Spring is an especially busy time for high school seniors. There’s prom, graduation, a summer of celebrations and, for many, a lot of preparations for college.
As you help your teen transition from high school to college, make sure he’s up to date with his vaccines.
More teens today are being exposed to those old illnesses confined to 19th century novels, i.e. measles, mumps and whooping cough, in school and on college campuses where large numbers of people are together in close quarters.
Making matters worse, measles is making a comeback as it is brought in from other countries by travelers. The disease wouldn’t spread as quickly – or be as serious – if people were immunized against it. The problem is many teens aren’t.
“Teenagers are commonly exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases, such as pertussis, meningitis and influenza, to name a few,” said Dr. Amanda Gogol-Tagliaferro, of Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics Fairlawn. “Teens should continue to follow up with their pediatrician at least yearly for checkups.”
By receiving proper vaccinations as your child grows up they are protected from these preventable diseases.
Vaccines that college students may need
Here’s a list of vaccines your teen should have:
- Meningococcal vaccine: All kids ages 11-18 need this vaccine. First-year college students living in a dorm may need to get it again if they received it when they were younger than 16. Check with your teen’s physician. Studies have shown this group to be at particular risk of contracting meningococcal meningitis, a bacterial infection that results in swelling and inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
- Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccine (Tdap): Tdap is routinely recommended as a single dose for those 11 through 18 years of age with preferred administration at 11 through 12 years of age. After getting a dose of Tdap, the CDC recommends getting the Td shot every 10 years.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV): This vaccine protects against HPV, the most common cause of cervical cancer. It also protects against some other types of cancers, such as cancer of the anus, penis and throat, as well as genital warts. To learn more about this vaccine, read The HPV Debate: Should Your Child Get Vaccinated?
Your teen may also need to catch up on other vaccines including measles, mumps, rubella, polio, chickenpox, hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
Make sure you and your teen know which vaccines are required by her college. If your doctor doesn’t offer some of these vaccines, check with your local health department. Also, keep a record of all your immunizations. MyChart makes it easy to keep all this information in one, secure place that’s easily accessible.