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CHI Saint Joseph Health Encourages Adding Safety To Your Back-to-School Month Checklist

WILMORE, Ky (August 28, 2023) – During National Back-to-School Month, CHI Saint Joseph Health is encouraging parents and guardians to take measures to keep their students safe, including prioritizing immunizations and implementing proper safety protocols for youth playing sports this fall season.

“We know that teachers and students are excited about getting back into the classroom and starting the new school year strong,” said Amanda Vickers, DO, CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Primary Care. “To ensure the best year possible, however, it’s essential for students to have the proper vaccinations and sports safety protocols in place to reduce the risk of school-wide outbreaks and athlete injuries.”

At the beginning of the school year, all students should undergo physical exams to check their growth and development, and the physician will also look for any changes in their health. In addition, these exams are the perfect opportunity to take preventive measures, like staying up-to-date on vaccinations. The National Institutes of Health reports that childhood vaccination has proved to be one of the most effective public health strategies to control and prevent diseases, including measles, flu and pertussis (whooping cough). While the timing of flu season varies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that activity often begins increasing in October, soon after the school year begins. 

“With pertussis cases rising in Kentucky over the past few weeks, it’s important for everyone to consider whether they might need a booster,” said Dr. Vickers. “Some people are more vulnerable to whooping cough than others, particularly our children, elderly, immune and respiratory compromised populations.  It’s especially important for anyone who may be around these individuals to be vaccinated as well. CDC recommendations are that any person over age 19 be re-vaccinated against pertussis if not received in the last 10 years.” 

In addition to vaccinations, sports safety protocols are essential for the well-being of student-athletes. Schools, coaches, parents and guardians should implement comprehensive safety measures to help prevent injuries and provide a secure environment for athletes. During the first few months of the school year, when temperatures remain high, heat-related illnesses like heat cramps, hyperthermia, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are a genuine concern for all athletes, especially for sports requiring heavy equipment, like football. According to the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study, the risk of developing a heat-related illness is 11.4 times higher in football than in all other sports combined. Student-athletes should remain hydrated during sports and seek help if they notice symptoms like headaches, vomiting, dizziness or disorientation. Having ice or a cold compress on hand during practices and games can help an athlete who may need assistance being cooled down.

Sports-related injuries are also a concern for many parents and guardians. You can help your student-athlete take preventive measures by encouraging pre-participation physical examinations, stretching and warming up before practices and games, and ensuring they have the proper protective equipment like pads and helmets, which can prevent injuries like a traumatic brain injury or concussion. If your student does experience an injury, it’s important they see a physician to determine the magnitude of the injury and when it is safe to return to the field or court again without causing permanent damage. 

Be prepared for this upcoming school year by scheduling vaccine and pre-participation physicals today. To find a health care provider near you, visit

About CHI Saint Joseph Health

CHI Saint Joseph Health, part of CommonSpirit Health, is one of the largest and most comprehensive health systems in the Commonwealth of Kentucky with 100 locations in 20 counties, including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes, home health agencies and an ambulatory Care Center. The hospitals in CHI Saint Joseph Health are Flaget Memorial Hospital, Saint Joseph Berea, Saint Joseph East, Saint Joseph Hospital, Saint Joseph Jessamine, Saint Joseph London, Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, and Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East. In total, the health system serves patients in 35 counties statewide. CHI Saint Joseph Health is dedicated to providing a wide array of services toward a goal of building a healthier future for all. CHI Saint Joseph Health embodies a strong mission and faith-based heritage and works through local partnerships to expand access to care in the communities it serves.

About the CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group

CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group is the employed provider network of CHI Saint Joseph Health with 88 locations in 17 communities throughout central and eastern Kentucky.


Publish date: 

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

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