By: Lorrie Jackson | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: July 2007
Dr. Mattson with his wife and office manager Beth.
As we enter July, it may seem a bit early to start thinking about obtaining your child’s medical records for the new school year. According to Rodger C. Mattson, D.O., now is the perfect time to take care of such matters.
“Many people wait until the very last minute to get an appointment for their child,” Dr. Mattson says. “Since so many other people do the same thing, it is hard to get an appointment with a physician before school starts.”
Childhood immunizations are the primary concern before school begins. The state has certain requirements that each child must meet before entering school, including obtaining vaccines for polio, measles/mumps /rubella, diph-theria/tetanus/pertussis, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and the chicken pox. A complete list of required vaccines for the 2007 to 2008 school year is available online at www.health .state.ok.us/pro-gram/imm/index.html.
Sometimes a delinquency in vaccination is not just the result of a parents’ procrastination. Parents are sometimes frightened by the side effects or allergic reactions their children might have in reaction to vaccinations. The diphtheria/teta-nus/pertussis vaccine, commonly referred to as DTP, is usually one that causes such concern. Dr. Mattson is very reassuring about the process. “There were some problems with the pertussis, also known as whooping cough, portion of the DTP vaccination a few years back that could have inspired some of this fear,” Dr. Mattson says. “The formula for this vaccine has since been changed, and very few problems have been encountered since.”
Rodger C. Mattson, D.O.
Dr. Mattson also points out that the benefits of such vaccinations far outweigh any small risks. “There have been some wonderful accomplishments concerning these once-common childhood diseases,” he says. “We’re not seeing the diseases like we would have 50 years ago. As a result, we don’t have to deal with the long term complications.”
According to Dr. Mattson, a bout with measles could bring on deafness. Rubella, also known as German measles, can cause birth defects if the mother contracts it during the first trimester of her pregnancy. Polio can cause paralysis as seen in the case of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Hepatitis A and B are both miserable diseases that can bring on cancer. All of these diseases can be life-threatening.
Because these diseases have become so rare, it may be tempting to ignore their threats. However, Dr. Mattson reminds us that these viruses are still lurking and can occur if their vaccinations are not obtained. “There was an outbreak of whooping cough in northeastern Oklahoma this year,” Dr. Mattson mentions. “Whooping cough brings on a ‘hundred day cough’ and can kill an infant or someone with a chronic lung disease like emphysema.”
In addition to immunizations, Dr. Mattson points out that it is always a good idea for children to obtain physical examinations. In a consultation, any health concerns can be addressed before school begins. If a child takes medication for attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, this matter should also be dealt with. “Many parents have allowed their children to discontinue their medications during the summer months,” Dr. Mattson says. “This is ok; however, children shouldn’t wait until the day before school starts to begin the medication again.” He advises parents to discuss dosage with their physicians and make sure they are giving the child’s body time to adjust before beginning classes.
Finally, Dr. Mattson urges families to examine their stress levels and consider the effects that stress can have on their children during the school year. “At least a few weeks before school starts, kids should start good sleep routines to prepare for getting up early,” he advises. “Remember that family life is extremely important. Recent studies have shown that children whose families take time to have meals together tend to do better in school.”
Do not wait too long to have you child’s medical concerns addressed for the new school year. Contact Dr. Mattson today at (918) 609-5212 for a consultation.