Are you thinking about back-to-school yet? Students may not be ready to hit the books, but it’s good to plan ahead for their healthcare needs. Rather than wait until the last minute, schedule appointments for annual exams (if needed), sports physicals, and vaccinations – even for the college students.
Is it time for your child’s annual well-child visit? By scheduling it during the summer, you’ll know they’re healthy before the fall busyness kicks in. They also won’t miss out on school or activities to go to a doctor’s appointment. If they are due for vaccinations, they can get them during this visit. The regular vaccines for babies, children, and teens cover about 14 preventable diseases. It is important that they are given on schedule.
Read Pediatric Preventative Care and Immunizations for more information from Dr. David Polzin.
Depending on their age, when you make your child’s appointment ask about having them vaccinated against COVID-19. Children ages 12–15 can now receive Pfizer’s (Pfizer-BioNTech) COVID-19 vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved the vaccine for those 16 and older, and it’s now approved for emergency use for the younger age group. Because the Pfizer vaccination requires two shots given two weeks apart, plan ahead to time them around family vacations, activities/sports, or the beginning of school.
Do you have a young athlete or two in your family? In Minnesota, sports physicals are required for students entering 7th and 10th grade prior to participating in sports. Since most fall sports begin practice in the summer, get the form from your school’s athletic department and have it filled out by the doctor at your child’s appointment. Your healthcare provider may also have the form needed for your area.
Does your college student know how to handle simple health conditions that may arise? They can always call home or google “how to reduce a fever,” but give them a head start on independence. Send them with a simple first-aid kit that includes a thermometer and basic medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain or fever.
Many colleges and universities require a comprehensive physical exam. This includes vaccinations, such as MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), tetanus, and hepatitis B—some may also require a COVID-19 vaccination. If your college student is getting a vaccine that requires two shots (Pfizer or Moderna), time it so they have the second vaccine before they move to college. TB testing, mental health screening, and vision and dental checkups are also beneficial before leaving home.
And speaking to the young adults who are soon going off to college, you may want to consider allowing a member of your family to have access to your medical records or to speak to a healthcare provider in case of an emergency. This is handled with a simple form that you can get from your clinic.
Enjoy your summer as you prepare for fall!