you’ve spent the last 2 months applying sunscreen, museum trips, play dates and you’re ready to send the little darlings back to school.
Every parent’s back to-school to-do list: School supplies, clothes, car pool, after-school arrangements, sports, pediatric well check-ups. It’s a time to review your child’s medical history (like asthma and ADHD) and medications that they take. A thorough exam allows for monitoring their physical and emotional development.
Schools require an updated vaccination form at the start of Kindergarten and 6th grade. Not all of the following recommendations by the CDC/ACIP/AAP are required by the school so discuss the importance of these vaccinations with your pediatrician.
DTaP, Polio, MMR, HIB, Pneumococcal, Hepatitis A , Hepatitis B, Varicella prior to Kindergarten.
Tdap, and Meningococcal prior to 6th grade (age 11)
HPV- 3 doses – begin series after age 11. Recommended for girls and boys
Influenza – after age 6 months , fall
With the start of school comes an increase in infections seen in school-aged children. The most common way of transmission is through direct contact with other children’s hands, supplies, door handles, etc. Common Infections seen are: colds, strep throat, influenza, lice and skin infections. It is important to recognize skin lesions that could be serious (MRSA), especially in sports where there is close physical contact. Most infections are benign and will resolve on their own.
It is a good time to review the basics of a healthy lifestyle. Without the right amount of sleep, children (and parents) are irritable, restless and cranky which in turn can affect a child’s performance and behavior in academics and sports. The drill: eat more fruits and vegetables, less sugary drinks and soda, less junk food, more water, less fast food. Wash hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer frequently.
Now that your check-list for “Back to School” is accomplished, it’s time to re-focus on your own health and well-being before the little darling’s activities take over your life again. When was the last time you had your physical?