TRENTON – As families are preparing to go back to school for the fall, the State Department of Health is encouraging them to get more than bookbags and pencil cases before September.
Giving children age-appropriate vaccines will help protect against diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, measles, mumps, rubella, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), hepatitis B, varicella (chickenpox) and pneumococcal disease, according to a press release by the state. In addition to saving your own child’s health, you are also reducing the spread of disease to others.
“August is National Immunization Month, which serves as a reminder to parents about the importance of getting their children vaccinated to protect against diseases throughout the school year,” said Acting Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Making sure your children are vaccinated on time not only ensures their long-term health but also their academic achievement.”
Younger children frequently spread diseases to each other due to the poor hygiene of kids, like improper hand washing and not covering their coughs and sneezes. But these can lead to diseases more dangerous than the common cold.
As the kids get older, their vulnerabilities to diseases change. They might be more likely to practice good hygiene, but they might be at the age where diseases like meningococcal disease and infections that can lead to human papillomavirus (HPV) cancers are more of an issue, the statement said. Therefore, it’s important for older children to stay up-to-date on their vaccines. Additionally, booster shots against diseases like tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis might be needed since childhood vaccines may wear off over time.
Parents are urged to speak to their child’s healthcare provider to make sure they are current on their shots.
“We have a shared responsibility to ensure all children arrive at school healthy and ready to learn,” said New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet. “We join the parents, educators and health officials throughout New Jersey as we highlight the importance of ensuring children have the appropriate vaccinations as they return to the classroom.”
More information about vaccines, recommended immunization schedules for all age groups and programs that provide vaccines at no cost to children of low-income families can be found at the CDC website at cdc.gov/vaccines.
Students interested in athletics should get a screening to determine if there are any medical issues before joining in a sport. The strenuous activity could be dangerous or even deadly for someone who has underlying – but unknown – issues including cardiovascular, neurologic, visual, orthopedic, general medical and mental health.
Serious medical issues can happen when participating in a physical activity. Concussions, for example, are caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way the brain normally works. Reported symptoms related to concussions include headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and blurry vision. More information on concussions can be found at cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_symptoms.html.