Back to school vaccinations: superhero in a syringe helping kids stay healthy

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Some schools have already started and some are starting soon. But besides supplies, one of the most important things your children need before they go back are their immunizations.

Kids all over East Texas were getting shots to make sure they are protected from diseases, but some heath officials say even vaccinations will not keep all the bad germs away.

The shots might be painful for kids and adults alike, but the little superhero in a syringe is helping kids stay healthy at school.

"It protects the spread of diseases and I know you guys have heard about the measles outbreak and it's just a symptom of a bigger problem of people not getting their vaccinations," Jan Fulbright, a nurse for Lufkin ISD, said.

Fulbright has spent the last few weeks getting students updated on their shots including the TDAP booster to protect against Pertussis, also known as the whooping cough, MCV for Meningitis, a Tuberculosis Skin Test with a negative reading, and the Varicella vaccine for those who haven't had chicken pox.

But one shot everyone is worried about is the MMR vaccine for the measles.

"Measles is in fact one of the most contagious diseases that we know of. We know about 92 percent of all people who come in contact with the measles virus if they are not protected will contract the disease within two weeks," George Fidone, a pediatrician, said.

Fidone says the measles outbreak is very serious because even those who have had the vaccine can still get it.

"Sometimes vaccine protection wanes over time and it is a custom in our state to boost children at the age of four. They get a dose at one and a dose at four and during outbreaks it is very often to practice to give MMR immediately," Fidone said.

Despite the measles outbreak in North Texas, Sharon Shaw, an administrator at the Lufkin Health District, says our kids really have nothing to worry about.

"Measles is not around much anymore. We have eradicated that with the MMR vaccine so we're surprised to see that," Shaw said.

However, Fidone says the biggest concern for parents should be reminding our children to wash their hands to protect them from the common cold.

"Make it a part of your everyday life, not just at special times or before dinner," Fidone said.

Fulbright and Fidone both say that it's best to send your kids to school with some sort of hand sanitizer just in case they are not able to make it to a sink to wash their hands.

People with measles will have symptoms of high fever, rash, headache, neck stiffness and a severe cough. Fidone says if you or your child starts to experience any of those symptoms to see a doctor immediately.

And hopefully those bad germs and diseases will stay away.

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