As the new school year looms around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about the dreaded back-to-school vaccines. Understandably, this can be a cause of stress for many parents and even more so for children. It’s never a fun time having your skin pierced by a needle.
Texas laws requires that students show proof of vaccination before attending any childcare facility, or public or private elementary or secondary school.
As schools begin to open back up after a year of COVID-19 precautions and online classes, it is more important than ever to make sure that your child is fully prepared with all of their back-to-school vaccines. The CDC recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for children age 12 and older even if your child will be returning to class in a virtual format.
Vaccines are important cornerstones for long-term health and the prevention of more serious health issues in your child’s future. They also provide protection, or “herd immunity” to babies and people with compromised immune systems who may not be able to receive vaccinations.
As you schedule your child’s back-to-school vaccinations, here are a few tips to keep in mind to help them through the process.
1.Stay up to date on yearly checkups and vaccine records.
Staying up to date on your child’s vaccines not only helps keep them safe but also prevents them from having to receive multiple doses in one visit. One set of vaccines is painful enough, letting them accumulate into one visit will only make the experience worse. The more discomfort your child experiences, the less willing they will be to come back next time.
The CDC has a helpful immunization schedule on their website that tells you what vaccines your child needs according to age, to help you schedule your kids back-to-school vaccinations.
2.Be prepared and be honest
Do not lie to your child about getting shots during their visit. If they ask, be honest to them, and explain to them why they need their back-to-school vaccinations.
It may be helpful to call your doctor’s office ahead of the appointment and ask which vaccines they will be receiving during their visit. If you know your child will be nervous, this would be a great opportunity to ask about numbing options such as lidocaine cream or patches.
Prepare your child early on for their checkup to take away the anxiety and help ease them through the vaccination process.
3.Bring a distraction item
Bringing an item that your kid enjoys can help them take their mind off of the pain to come. A good example of a distraction item would be a favorite toy or a tablet to play on. For most children, seeing the needle can make them even more uneasy so having something else to keep their focus on will help the process move along smoother.
While your doctor is administering the vaccine, try starting a conversation with your child. Ask them questions about their interests to help keep them engaged in positive thoughts.
4.Act calm and happy
Be reassuring and stay positive, kids will often take cues from those around them. If you stay calm, your child will understand that they are not in any danger.
As you talk them through the process, eye contact can be a powerful tool to help calm your child. Studies have shown that prolonged eye-contact helps release oxytocin which can help lower stress and anxiety.
Once the worst is over, be sure to offer a lot of praise and comfort. If you are worried about injection site soreness feel free to ask your doctor about the best pain management options for your child should you need them.
Consider planning a reward for them after their back-to-school vaccinations so they have something to look forward to. Offering a small treat such as ice cream, or a trip to their favorite park might take away a bit of the negative feelings they had about getting their shots.
As a parent it is not easy to see your child in discomfort, make it easier on yourself and clear your schedule for the day.
Don’t let back-to-school vaccinations intimidate you, Quality Urgent Care’s family-owned locations have your back! Visit any of our convenient locations (Pleasanton, Schertz, 1604 N Potranco, 281 N Redland Road, I-35 South Palo Alto Road) that are ready to serve you and your family. Call ahead to schedule your back-to-school vaccinations.