Vaccinations not optional when heading back to school

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Back to school can keep you busy, but as you're grabbing school supplies and packing lunches, don't forget your child's health is really what matters most.

Put your kids vaccinations on the top of your back to school to do list and make sure your kids get their shots. It's simple: when you get vaccines you minimize the chance you and the people around you will get sick. This is not an option, there are vaccines your kids must have, from as young as Kindergarten, up until 12th grade, in order to walk through school doors. These are not Horry County school rules, but state requirements.

The only excuse to not have the required shots are medical exemptions, with a doctor's note and religious exemptions which can be very difficult to get.

One of the newer requirements is for 7th graders to get the Tdap vaccine; it's routine to have the shot by this age. One dose will protect your kids from catching tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis- also known as the whooping cough, which can be spread right in the classroom.

Nationally, pertussis numbers are on the rise, which is why the shot needs to be taken seriously. This year already, DHEC reported 85 cases in South Carolina; five of those were in Horry County.

Just as easy as many illnesses spread, they are to avoid, with that one shot. Doctors say back to school should remind you to get the non-required shots as well. Each year, you never know which illnesses will hit the schools.

Urgent Beach Care doctor Ronald K Reynolds said there is a "very wide spectrum of illnesses through the school year. We saw a lot of bronchitis, saw a lot of pneumonia this season, and the sinus issues were very rampant this year."

While thinking about back to school shots, like Tdap, doctors say you should think ahead for other ways you can protect your kids.

It's too early to know which illnesses to prepare for, so, the sooner you can protect yourself from the big ones, like the flu, the better. Flu shots come out as early as the end of September, you should grab shots before the season hits.

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