As you check off the list of back-to-school items for your child, be sure to remember routine vaccines and an annual health wellness check.
Tidelands Health Pediatrics at Holmestown Road in Myrtle Beach has seen an influx of parents bringing in children for wellness visits – many for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than two years ago. Nationally, U.S. childhood immunization rates have dropped the past two years, leaving tens of thousands of children unprotected against certain vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough, measles, mumps and more, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Regular wellness checks and routine vaccines for viruses took a backseat for some parents amid concerns about COVID-19 and the need to adjust to remote learning during the past two years,” said Dr. Lucretia Carter, pediatric medical director at Tidelands Health. “Now that we are settling into our new normal, parents are again paying more attention to regular wellness visits for their children and getting them updated on all vaccines that may have been overlooked during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Health important for learning
Children are required to stay up-to-date on many vaccines including hepatitis A, chickenpox and more before returning to classrooms, as outlined in the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s immunization requirements for childcare and school.
Dr. Carter encourages parents to talk with their pediatrician or primary care provider if they have questions about the vaccines and when their child should receive them. Vaccines can be administered during a child’s wellness visit at Tidelands Health Pediatrics or Tidelands Health Family Medicine at Holmestown Road.
In addition to staying updated on required vaccines, it’s important for children to visit their pediatrician at least once a year for a wellness exam, during which the doctor will check key developmental milestones, monitor any conditions such as asthma or allergies and review the child’s overall health. Wellness exams are often done just before the school year begins.
“A child who isn’t feeling the greatest isn’t going to perform at their greatest level in the classroom. Their overall health affects everything they do,” Dr. Carter said. “A healthy child is a happy learning child.”
For more information or to make an appointment at Tidelands Health Pediatrics or Tidelands Health Family Medicine at Holmestown Road, call 1-866-TIDELANDS.