Have a healthy kid: Back to school shots - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Have a healthy kid: Back to school shots

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 RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - The first day of school is fast approaching and that means it's time for your kids to get vaccinated. 

News Channel 5's Noelle Bellow reports.

Before you pick up your child's new backpack, you might want to head to the doctor.

"There are two main groups of children that we are concerned about this time of year, one is the 4-year-olds starting pre-k or kindergarten, the other is the 11-year-olds starting junior high," said Dr. John Clark, a pediatrician.

School begins in Rapides Parish on August 12, and Dr. Clark says it's important to get your kids vaccinated early. 

"The vaccine program is the single best public health success in the history of the world," said Dr. Clark. "When you mix younger kids with older kids, there are some viruses and bacteria that can transfer and cause major illness. One of those is Whooping Cough, or Pertussis".

Both groups will need that shot. And 4-year-olds will need their Chicken Pox and Measles boosters.

"Germs pass very quickly with 4, 5 and 6-year-old children because they're touchy-freely type people. They touch everything they get around," said Dr. Clark.

Even if you have to take your kids kicking and screaming to the doctor over he next few weeks, Dr. Clark says these vaccines can be the difference between life and death.

"11-year-old's, we’re giving them their first Meningitis vaccine. This can be deadly if a child catches this without the vaccine," he said.

11-year-old girls and boys are also urged to receive the Gardasil vaccine, to prevent Human Papilloma Virus. 

"The reason we give vaccines at 11-years-old is because at 11, kids have higher immune response to vaccines than other years," said Dr. Clark.

Dr. Clark and parents agree, keeping a healthy kid is a year round practice. 

Mom of five, Ashley Ware said, "We wash our hands, before meals after, during play, when we come in and when we go out. We also try not to share drinks and snacks with others".

Parent Crystal Floss said, "Diet is really important, make sure they’re getting enough good foods and exercise and enough sleep at night."

Dr. Clark is urging parents to make their appointments as soon as possible. That way you can avoid the back-to-school rush. 

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