As summer ends and school starts back, there are always several things to complete before your child’s first day. A back-to-school physical or an annual wellness exam is something you should add to your back-to-school checklist. It can be easy to put off back-to-school physicals with all you are doing to prepare your child to return to the classroom, but here is why you should make sure to check those physicals off your to-do list every year.
With the changes that COVID-19 has brought to every school across the nation, getting your child checked for health matters puts you ahead of the curve in knowing the status of your child’s well-being. School is back in-person, and your child needs to prepare for the unexpected colds, flu, injuries, and playing sports. It is important to schedule a physical to ensure your child is educated on the best health practices and prepared to engage in any necessary preventative care treatments.
What to expect
Annual wellness exams vary based on the child’s age, but the provider will typically:
- Complete a physical exam, including height and weight
- Check blood pressure, vision, and hearing
- Complete blood tests and cholesterol checks, depending on the child’s age
- Ask about your child’s development (speech, communication skills, motor skills, etc.), nutrition, exercise, and sleep habits
- Review your child’s medical history & vaccination status
- Supply age-appropriate safety information & health education
- Observe the standards set by the American Academy of Pediatrics (APP) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Your child’s annual wellness exam is a great time to make sure they are up to date on their immunizations. To help avoid the spread of diseases and keep kids of all ages healthy, your child needs to get vaccinated. Your pediatrician will review your child’s immunization history and ensure your child is up to date on all immunizations, as well as administer any vaccines they need.
Your child’s annual wellness visit is the perfect time to make sure your child gets their sports physical completed. Any issues related to exercise, such as injuries, nutrition, training, and exercise programs, are addressed during this time. Sports physicals also serve as a time for important discussions regarding concussions and female athlete concerns, such as menstrual changes.
These exams are an important part of keeping children healthy because they screen for:
- Family health conditions
- Heart conditions
- Anxiety and depression
- Joint and bone conditions
How to Prepare for Your Visit
Make sure that you have all the required health forms for your school district ready for the appointment. If your child is getting a sports physical, please bring that form as well. If your child has any medical conditions that require management during the school day, additional medical forms may be required. This could include food allergies, ADHD, asthma, diabetes, etc. Ask both the school and the doctor about what is needed for any specific medical condition your child has.
Next, make sure you are prepared to bring your child’s immunization and medical records. Be sure and ready to notify your child’s provider if any of the following has changed since the last visit: family medical history, insurance, or your child’s medication list.
Also, talk to your child about what will happen during the examination so they are prepared for the procedures that the doctor will perform. If your child has any anxiety or fear, you can ease their nerves by providing information about what will happen during the doctor’s visit.
As your child’s physical approaches, write down any questions or concerns you may have about their health and development. Use that time with your child’s provider to have some of those discussions so you and your child can both start the school year off with the knowledge and peace of mind you need.
Galen is Chattanooga’s Pediatrician
Our goal is to promote a healthy lifestyle and reduce infant and child illness. Our pediatricians strive to earn the trust of both parent and child while providing evidence-based treatment in a caring, comfortable, convenient, and cost-effective setting. We want you to know that our pediatric offices maintain safety and hygiene standards so we can safely care for your children.
Call your pediatrician’s office today to schedule your child’s Annual Wellness exam!