Press Releases: Northern California
July 30, 2012
Get a Healthy Start to the New School Year
Immunizations and back-to-school check-ups can protect your child from common childhood illnesses, detect learning impediments, and support scholastic success
FRESNO, Calif. — With the midpoint of summer vacation behind us and back-to-school shopping underway, it’s a good time to do a quick assessment of your child’s health.
Keeping up with children’s health can improve their chances of having a successful school year.
“Children who miss school frequently because of illness often fall behind and have a hard time catching up to the rest of the class,” Kaiser Permanente Fresno’s Chief of Pediatrics Yvonne Juarez, MD, said. “One of the best ways to protect your children from common childhood diseases and other contagious illnesses throughout the school year is to make sure they are properly immunized.”
Most school-aged children receive several vaccinations at ages 4 or 5, just before entering kindergarten. Typically, the next set of vaccinations occurs when they are 11 or 12 years old. Check with the office of your child’s pediatrician to make sure their immunizations are up to date. Kaiser Permanente members can check their child’s immunization record themselves via their home computers or smart phone by using the free My Health Manager online tools.
One vaccine that all incoming seventh-graders must have is the tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) booster shot. A new state law requires all students entering seventh grade show proof that they’ve received the booster before starting school. Pertussis, also called whooping cough, is a highly-contagious bacterial disease that can be dangerous for young children and deadly for infants. Immunization of school-aged children and adults is essential to prevent the spread of the disease.
Health officials already are predicting that the nation is on track to have the worst year for whooping cough in more than five decades, so now is the time to make sure your child is protected.
Flu also is highly contagious and leads to chronic absences throughout the school year. A flu vaccine can provide some of the best protection for children and help minimize outbreaks at school sites. Most flu vaccines are available staring in October.
A routine physical is another preventive step to take before children return to school — and is generally required for those students who plan to play a sport. A physical can help detect any hearing or vision impairments and can detect any type of behavioral or developmental issue that may prevent a child from doing well in school.
“Making sure your children are healthy is one of the best ways you can have them thrive throughout the school year,” Dr. Juarez said.
For more information on how to keep your child healthy and active, visit www.kp.org
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 9 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to www.kp.org/newscenter.