Some Geist area doctors are working to help keep kids healthy this summer. Kids may be out of the classroom and into the great outdoors, but they are still exposed to germs every day. The H1N1 scare is down right now, but, doctors know it will most likely resurface late this summer. Along with that, there are new immunizations requirements to take care of before the start of the next school year. So, what can you do to keep you and your family healthy and better prepared for the 2010-11 school year?
I asked a couple of Doctors at the Geist Family Practice and Pediatrics for some tips on keeping kids healthy while out of school, and the new immunization requirements for the fall.
Pediatrician Dr. Alex Sleder, who joined the Geist practice last November, says washing your hands makes a huge difference when it comes to kids spreading germs. “Even though the kids are out of school, they are still exposed to germs and need to take extra precautions to play it safe,” says Sleder.
Dr. Shannon Tighe says the changes in immunization requirements start with the chicken pox vaccine. All preschool and kindergarten students will be required to have two doses of Varicella (chicken pox) vaccine, or a doctor’s note saying they had chicken pox. But, the 6th – 12th graders, must also have two doses of the chicken pox vaccine, and a parent note verifying they had chicken pox.
“This is a big change for them,” says Dr. Tighe. “We used to think only one dose was needed, so if they’re in the older age group they may think they are fine and up to date.”
The 6th -12th grade group also has to have one dose of teanus-diptheria-acellular pertussis vaccine (T’dap) to prevent whooping cough, and one dose of meningococcal conjuggate vaccine (MCVA), which helps prevent meningococcal disease, a serious bacterial illness. The doctors also say they strongly encourage parents to make their back to school appointments early this summer as the kids might need a last minute physical for sports!
The late summer rush for vaccines puts a strain on the doctors scheduling system, and you don’t want to be at risk of getting in too late to tap into the office supply of their alloted vaccines. “The new changes won’t allow the school system to admit a student without the proper immunizations required,” says Doctor Tighe.
So, this summer it is all about washing your hands, checking your immunization requirements, and calling your doctor for an appointment early to ensure a healthy summer ahead and a healthy plan for Fall!
Geist Family Medicine & Pediatrics
8150 Oaklandon Road
Indianapolis, IN 46236-9554