The days of summer are running out and parents are double checking their kids back-to-school lists. One thing that shouldn't be left off that list is a trip to the doctor.
Unfortunately for parents, the school season is also germ season. With so many things that could make a kid sick, Lisa Walker isn't taking any chances with her Middle Schooler Rachel.
"I'd rather be safe than sorry!" Said Walker.
Rachel is at the doctor making sure her vaccinations are up-to-date. However, for every parent like Lisa, there are several others who don't know or forget about the recommended vaccinations.
"Just from talking with other moms I know, there's a lot of questions out there about what kind of shots kids need at this age." Said Walker.
Before Middle School, Rachel will be getting a TDaP or Tetanus Diphtheria and Pertussis booster. This shot is the same one she got when she first started Kindergarten. Unfortunately for Rachel it's the first shot of three.
"We try and do the Meningococcal to prevent them from getting Meningitis at an age when the get around a large group of kids, those things tend to go around, and now we're trying to prevent HPV in both boys and girls it's now indicated for both sexes to get vaccines." Said Dr. Kara Bruning with Avera McGreevy Pediatrics.
HPV is short for Human Papillomavirus, which is has been found to cause certain forms of cervical cancer. It's relatively new but doctors say getting kids vaccinated now at age 11 is extremely important.
"We start at age eleven because that's when we want to get those kids before they become sexually active so they don't have to experience those sort of things and hopefully won't develop cervical cancer down the line." Said Dr. Bruning.
Dr. Bruning says cervical cancer is tricky and the shot may not prevent all forms, but if three shots are enough to prevent just one type of cancer, in her mind it's worth it. Lisa agrees.
"Some of these diseases are pretty serious and you can save a lot of heartache in the future by just getting a vaccine." Said Walker.
Sports physicals help doctors catch kids who may go un-vaccinated but that's not always enough. The state and school districts are joining the effort to educate parents on when and what vaccinations to get. Lisa just hopes this focused message reaches those who need to hear it.
"Just getting the word out there with the schools or just letting them know it's been awhile since they've had their shots, Kindergarten, it's time to do it again and make sure they're up to date and protected and even when they go to college, those are big steps." Said Walker.
While Rachel's shoulder may be a little stiff, the slight pain now will ensure she and her classmates have a healthy and fun school year.
If you wish to update your child's vaccinations at their sports physical they are not covered by the $35 fee. The price can vary so check with your insurance before the appointment.
For more information on vaccinations for your kids you can call 877-at-avera.