We’ve reached the point in the summer where if we’re going to get something done before school starts, we better do it now. One little thing can make a giant difference in your health and that of your family: Get your shots.

Before you’re too busy, make an easy-to-schedule appointment for vaccinations by calling (CLINIC NAME, PHONE NUMBER). Vaccinations are easy to schedule, often inexpensive or even completely covered by your health insurance. They are among the most effective ways to keep your health on track.

You’re likely well aware of the vaccinations your children received when they were babies. You’re on top of those schedules – and that’s good news. But it’s important for all of us – no matter our age – to keep immunizations schedules in mind. Here’s a quick snapshot:

  • Younger Children

Babies and preschoolers get a number of important immunizations, which are safe and prevent diseases such as chickenpox, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella. Kids should also get shots for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b (HIB), hepatitis A and B according to the recommended schedule, and pneumococcal and rotavirus. Kids and adults need annual flu shots, too.

  • Teens and Young Adults

Starting around age 11, kids should get their shots for human papillomavirus (HPV), tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap). Some kids may need a meningitis vaccination, and you should keep annual flu shots on their list, too.

  • The Rest of Us

Adults who did not have it as kids should get the chicken pox vaccine as well as one for HPV and of course annual flu shots. Vaccines for pneumonia and shingles can help keep these conditions away, too, and tetanus and diphtheria boosters are a good idea for many adults.

Shots are never easy, and while kids dread them, so too do many moms and dads. Be honest with your kids and tell them it might hurt a little now, but it’ll keep them from getting sick in the long run. Another good approach is to show kids there’s nothing to fear during their immunization appointment by scheduling those you might need, too. Examples are powerful.

Annual exams and immunizations may be covered 100 percent with most health plans, so check with your insurance to see what’s covered. With illnesses like the flu, when we all get the shot, we’ll all be better off and we’ll be helping those who are more vulnerable – like the elderly and babies – stay safe. Visit Avera.org/Shots for checklists you can print and put on the fridge.

During National Immunization Month, take time and get your shots. You’ll be better protected and healthier for the busy school year that’s just around the corner.

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