Back to school means back-to-school physicals, too

Back to school means back-to-school physicals, too

CHAMPAIGN — The new notebooks and pencils are probably on the list, but don't forget the back-to-school health requirements.

Kids in some grades must have a physical or dental exam for the new school year, and there are also some new vaccine requirements to meet.

Amber Oberheim, an advanced practice nurse for Christie Clinic in Monticello, says physicals are a good idea at the start of a new school year, whether they're required for your child's grade or not.

"The child gets a fairly comprehensive physical, which doesn't always happen during the acute visit throughout the year," she says.

Questions about growth and development? Safety concerns you'd like to discuss with your child or adolescent present? This is the time to bring these things up, Oberheim says.

And for kids who still just don't like going to the doctor, these exams present a good opportunity to help kids build bonds with their health care givers at a less stressful time when they're not sick, she adds.

"There's a little more time set aside," Oberheim says.

What is required: Physical exams for students starting pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, sixth and ninth grades, and all vaccines must be up to date.

Dental exams are also required for students entering kindergarten, second and sixth grades.

A sports physical, done separately and required for each year a child or teen is involved in sports, will include more of an assessment to make sure students are fit enough to exert the kind of energy required for their sport and avoid injury, Oberheim says.

Some chances coming up to meet school health requirements:

— Champaign-Urbana Days at Douglass Park from 7-8:30 p.m. Aug. 8 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 9.

That event will include free school physicals, sports physicals, immunizations and dental exams. The dental exams will be available one day only, Aug. 9.

Walk-ins will be accepted, but priority will be given to those making an appointment by calling 721-6540. Ask for Sheri Willilamson.

The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is offering free school  physicals from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. (or until reaching capacity) Aug. 16, Sept. 20, Oct. 4 and Oct. 18 at 201 W. Kenyon Road, C.

There is a charge for vaccinations of $23 each, but the health district will bill Medicaid and insurance for those with coverage.

Slight change in vaccine requirements

New vaccine requirements beginning with the upcoming school year won't affect many kids. They were newly added to revised school code requirements, but other than the second dose of the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine, they've all been part of the routine childhood vaccination series most kids have had, according to Brandon Meline, maternal and child health director for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

The changes for the upcoming school year include these requirements:

Hepatitis B: Entering grade 6, 3 doses or other proof of immunity.

Rubella: K-12, 2 doses or other proof of immunity.

Mumps: K-12, 2 doses or other acceptable immunity.

Varicella: Grades K, 6 and 9, 2 doses or proof of prior varicella disease or lab immunity.

Invasive pneumococcal disease: Under age 2 entering child care or school program below kindergarten must show proof of immunization complying with state dose schedule; children 24-59 months who haven't received primary vaccine series according to recommended schedule must show proof of receiving one vaccine dose.