Back-to-school health reminders from BR doctors; what vaccines your child will need
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Many parents may be back-to-school shopping, but doctors said it’s also time for back-to-school vaccine appointments. The Louisiana Department of Health has an updated list of required vaccinations to attend Louisiana schools.
Ochsner Family Medicine Dr. Melissa Love said there are a few back-to-school vaccines to be mindful of, including a list for incoming kindergarteners. That includes Tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, Measles, and some others. There are other vaccines needed to start 6th and 11th grade.
Remember some of these vaccines require multiple doses over a certain period of time.
Dr. Love shares her biggest message as we approach the first day of school.
“Make sure that they’re not in one of these special age groups, maybe going into kindergarten or if they’re with 11 to 12 or 16 age group, making sure that they’re up to date,” said Dr. Love. “And then also going ahead and if you haven’t done a yearly checkup with a primary care physician, now’s a great time to get in before the school year starts. So that you’ve already lined up having either pediatrician, a family practitioner, somebody so that if your kids do get sick or something else arises, you got somebody to reach out to and don’t have to run to the emergency room.”
She said she’s diagnosed more COVID in the last two weeks than in the last six months. Remember to practice the basics like handwashing and using alcohol-based cleaners.
Dr. Tony Johnson with Baton Rouge General is also stressing the importance of getting in with your primary health care provider. He said you should also get an annual checkup for your child before school starts.
It’s also check time to check in and make sure your child is getting enough sleep. He recommends kids 13 and over get about eight to 10 hours. Kids under 13 should get about 10 to 12 hours of sleep.
So do you have children that have been staying up late? Dr. Johnson explains when parents should bring back the back-to-school sleeping routine.
“I would probably say about a week or two before school starts just trying to get them back into the regimented routine,” said Dr. Johnson. “You know children are very routine minded so if you can kind of start getting them kind of prepared for the cycle then that will prevent the early morning frustrations on the first day of school.”
Another reminder he has when it comes to health, make sure your child’s backpack is not too loose or not too tight. The padding should be on the child’s shoulders.
Ten to 20% of your child’s body weight is about how heavy the backpack needs to be. Anything over that could cause back issues, he said.
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