It’s back-to-school time! The first day of the Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) 2013-2014 school year is Monday, August 26. While you may already have books and pencils in order, is your child’s health record ready for school?
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene requires all children to receive certain vaccinations prior to the school year. These vaccinations help keep your children safe and healthy. Requirements vary depending on age and may include immunization from illnesses such as measles, polio, tetanus and mumps.
According to Dr. Avni Jain, primary care physician at Adventist Medical Group, immunizations are a cornerstone of health maintenance.
“There are two sets of immunizations recommended for school-aged children. The first set should be administered at four to six years of age, and the second at 11 or 12 years of age,” says Dr. Jain. “In addition, the flu vaccine is recommended annually for all children older than six months.”
Dr. Jain suggests reviewing immunization record every doctor’s visit to determine which immunizations are needed. She also notes that delaying or declining childhood vaccinations can present a serious health risk to not only the child concerned but also to the population as a whole.
“A key public health benefit of vaccinations is called ‘herd immunity,’ or the fact that higher vaccination rates provide protection to the broader community by lowering the chance for a disease outbreak to occur,” says Dr. Jain
In addition to being vaccinated, your child will need a physical examination if they plan on participating in a sport. MCPS requires students in grades 9 to 12 to complete a pre-participation physical each year, while students in grades 7 to 8 must complete a medical evaluation every two years.
Other children who will be required to have a physical include those entering MCPS for the first time or those transferring from a private school. Annual physical exams are a good time for you and your child to discuss health concerns or issues with your doctor.
In addition to submitting all necessary health forms to the school, parents should let their child’s school know about any allergic reactions, medications or chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma.
Do you need to schedule a back-to-school appointment for a member of your family?
Adventist Medical Group, an affiliate of Adventist HealthCare, has family practice physicians available in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties that can perform physicals and vaccinations for children or other members of your family. To find a physician close to your home, call 1-855-4AMG-DOC.