ORLANDO, Fla. – Students headed back to school in less than a month have several items on the health checklist to consider this summer.
Board certified pediatrician Dr. Candice Jones said parents of teens should check with their doctor’s office about when to move to a general practitioner.
”So some may see their patients until 18 and then they transition you to the adult world, but some may keep their patients until 21,” Jones said.
Around 10th or 11th grade, Jones said she interviews teen patients about their medical history, medications and past hospitalizations to be sure they remember their own health history.
”Just teaching them how to advocate for their health and maintain their health on their own,” Jones said. ”I tell them, ‘I’m preparing you because one day you’re going to leave home, you’re going to go off to college or military or somewhere and you’ve got to do this on your own.’”
College-bound teens aged 17 and 18 also need to check with their school about adolescent immunizations.
”Hepatitis B, they want to make sure you’ve had your MMR, varicella, those teenage vaccines like your TDAP, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis vaccine… and especially meningitis vaccinations,” Jones said.
She recommended visiting a college campus beforehand and finding the nearest health center, urgent care and hospital with your teen.
Some have asked if schools in Florida will start requiring the COVID-19 vaccinations for children this fall.
”I don’t think so, you know, I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t have all the answers,” Dr. Jones said. ”What I will say is that if your child is 12 and up, I highly recommend and want to encourage you to get them immunized against COVID19.”
Jones said her practice has started to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to pediatric patients and their parents.
”I think that’s an extra layer of comfort when a parent can get it with the pediatrician at the office that’s their medical home where they’re comfortable versus getting it out somewhere else,” Jones said.