Back-to-School Health Checkup
Here's a primer on exactly what your child needs to have a safe and healthy school year.
Age 11-12 continued...
In addition, a combination booster for
tetanus and diphtheria (Td) should be given if at least five years have passed
since the last Td vaccine.
Although flu vaccines are not specifically
recommended for this age group, any child at increased risk for
complications from the flu, including those with asthma, sickle cell disease,
HIV, diabetes, and heart disease, should receive an annual flu vaccine.
For more information on current vaccination
schedules, guidelines, shortages, and answers to frequently asked questions,
visit the CDC's National Immunization Program web site or call the National
Immunization Hotline at (800) 232-2522 (English) or (800) 232-0233
Health Problems to Watch for:
Once a child is infected with lice, the
tiny bugs can spread quickly to other children though close contact or sharing
personal items such as hairbrushes, combs, scarves, and hats. Symptoms include
itching, and tiny brown or white eggs called nits may be seen on shafts of hair
(although you may need a magnifying glass to see them). If you suspect lice,
you can try a nonprescription product to kill the lice or contact a health
professional to confirm the diagnosis.
Lice do not usually cause any serious
health problems. But contact a doctor if your child develops signs of a skin
infection, such as fever, pain, swelling, or redness at the infestation site,
or a discharge of pus.
Although most school cafeterias have been
instructed to avoid serving items that might cause a severe allergic reaction,
there are still potential pitfalls at school that parents of children with food
allergies should prepare for.
Food allergies are more common in children
than in adults, although many will outgrow them. The most common foods that
cause allergies in children are those with a high protein content, such as
peanuts, milk, wheat, soy, and eggs.
If your child has food allergies, you
should instruct him to avoid sharing food with classmates or friends at school,
and at other events such as bake sales, class outings, or parties. Provide your
child with his own food and snacks for field trips and other school-related
events where they may encounter problem foods.