(StatePoint) Vaccinations can help protect children from serious diseases. Many parents may not know that as their kids get older some childhood shots – including the shot for whooping cough – can begin to wear off after five to 10 years. This leaves some preteens and teens at risk of getting sick and missing school.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all preteens and teens get a booster shot to continue to protect them against whooping cough. However, according to a 2006 CDC survey, only 11 percent of 13-17 year-olds in the U.S. had received the shot for whooping cough. More than one in four whooping cough cases reported in the United States were in preteens and teens in 2006.

Whooping cough is a serious disease that spreads easily. It starts off like the common cold. Symptoms may include a runny nose, sneezing and mild fever, as well as coughing that can last for up to 100 days or more. One study found that preteens and teens with whooping cough miss an average of a week of school.

To help keep students healthy and in school, the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) has launched «Give Your Kids a Boost!», a national awareness campaign about the importance of whooping cough booster shots for preteens and teens. Jean Grabeel is a NASN Executive Committee member and mother of Lucas Grabeel, who plays «Ryan» in the «High School Musical» movies. As part of this campaign, she encourages parents to talk to their child’s school nurse or healthcare provider about protecting their preteen or teen from whooping cough.

«For nearly 30 years, I’ve been dedicated to keeping students healthy so they have a better chance of succeeding in school,» said Grabeel. «Taking our preteens and teens to the doctor and asking if their shots are up-to-date is a simple thing we can do to get them ready and help keep them healthy for the school year.»

For more information on the importance of vaccinations, parents can visit this website.

GlaxoSmithKline has provided funding and additional assistance to the National Association of School Nurses for the Give Your Kids a Boost! campaign.

In addition to getting scheduled shots, your preteens and teens may need to catch up on missed shots or shots that were not available when he or she was younger. Ask your school nurse or healthcare provider about these and other shots that may also be recommended for certain high-risk groups.


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