by Asma Khan, M.D.
As many kids return to in-person school this fall, a back-to-school health check-up will help make sure they are on track for a successful academic year.
Why Annual Check-Ups are Important
A yearly back-to-school check-up allows your family physician to give your child a thorough physical examination and address any emotional, developmental, or social concerns. For teens, the check-up is also a good opportunity for them to ask any confidential health questions, including topics like drinking, drug-use, sex, and depression.
What Do Check-Ups Include?
In addition to providing health-related guidance and advice, a thorough physical exam will include:
- Heart and blood pressure monitoring
- Recording height and weight
- Checking the lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat
- Vision screening
- Diabetes, cholesterol, and anemia testing
Regular check-ups are very important, as having a long-term medical history will keep the doctor aware of your child’s progress and development. This will help the doctor detect any emerging issues over time.
The Young Athlete
If your child or teen plans on playing any sports during the school year, a physical that addresses sports-specific issues may be required. These include past sport-related injuries, asthma and allergies, and an evaluation of strength and flexibility. Additionally, the doctor may have training tips or exercises that will help your child or teen avoid injury in the future.
At the end of the exam, the doctor will sign a form that indicates your child is in good health or may recommend additional tests or specific treatment.
An annual check-up will also give you an opportunity to speak with your family physician about your child receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. At this time, the Pfizer vaccine is available to everyone aged 12 and up. Moderna and the Johnson and Johnson vaccines are available to everyone 16 and up.
Pfizer is now conducting clinical trials in children aged 6 months to 11 years.
Check-Ups: What You Need to Know
To stay in good health, children need a good balance of home, school, sports, and social activities. A yearly check-up will help make sure they are meeting important milestones and give them the opportunity to understand more about any changes in the body.
This article is sponsored by Sun River Health.
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