Back to school: Immunizations and health concerns for the school year

Published: August 5, 2022 11:09 AM EDT

Health concerns are top of mind for many parents sending children off to school.

That runs the gambit of required immunizations, medications your child needs and sports physicals.

Before your child steps on campus, there is a lot of homework for parents, including navigating the halls of vaccinations, medications, physicals and forms.

Lee Health Pediatrician Dr. Thomas Schiller is racing the clock to help parents meet the opening school bell.

“It is the peak of school physical season, and we’re booked out for a couple to three months ahead. So parents should prepare and make their appointments early. And be prepared with their questions and what forms they’re going to need,” Schiller said.

Forms are provided for most things: Many are provided by the schools, others come from the doctor. First on your checklist is the list of medications your child can be given at school.

“If they need school forms for medications at school for say, asthma, they need an EpiPens that, you know, they should make the providers aware of that too so that we can get the forms to the school because they need new forms for that every year,” Schiller said.

Next are the required shots and immunizations your child needs, starting at pre-k.

“There’s several vaccines that are due. So there’s the DTP, the polio, the measles, mumps, rubella, and the chickenpox and two are, are combined,” Schiller said.

The DTP protects from deptheria, tetanus and pertussis.

Measles, mumps and rubella are bundled into the MMR.

The chickenpox vaccine, varicella, is not required if there is documented proof the child previously had the illness.

By grade seven, the Tdap needs repeated.

Proof of immunizations are required.

Another health requirement is the physical. Each child entering the district needs one and so do kids participating in sports.

“We’re checking all aspects. So hearing vision is part of it, blood pressure, certainly, you know, heart and lung. So we’re looking for heart function and stability. Looking for issues with asthma,” Schiller said.

Parents may opt for an additional EKG or electrocardiogram heart screening to look for issues that might result in sudden cardiac death during exertion.

All of these measures are a baseline to protect your child, keeping them healthy and protected.