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What Vaccinations Does Your Freshman College Student Need?

Doctor Holding Syringe
You've filled your teen's shower caddy with gallon-sized bottles of shampoo and made sure that they have enough socks to go for at least one month before doing their laundry. Now that college is on the horizon, you want to send your young adult off with everything they need to stay happy and healthy while they're away. But filling a mile-long shopping list isn't the only thing that they need right now.
Between dorms that are packed with new people (and new germs), the stress of school, lack of sleep, and the potential for poor nutrition (without mom and dad around to cook for them), your child is at risk for developing some seriously nasty sicknesses. While some types of illnesses, such as the common cold, aren't entirely preventable, others are preventable with the right vaccinations.
What vaccinations does your teen need before going to college? Take a look at the most common immunizations that college-aged kids get before the fall semester starts.
The Flu Shot
The start of the school year is also the start of the flu vaccination season. While it may still be a few months until the flu hits the college community hard, you can dramatically reduce your child's risks of getting sick if they get a preventative vaccination before going to school.
Even though you can get the vaccine any time during the fall, winter, or early spring, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination by the end of October. Instead of waiting for your child's first trip home during Thanksgiving, make sure that they get a flu shot before they pack up and head to college.
Meningococcal Disease
The risk of getting meningococcal disease rises when people are in close, large groups. This includes group living situations, such as your child's college dorm. Young adults who attend college have a slightly greater risk of developing this disease in comparison to other groups of teens (such as those who don't attend college), according to the CDC's statistics.
While many children receive the meningococcal vaccine as a teen, if your child had the immunization prior to turning 16, they likely need a booster. Not only will this life-saving vaccine reduce the risks of getting the disease, but it may be required. Some colleges and universities go a step beyond recommending the vaccine and require students to provide proof of immunization prior to enrolling in or starting classes.
Keep in mind, the more people who are vaccinated, the less likely the the disease will spread. Making sure that your teen has this valuable vaccination doesn't just reduce their risks, but it also reduces the risks for everyone else they'll live with.
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella
The measles, mumps, and rubella (or MMR) vaccine is likely something that your child has already had - several times. Children start their MMR series typically between 12 and 15 months. They then get a booster between the ages of 4 and 6. This may mean that your teen doesn't need the vaccination, although you may be required to provide proof that your teen had the childhood vaccination to the college.
If your child did not receive the booster or isn't immune, they will need an MMR vaccination before starting college. Even though vaccinations have drastically reduced the incidence of this disease, juts one infected person could start a potentially serious problem.
Tetanus Vaccination
Like the MMR vaccine, your child has likely already had a tetanus shot. Your teen could also have had a combination vaccine, such as the Tdap or DTaP, during elementary school.
But if more than 10 years have passed since your teen has had a tetanus vaccination, they'll need this immunization again before going to school. Unlike some of the other childhood vaccinations, which provide life-long or long-term immunity, this vaccine requires an update every decade.
Does your college-bound child need vaccinations before moving? Contact Harbin Pharmacy for more information.