Vaccines + Back to School

It’s August, which means the kids are headed back to school here in the US. It also means it’s time to dig into your savings for pens, paper, clothing, tablets, headphones, computers…3D printers…centrifuge…microscope…  I kid, but it does seem like they need a whole lot as years progress. The days of pencils, notebooks, and protractors are done.

I’m sure you’re making dents in your school lists, but did you remember to get those current physical and vaccine records? You all know I don’t care about pens; I’m The Vaccine Mom so I’m reminding you that it’s important to stay up-to-date on your children’s vaccines. And how perfect because August not only marks the beginning of the new school year in the US but it’s also National Immunization Awareness Month! 

If you’ve had your kids in school before (or just out in the world), you know how easily they spread and contract germs. I like to call my children “my little Petri dishes,” and I think that’s very fitting. There are lots of coughs, sore throats, and colds coming this year, and that’s just life, but there are some things you can prevent.  I’m talking the vaccine-preventable stuff–the nasty stuff. 

If you’ve read the news at all in the past few years there have been outbreaks of viruses such as the measles, mumps, and the chickenpox here in the US  in the past few years. Those are all terrible viruses and of course, vaccine-preventable.

Having your children vaccinated not only keeps these diseases out of your home but keeps them out of the schools and the community. Have you heard of herd immunity? Having an entire vaccinated community surrounding those unable to be vaccinated can save fragile lives. Let’s Be the herd.

Not only do we need to stay current on the vaccine schedule, but consider getting yourself and your children the yearly influenza vaccine. Influenza season begins in the fall and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, receiving the flu vaccination can reduce the risk of illness by 40 to 60 percent depending on the current flu season. Don’t risk getting the flu; it can be deadly, especially to your young children. Flu vaccine for children under 8

Your kids WILL get sick at some point during the school year. (If he doesn’t, he’s an anomaly; thank your lucky stars!) And if/when they do get sick (and even before it happens) make sure they know proper sickness etiquette.

Handwashing is always a must. Hot water and lots of soap!

The proper sneeze and cough are hard to master so make sure they practice. Teach them to sneeze and cough into the crook of their elbow. And if you have a tiny little one tell them to pull out their shirt and sneeze down into it. My kids loved that and it’s way less gross than getting a sneeze in your face.

Tissues? Yes, please! Make sure they know that’s where the boogers go.

The older kids need to be taught not just about proper sickness behavior, but about germs and diseases. Teach them why we do these things and then maybe they will be a little more cautious when it comes to communicable diseases. And hey, that lasts a lifetime.

And as your children get older, just make sure they know they need to stay out of others’ personal space when they’re sick (or the other person is sick). There’s plenty of time to get in someone’s personal space when everyone’s good and healthy. That goes for teens, too. You know what I mean…

But back to why I’m rambling today: Make sure your child is current on his/her vaccines this wonderful and busy month of August. And don’t forget to get a copy of that up-to-date record for your child’s school!

Here’s to a healthy and happy school year!

 



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