Mary Zaleski

Director of Communication Services

Sarah Davis

Communications Specialist

How to make health a priority this back-to-school season

Child getting immunization

Does your back-to-school checklist include getting your kids vaccinated? As a parent, making sure your child is vaccinated before the school year begins is an important step toward ensuring their long-term health and abiding by the state immunization laws. Vaccination not only protects your child, but also helps protect the health of classmates, friends, relatives and others in the community.

According to Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR), as of June 20, 2019, only 59.1% of children and 40.5% of adolescents are up to date on all their recommended vaccinations. Follow the recommendations below to help protect your school-age child from serious diseases.

Check Your Child’s Immunization Records

Determine what vaccines your child needs, and catch up on any missed vaccines before the school year begins. There are a few places to look to find your child’s immunization records. The following agencies may have a copy of the records:

·      Pediatrician’s office

·      Oakland County Health Division

·      Your child’s school or day care center

·      Your child’s college, should they be of adult age

Follow the Recommended Immunization Schedule

Vaccine-preventable diseases can be very serious, may require hospitalization, or even be deadly – especially in infants and young children. Use the CDC’s Recommended Immunization Schedule and work with your healthcare provider to determine what vaccines your child needs.

Three vaccines are recommended specifically for preteens, in addition to a yearly flu vaccine:

  • HPV vaccine protects against HPV infections that can cause cancer later in life.
  • Tdap is a booster shot to help protect preteens from whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria.
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against meningitis, and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia). These illnesses can be very serious, even fatal.

Get an Annual Flu Shot

Annual flu vaccines are recommended for children 6 months and older. Each year, millions of children get sick from seasonal flu. Thousands are hospitalized and some children die from flu. Children of any age with chronic health problems like asthma, diabetes, and disorders of the brain or nervous system are at especially high risk of serious flu complications.

Hepatitis A and Measles

Over the last three years, Oakland County experienced two vaccine-preventable outbreaks – hepatitis A and measles.

·      Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver cause by a virus. Symptoms may include sudden onset of abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, tiredness, loss of appetite and/or headache followed by yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice).

·      Measles is a respiratory illness with rash caused by the rubeola virus. Measles starts with a fever and at least one of the "three C"s: cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis. It's followed by a rash that starts on the face and spreads over the body.

Vaccination is recommended for everyone and is the best protection against both hepatitis A and measles.

Vaccines are available at the Oakland County Health Division. Appointments are strongly encouraged and can be made at www.oakgov.com/health. Health Division offices are located at the following addresses:

·      North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac

·      South Oakland Health Center, 27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield

For more information about immunizations, visit www.oakgov.com/health or call Oakland County Nurse on Call at (800) 848-5533, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. Follow @PublicHealthOC on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for up-to-date public health information.

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