Gitania Oges got her 9-year-old’s attention Wednesday when vaccinations were mentioned.
Oges was at McLane Children’s Temple West Pediatric Clinic with her two daughters — T’Maja, 12, and Kaly, 9 — getting them checked out before the start of school on Monday.
T’Maja, a Cameron Junior High student, needed a sports physical, while Kaly, a Cameron Elementary student, was getting a well-child checkup.
“We needed to make sure Kaly’s shots are up to date,” Oges said.
T’Maja plays volleyball, basketball, softball and track.
“She’s thinking about golf,” Oges said and T’Maja confirmed.
Kaly has her own sports activities, playing softball and basketball when she’s on school break and participating in the annual relay competition.
Children’s health issues change as they age, Scott & White pediatrician Dr. Philip Itkin said.
“Every age has different issues,” Itkin said.
When it’s time for the child to attend school, the pediatrician wants to make sure the child is immunized, socially ready for school and in good physical shape, he said.
The child’s vision and hearing should be checked.
“We want to make sure they are nutritionally sound and we’ll screen them for illnesses they might have but not know it, such as thyroid, celiac, anemia, hypercholesterolemia … things that may impact them later in life,” Itkin said.
The family pediatrician dispenses all types of parental advice.
“We want them to raise their children in a positive and constructive manner, so they are better capable for dealing with the rigors of school, getting along with others socially and getting along with others as citizens,” he said.
Itkin tells parents there are three big goals of parenting in regard to school — self-esteem, citizenship and academics. With those, everything else will fall into place.
During the school year, there will likely be outbreaks of viruses.
Sometimes it is influenza; other times it is rotavirus.
A couple of years ago whooping cough was making the rounds.
“The importance of our vaccines cannot be overstated,” he said.
Teenagers need to be getting their meningitis and human papillomavirus vaccinations, Itkin said. Some vaccinations need to administered more than once.
There is a small subset of people in the Austin and Temple area who mistakenly believe their children will be better off without vaccines, he said.
That information is totally based on wrong assumptions and is a frustration for doctors, Itkin said.
“We’re now at the last stage of trying to get everybody in for the school athletic physicals,” he said. “It’s best to get it done early and then they don’t have to call to get an appointment, only to learn there are no spaces available on the schedule.”