Checkups for a healthy start to school

PHILADELPHIA- August 8, 2012

5-year-old Tayvon Robinson loves to learn, and as he thinks about starting kindergarten this year, he's -


But before he can start, he's getting a physical. It will include a general assessment, and also some vaccinations, to help prevent preventable diseases.

"Make sure he's safe with that- that's the main priority, because there is a lot going on in school," says Nurse Practitioner Gail Partridge to Tayvon's mother.

There is a special emphasis on the pertussis or whooping cough vaccine this year, because the CDC reports a spike in the number of cases. In fact, it could reach record levels.

Tayvon got his 5th dose of the vaccine today, and he took his shots like a champ.

Older kids will also need a booster of pertussis vaccine called a Tdap at age 11.

Partridge says make sure your child didn't miss it.

"When your child comes in if they have not had a physical in a few years and you think oh they're 14, they need to come in, they might have missed their TDap," she says.

She says another important part of the physical is to assess nutrition and exercise to help prevent childhood obesity.

"All health care providers are taking such a more proactive approach to this," she notes.

Education early can help form healthy habits and prevent obesity-related diseases later in life.

Another reminder - if your child takes any medication, there are special school forms their provider will have to fill out to keep on file at school.

And if they use inhalers for asthma, you should ask their healthcare provider for 2- one for school, to keep with them or the nurse, and a second one to keep at home.

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