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Experts stress adding routine doctors visits to back-to-school checklist

Data from the World Health Organization shows a major backslide in childhood vaccination rates.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Believe it or not, summer is coming to an end and soon kids across the Carolinas will be heading back to the classroom.

For many parents, that means long to-do lists to get everything ready to start the new year. Doctors are stressing regular check-ups should be a back-to-school priority.

“You want your kids to have the best possible experience and really be able to learn and grow appropriately for their developmental milestones. So, back to school is the perfect time to think about catching up on anything that may have been missed and kind of rechecking those things that are important to their growth and development,” Dr. Lisa Shock with United Healthcare said.

Parents should add regular physicals at the pediatrician, a visit to the dentist, eye exams, and mental health screenings to the end of the summer to-do list.

“Back to school can sometimes be anxiety provoking or if there are underlying issues related to depression or other mental health issues, it’s a great opportunity to touch in on those things,” Shock said.

In many ways, the pandemic disrupted schedules, including at the doctor’s office. Data from the World Health Organization shows the largest backslide in routine childhood vaccination rates in three decades.

“We don’t want to see a resurgence of things like mumps or rubella, things we’ve had well controlled with vaccines over the years kind of resurfacing in our schools,” Shock said.

Prioritizing health heading into another school year with COVID-19 lingering.

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