By Betsy Crick
August means back to school, and it’s also National Immunization Awareness Month. While you’re buying school supplies and planning to meet your child’s teacher for the very first time – don’t forget the most important item on your list: making sure your son’s or daughter’s vaccinations are up to date.
- Children in 5-year-old kindergarten and first grade are required to have two doses of chicken pox vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two doses for better protection against the disease.
- South Carolina 7th, 8th and 9th graders are required to have one dose of tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis booster vaccine. This booster vaccine is called Tdap. In addition, there are other vaccines recommended for adolescents, including vaccines to protect them against meningitis and HPV-associated cancers. Talk to your health care provider about these adolescent vaccines.
- Flu season is just around the corner! CDC recommends that everyone who is 6 months of age and older and can receive the flu vaccine should get the vaccine as soon as it is available. Stay tuned for more information about school-located vaccine clinics which will be offered this fall.
Click here for the 2015-2016 “Required Standards of Immunization for School Attendance” and the “Required Standards of Immunization for Day Care Attendance.”
Many illness outbreaks in schools and child care facilities are due to vaccine-preventable diseases such as flu and pertussis. Getting all required vaccines is important and is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of disease.
Talk with your child’s health care professional to find out which vaccines your child may need. To locate the DHEC Clinic nearest to you, please visit our website.
There are some other actions you can take to help protect yourself, your family and those around you from getting sick, including:
- Frequent handwashing. Wash your hands with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover your cough with a tissue or the crook of your elbow – not your hands. Be sure to cover your mouth and nose. If using a tissue, throw it in the trash immediately and wash your hands.
- Stay away from others who are obviously sick. The best way to avoid them is by keeping a safe distance.
- Stay home from work, school and errands when you’re sick. You don’t want to make others around you sick.
- Live healthy. Keep yourself strong by eating properly, exercising, and getting plenty of rest.