As the new school year begins, there’s no better time to evaluate the status of your family’s immunizations.

“Disease prevention is essential to our community’s health,” says David McClellan, M.D., assistant professor of family and community medicine and director of the Family Medicine Residency Program at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. “Vaccines are the first line of defense against a host of communicable diseases like measles, whooping cough and the flu.”

Making sure children and adolescents are vaccinated on a regular schedule as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) helps protect the health of families and the community.

“Children, teens and young adults in college, especially those who live in dormitories, come into close contact with many people, so they have a higher risk of getting infections like meningitis and chickenpox,” Dr. McClellan says.

Elderly people and adults who have chronic illnesses also have a higher risk because their immune systems can be compromised, he says.

Adults and children who are not up to date on immunizations are more likely to become sick. If they become ill and need treatment by a doctor, it will cost time and money.

So find your family shot records and review them with your doctor to develop an immunization plan and ensure your family stays healthy throughout the year.

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