Avera Medical Minute: Back-to-school health checklist

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 5:40 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - School will be here before you know it. There are some things families need to start doing now before their kids head back to class this fall.

The Meyers family is preparing to go back to school, which includes an annual check-up for each child.

“My oldest son grew seven inches last year, so there’s a lot of developmental things going on there. And so it just makes me feel better. It’s a good piece of mind for me for them to see their providers regularly,” said Lindsey Meyers.

Avera Pediatrician Dr. Kara Bruning recommends parents schedule back-to-school check-ups as soon as possible.

“We have to get these children in, we can only schedule so many a day and we’re already starting to book out. So please call your doctor right now, get your child in for their back-to-school physicals, so we can make sure they are ready to go,” said Dr. Bruning.

Dr. Bruning says annual physicals and sports physicals are important to keep up to date.

“We look at developmentally, make sure the kids are doing okay, check on their growth, check on all those kinds of things, make sure their vaccines are up to date. So it’s not just to come in and fill out that form that you need for sports. It’s to make sure your child is doing well and thriving,” said Dr. Bruning.

“Schools do send kids home that are not vaccinated, you don’t want your kid to come home because they didn’t get their vaccines,” she added.

However, some families haven’t been to the clinic in a while due to the pandemic.

“It’s very safe to come back to the clinic, we want you to come in, we want those vaccine numbers to come back up to keep everybody as healthy as possible,” said Dr. Bruning.

Children age 12 and up qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s recommended they get the shot before school starts.

“If your kid gets exposed, you may be out for ten days like we did it last year. But if they are vaccinated you may not have to do that if they are otherwise doing well,” said Dr. Bruning.

“We can give those too while you’re here with other vaccines if we need to. It is safe to do them all at the same time now, which is great,” she added.

Finn Meyers is going into eighth grade and recently got vaccinated against the virus.

“I was a little nervous right away, but once I got it, it didn’t really hurt and I only really had just a slightly sore arm,” said Finn.

He also got his annual check-up out of the way.

“Check-up was pretty quick. It was maybe less than 20 minutes where he just checked on how we were doing and just asked us a couple of questions and it seemed pretty normal,” said Finn.

Younger brother Miles is going into kindergarten. He isn’t able to get vaccinated yet. So parents are taking different precautions.

“We’re going to get him some masks for school if he needs to be wearing those. As he goes back, teaching him about handwashing. He’ll be in a new classroom with new germs and new things around him,” said Lindsey.

As well as making sure Miles is up to date on all his other shots. That way he’s prepared to head to class.

For more information on annual check-ups, head to avera.org.

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