Killeen, TX (FOX 44) – We’re a day closer for families getting ready to send their children to college, and health experts want to make sure incoming students are medically safe for their next life chapter.
Medical experts at A&M – Central Texas say common shots students should already have are for polio, measles, and mumps, however they do encourage families to take boosters for pertussis causing whooping cough.
“We’ve seen a lot of pertussis in Texas over the last few years, but everyone needs to keep up on things like tetanus, pertussis,” said Dr. Amy Mersiovsky, A&M – Central Texas Director of the Department of Nursing.
Mersiovsky says untreated whooping cough can lead to pneumonia.
“It’s a horrible cough. Patients feel really, really bad and they don’t feel like eating and have some respiratory symptoms,” said Mersiovsky.
For students going into the healthcare profession, Mersiovsky says you may need additional shots
“Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are now part of the normal schedule, but they may need boosters on those,” said Dr. Mersiovsky.
Veterinary students may need shots for rabies as well.
A big vaccine Mersiovsky says students need is for meningitis.
Texas law requires students entering school under the age of 22 to have this within the last five years and it can be given 10 days before moving in.
“There have been some really tragic outbreaks of meningitis in dorms, and so we really want our students to be safe from that,”
Being spread by droplets, the first meningitis shot is normally given when children are 11-12 and the second one when 16.
For students living in dorm rooms and in close contact, Baylor Scott White Pediatrician, Dr. Priya Srinivasan says germs can spread quickly causing harm.
“Meningitis, which is the infection of the spinal fluid and a bacterial disease can have pretty devastating consequences, including blindness, deafness and paralysis. So we want to make sure that they’re vaccinated for that,” said Srinivasan.