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Mommy Minute: Health checklist as your child heads back to school

School is almost in session, and while many parents have likely purchased new backpacks and sneakers, far too many don't take inventory of their child's health needs.

Providers at the CVS MinuteClinic in Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County say there are five main areas that parents should focus on.

Immunizations

Is your child up to date on all shots? Nurse Practitioner Jessica Clabaugh says this is especially important for kids entering Kindergarten, seventh and 12th grades.

"Last year, Pennsylvania passed a law that all kids must be up to date on their vaccines by day one of school or risk not being able to attend," Clabaugh said.

Checkups and Sports Physicals

Does your child need one?  If so, you might want to act fast as doctors are often over-booked this time of year.

"In sixth and 11th grade, all children are required to have a comprehensive health assessment within four months of beginning school," Clabaugh said.

Daily Medications

Is your child on a daily medication? If they are, now is the time to come up with a plan with the school nurse.

"Schools don't allow children to self-administer medicines, so if your child has a chronic health condition like asthma or diabetes, or really anything that necessitates a daily medication, contact the school nurse now to decide how the distribution will look," Clabaugh said.

Lunch

What's for lunch? Decide if your child will buy a school lunch or pack one from home.

"I prefer if you're able to pack a lunch with your child together," Clabaugh said. "That way as a team you're talking about healthy choices."

Beat the Heat

Is your child prepared to beat the heat? It's recommended that parents apply sunscreen in the morning. If the school allows it, they can also pack some in their backpack to reapply during the day.  Parents should also keep in mind that kids can become dehydrated.

"Make sure your child has a water bottle that they like and that they'll use," Clabaugh said.

For more information about the state's immunization requirements, click here.


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