Do your kids have everything they need to start school?

August 17, 2016

By Maggie Klee

PencilVaccine_August2016The new school year is upon us.  Before it gets too late, take care of your children’s back to school vaccinations. August is National Immunization Awareness Month and the perfect time to schedule an appointment with your doctor to get your kids ready for school.

Most states require students to receive certain vaccinations before they can attend school. Check with your children’s health care professional, school or state health department to find out which vaccinations are required. Make sure your kids’ vaccinations are up-to-date and protect them from serious and life-threatening diseases, as well as those who can’t be vaccinated due to compromised immune systems.

If your kids are between ages 11-12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that both boys and girls get the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. HPV can lead to several forms of cancer including cervical, head and neck and oropharyngeal, but the HPV vaccine can prevent these deadly diseases.

Unfortunately, your child’s doctor may not tell you about the link between HPV and cancer. A recent study commissioned by the Prevent Cancer Foundation shows 62 percent of adults said their child’s physician has not stressed the importance of the HPV vaccination. Use back-to-school physicals and vaccinations as a reminder to ask your doctor about the HPV vaccine.

If your child has missed a vaccine, don’t worry- most males can get a catch-up HPV vaccine until age 21 and females can get it until age 26. Talk to your health care professional about a catch-up immunization schedule to get back on track.

As you enjoy the end of summer break, remember to schedule your kids’ yearly physicals to set them up for a healthy and successful school year. To learn more about HPV’s link to cancer, visit preventcancer.org.

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