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Doctors Recommend Back to School Shots

Summer is reaching the halfway point, and with it comes time to prepare for the new school year. But besides supplies, health experts are telling parents not to forget one crucial prep: getting your child vaccinated.

There’s only about four more weeks until kids will be boarding the bus and heading back to the classroom. While school is a great time for kids to make or reunite with friends, one thing parents don’t want them sharing is germs.

Doctors are saying its never too early to get shots, and you can even beat the back to school rush.

((dr. Emma martz)

“We have this golden opportunity to prevent disease,” explained Dr. Emma Martz with Deaconess Hospital.

Through her practice of family medicine, Dr. Martz knows a thing or two about infections, and how to keep kids across the Tri-State from getting sick.

It starts at an early age.

“Certainly if you’re going to kindergarten, you get those eponymous five-year-old shots. Measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox,” Dr. Martz listed.

Measles in particular is on the rise this year, with the Centers for Disease Control attributing outbreaks across the country to skipping the shot.

Parents are seeming to shy away from the chicken pox jab, including Kentucky’s First Family, and one Commonwealth student going as far to sue his school over not getting it.

“I’m missing the next two weeks. That’s what the health department says, that I’m not allowed to go to school,” stated Jerome Kunkel, who declined the chicken pox vaccine.

But Dr. Martz recommends avoiding intentional infection.

“They itch for a while, they feel bad but it can be pretty dangerous if you expose your kid to chicken pox. They won’t get a rash, they can get pneumonia, dehydration, they can be in the hospital. To intentionally expose your kid to chicken pox? I would just get the shot,” she cited.

Dr. Martz says that kids should be good for a few years after kindergarten on shots, with meningitis and HPV vaccines recommended for pre-teens and teenagers

Vaccination protects not only your kids, but the community as well.

“If everybody says, ‘oh, all these other people are getting vaccinated, I don’t need to,’ then we lose herd immunity,” Dr. Martz explained. “If enough people don’t get vaccinated we can keep these disease in our population and it puts other people at risk.”

But its not something you have to put off until school gets closer–as Owensboro Public Schools reminded at the beginning of this past school year.

“Hopefully everybody’s been on top of it, but there’s always some people that wait until the last minute,” said spokesman Jared Levlett.

Being on top of it helps keep kids in the classroom this year, instead of home sick.

But make sure you keep your records up to date, with some schools requiring certificates and other paperwork for certain grade levels.

When you’re making an appointment, bringing along a photo id, insurance cards, and child vaccination records if you have a copy can help make the doctor’s trip an easy one.

If the cost of vaccines is a concern there are free or reduced price options.

A link to those resources can be found here.

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