Getting Your Child Back-to-School Ready

Jul 15, 2021 10:48:00 AM / by Voyage Healthcare Team posted in Family Medicine, Voyage Healthcare News

Summer is officially here and it feels like a gift. It is a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with your family taking in the fresh air and the long days. Although everyone deserves a break after the challenges of this past year, it may be an opportune time to mark one last thing off your to-do list before you officially check out for a well-deserved summer break!

If you have school-aged children, consider scheduling their immunizations and sports physicals to make sure you have ample time to get all your appointments (and paperwork) completed before fall. 

Why Are Vaccines Important?

Vaccines in children are crucial for year-round health during the school year, as they help protect against diseases that are serious and life-threatening. Many diseases like COVID-19, meningitis, measles, and the flu can cause kids to miss out on valuable education and diminish their health, or worse, lead to death. When kids aren’t vaccinated, they are not only at an increased risk for becoming sick from deadly diseases, but they can spread diseases to others in their community.

Father and son in the countryside on a sunny day

What You Need To Know About Immunizations

Do you know if your state requires your child to get vaccines before the school year starts? The CDC offers a State Information Website for immunizations where you can learn about what your particular state requires for children going to school. 

At Voyage Healthcare, we accept a wide range of insurance carriers, but if you don’t have health insurance or your policy doesn’t cover all vaccines, your child might be eligible for the Vaccines for Children program. Take a look at our payment options for more information on how you can pay for immunizations.

Vaccines Checklist for Kids Age 0-16

There are quite a few shots that children need throughout their lifetime. We've broken down each one, as well as the age, in this short checklist:

Newborn through Six-Years Old:

  • Annual flu vaccine: Protects against Influenza (flu)
  • DTaP: Protects against Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
  • Hib: Protects against Hib which is Haemophilus influenzae type b
  • HepA: Protects against Hepatitis A
  • HepB: Protects against Hepatitis B
  • MMR: Protects against Measles, Mumps, Rubella
  • PCV13: Protects against Pneumococcus
  • IPV: Protects against Polio
  • RV: Protects against Rotavirus
  • Varicella Vaccine: Protects against Chickenpox

Preteen though Teenage (7-18):

  • Annual Flu Vaccine: Protects against Influenza (flu)
  • Tdap: Booster shot against Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (Whooping Cough)
  • PCV13: Protects against Pneumococcus
  • IPV: Protects against Polio
  • Varicella Vaccine: Protects against Chickenpox
  • MMR: Booster against Measles, Mumps, Rubella
  • HepA: Protects against Hepatitis A
  • HepB: Protects against Hepatitis B
  • HPV: Protects against Human Papillomavirus
  • Meningococcal Vaccine: Meningococcal disease (meningitis and bloodstream infections)
  • COVID-19 vaccine (currently ages 12+)

Missed Any Vaccines?

Don’t worry if your child has missed some of their recommended vaccines. At your appointment, let your provider know, and they will use a catch-up immunization schedule. These schedules help to get your child back on the right track, and more importantly, healthy for the school year!

Sports Physicals

With more than 46 million kids participating in sports each year, making sure your child is okay to play is the first step before they hit the field, gym, court, or track. Sports physicals are largely required by athletic leagues and schools − and for good reason. They raise awareness of any issues that may interfere with your child’s ability to participate in a sport.

volleyball game sport with group of young girl indoor in sport arena

Why Sports Physicals are Important

A sports physical, known as a pre-participation physical examination, helps to determine whether or not a child is physically able to participate in a sport safely. The intent of a sports physical is to:

  • Assess your student athlete’s general health and current fitness level
  • Screen for existing illnesses and injuries, including life-threatening conditions
  • Help detect conditions or factors that could increase your athlete’s risk of illness or injury
  • Ensure that any chronic medical conditions are appropriately managed
  • Provide strategies to prevent injuries and promote safe participation in sports

What to Expect During a Sports Physical

A Family Medicine provider will check your child's vitals, joints, eyes, and flexibility. A medical history review will also be completed, as knowing about any past illnesses, surgeries, or conditions will help diagnose problems and prevent complications in the future. 

It’s important to note that a sports physical does not take the place of a regular annual checkup or physical because a sports physical focuses on health history that may have a direct impact on a child’s ability to play a sport.

While a sports physical does typically cover much of what happens during an annual exam, it’s still important to schedule a separate annual checkup for your child in addition to any physicals that may be required for participation in sports.

Get your kids back-to-school-ready with an appointment at one of our Voyage Healthcare locations!

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Voyage Healthcare Team

Written by Voyage Healthcare Team

Voyage Healthcare is an independently owned, multi-specialty healthcare clinic — guided by the doctors who care for families in the northwest metro area of Minneapolis/St. Paul.


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