If you’re sending your children back to school this week, you know it’s also that time of year to make sure your kids are properly vaccinated. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, director of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration, explains how to know what shots your child needs. Rose Melendez

Why do schools require children to be vaccinated?

Nurse Rose: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as state health departments, requires children to receive certain vaccines to keep your children and the community healthy. Vaccinating children against illnesses like measles, polio, tetanus and mumps helps decrease the spread of dangerous illnesses.

How do we know what shots our kids need each year?

Nurse Rose: The two best ways to ensure your kids are properly vaccinated are:

How often do our children need to get shots?

Nurse Rose: You should schedule an annual physical for your child annually and always ask your pediatrician about vaccinations before the school year begins. Generally, there are two sets of immunizations recommended for school-aged children. The first set should be administered at age 4 to 6, and the second at 11 or 12. Additionally, the flu vaccine is recommended annually for all children older than six months.

What if I don’t think my child needs vaccinations?

Nurse Rose: Denying or delaying your child’s vaccinations poses a serious health risk not only to your child, but to the entire student population. Higher vaccination rates provide a broader protection to the community at large and lower the chance of disease outbreaks.

As always, if you have questions, consult your child’s primary care doctor.

Need a school physical for your kid? Centra Care Adventist HealthCare Urgent Care is now offering school physicals from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily at locations in Germanton, Laurel and Rockville, Md.

Additional Health Tips from Rose

Find more family health tips online or tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to hear Rose live.