CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – With the first day of school quickly approaching, health experts are reminding caregivers to get their children caught up on vaccinations.

Children who are not vaccinated on schedule are at risk of getting sick and spreading illnesses to others who are not protected. So as we prepare for this season of back-to-school, Baystate Health recommends scheduling a back-to-school physical and wellness visit for children starting at ages three through 18.

A typical back-to-school physical should include standard growth measurements including height, weight, and body mass index, as well as testing the child’s motor skills, heart rate, and blood pressure. Well-visits are also an important opportunity to make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date.

According to Dr. Amy Pelletier of Baystate Children’s Hospital, vaccines are given on a schedule to protect children from preventable diseases. Experts designed the schedule so that children get protection when they need it and the doses are timed so the vaccine itself can have the best effect.

Vaccines help recognize and fight viruses or bacteria so that we can develop immunity. So if your child does not have the ability to resist infection, they can get mumps measles, or chickenpox, which are all preventable.

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Melissa Torres is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2021. Follow Melissa on X @melissatorrestv and view her bio to see more of her work.