Getting Students Ready With Back To School Check-Ups

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The back to school rush is in full swing, from shopping for school supplies to picking up new clothing for what kids have outgrown. With so many errands there's one stop parents don't want to forget, back to school doctor's check-ups.

"We don't want any barriers to children starting school on time and having what they need," said Ingham County Deputy Health Officer Debbie Edokpolo.

Getting students ready starts with making sure they're in good health.
That's why the Ingham County Health Department is holding its annual health fair. The department is offering health screenings all at little to no cost.

"Staying ahead of the curve is most important if you can get it taken care of," Edokpolo said. "Your shots, if they need immunizations if they need they're hearing screened."

Parents can bring any school-aged child in for appointments. The department is offering dental, hearing and vision screenings. The center also has an immunization clinic where students can get all the shots they need for the first day.

"DTap, polio, measles, mumps and rubella and chicken poxs," said the department's Immunization Program Supervisor Wendy Ridenour, listing off the vaccines kindergarteners need.

The Michigan Department of Health checks vaccination for students in kindergarten, seventh grade and anyone who changes school districts. But health care providers say it's important to keep kids up to date on their vaccines.

"As soon as kids get into school and there's a lot of kids around each other they spread germs among each other really easily so it's better to get them vaccinated before they get into that kind of environment," Ridenour added.

With flu season getting closer, the department is already starting to think ahead.

"It's not too early to get vaccinated and it's very important that everybody gets a flu shot every year," Ridenour said.

Each year up to 20 percent of people in the United States get the flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized because of it. So getting the vaccine is an important first line of defense.

"It does work, it's effective, it's the best thing that we have you know to protect people from the flu," Ridenour explained.

Since influenza can easily be transmitted by air the department is recommending students get the vaccine as early as possible.

"All the kids that are in school they're already spreading germs around and so protecting them from the flu vaccine is a good thing to do," Ridenour said.

The health center has ordered the vaccine and is expecting the delivery sometime over the next two weeks. People can make appointments and there are limited openings for walk-ins.

No matter the discomfort of a shot, focusing on health now lets students move on to the next challenge.

"They can focus on their school work and get it done and be successful," Edokpolo said.

The fair runs through the end of this week at the Health Center off Cedar Street in Lansing.

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