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The important check-ups your kids need before sending them back to school

(KTIV) – Families have checklists as the school year approaches.

Medical professionals hope vaccinations and physicals are on that list.

Dr. Steven Joyce of MercyOne in Sioux City spoke with KTIV’s Stella Daskalakis about important to-dos.

“Let’s start with vaccinations. Unless you have an updated list, sometimes difficult for parents to remember what vaccinations you haven’t taken them in for, and which ones you have,” said Daskalakis.

“Let’s start with the kindergarten physical. It’s probably one of the most important ones because you can’t start school without them,” said Dr. Joyce. “Some parents will travel from city to city and not have an updated list. In the state of Iowa we have something called IRIS (Immunization Reminder Information System) where if you have gotten them anywhere in the state, it should be logged in there and should be easy for parents and schools to obtain them. But those are probably the most important ones to get, that the kids get their kindergarten physical and kindergarten vaccinations.

“Then the next step is up at the high school level,” continued Dr. Joyce. “They need to get their tetanus and meningitis updated, and that is super important. And then we move into college, and that can get a little more confusing because some vaccines are strongly recommended and some less so, and they need their college entrance physical done too.”

“Can you put an importance on these vaccinations?” asked Daskalakis. “How important are they?”

“We got a taste of that with the measles outbreak this year nationwide. And every state had measles, more so in the northwest where they had less vaccine compliance than we do in the Midwest,” said Dr. Joyce. “So more and more states are cracking down on the religious exemptions or parental exemptions for vaccinations. I think they are exceedingly important. You are talking about some of these conditions that are completely preventable but are 100 percent fatal if you get them. If you get the meningitis vaccine, you’ll be protected. If you don’t and get meningitis, it’s lethal and it’s super important to get those (vaccines).”

“Children grow quickly. Mine are now 23 and 21, and I just remember those stages. so physicals, I made sure to get them in for their physicals,” said Daskalakis.

“Starting at the kindergarten level, we want to see them every year or two to follow their growth and development, kids with short stature or make sure their weight is appropriate, making sure they are healthy for physical activity and sports and things like that,” said Dr. Joyce. “And many sports, especially as they get into high school, but sometimes we lose out on the kids between grade school and high school that just don’t get in so we encourage parents to get them in every year to every other year, making sure that they are growing and developing, no heart murmurs or growth development things.”

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