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Clinics prep for back-to-school vaccines

Days on the playground this summer will soon become days at school for local kids, and that means it’s time for back-to-school vaccinations.

Katherine Cardenas–a pediatric nurse practitioner at the Franklin Health Care Center in Santa Barbara–says that when kids come back to school, a lot more germs are usually spread. That means a lot more trips to the doctor.

“Generally this time of year once school gets back in session, we usually notice that things are pretty slow until school starts,” Cardenas said. “And then kids spread germs, start getting sick with various viral illnesses.”

While some parents oppose vaccinations, vaccines are required for children in California to attend school. Student athletes looking to compete in their school sports are also required to get vaccines in order to complete their sports physicals. According to Cardenas, vaccines not only protect children from easily preventable illnesses, but they also protect everyone around them.

“For the kids who have health problems who can’t have vaccines or they’re more vulnerable, the other children in the class having the vaccines actually protects those kids as well,” Cardenas said.

Beyond getting the necessary shots, now is also a good time to remind children about easy ways to stay healthy as the school year starts.

“What we do recommend when you go back to school is making sure your kids are getting plenty of rest,” Cardenas said. “You usually have to adjust their sleep schedule a little bit… [teach] them about washing their hands–especially before meals–but throughout the day, avoiding touching your face too much.”

There are no major changes for required vaccines in California this year, but Cardenas and the staff at Franklin Health Care Center recommends you and your children get a new flu shot this fall. Flu shot clinics start around the area next month.

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