Preparing for back-to-school physicals
Another summer is nearly behind us and it's already time to think about sending the kids back to school. And an important part of preparing for their school return is the back-to-school physical.
In Illinois, back-to-school physicals are required for all students entering preschool, Kindergarten, sixth grade, ninth grade and anyone transferring in from out-of-state. Whether mandated or simply a good habit for staying on top of your child's health annually, physicals can inform you of any health concerns early, update necessary vaccinations and ensure they're ready for fall sports and other activities.
"Regularly scheduled physicals for children and adolescents are important ways to focus on preventive care early on," said Dr. Erin McCann, pediatrician with Ascension Medical Group. "Looking at a child's medical history, what stage they are in their physical development and identifying possible issues or challenges early on is important to keeping kids healthy for life. And don't forget dental, eye and mental health, as well."
During their physical, your child's doctor will perform a full evaluation, including measuring height, weight and blood pressure; check ears, nose and throat; evaluate heart, lung and muscle functions and ensure all vaccinations are current. They'll also check in any behavioral health concerns you or your child might have.
So, what can you do to prepare for your child's back-to-school physical? Here are some tips from our pediatricians:
• Discuss the need for the exam and what is expected with your child, especially younger children. Let them know the doctor is there to help and answer any questions they may have.
• Make sure you know your family's history of illness.
• Bring a copy of your child's immunization records and a list of any medications they're currently taking.
• Be ready to discuss any concerns you might have, including anything you may have noticed about your child's physical or mental well-being.
"This is the time for you to completely focus on your child's health and well-being," said Dr. McCann. "There's nothing that's more important than getting them on -- and keeping them on -- the road to lifetime wellness. These physicals are incredibly important."
If you haven't already, be certain to schedule your child's back-to-school physical soon.
• Children's health is a continuing series. This week's article is courtesy of Ascension Illinois. To check out more information, visit Ascension.org/Illinois.