The summer is here, and although it seems like school just ended, it is important to get your school physicals now. The summer is a popular time for school physicals. It is one of the busiest seasons for a pediatrician’s office. You may think getting a school physical at the beginning of summer is too early, but it is not. It is best to get them done as soon as possible. If you wait too long, you may not be able to get in before the school year. School physicals are different for each age, and when you reach sports age, you may have to add in a sports physical as well.
There are two different types of physicals: annual physicals and school physicals. There are different procedures for each physical. Age plays a role as well. The purpose of a physical is to examine your overall health. During this time, you also receive your vaccinations. Annual physicals are important, but they are not always done yearly, especially during the teenage years. Certain grades require a physical before you can start. Others may not require a physical, but if you are participating in sports, sports physicals are necessary.
Your child’s first physical starts at birth. It is customary to have multiple physicals before the age of two. After two, the physicals become yearly. If your child is starting daycare, they must have their vaccinations and a clean bill of health. Daycare is almost like school, so it is important for your child to be healthy. The next big physical is the daycare physical. Some children start at five and others do not start until the age of six. The five-year-old physical is a big one and requires a lot of shots. As a parent, that can be hard seeing your child receive so many shots. Before major milestones like elementary school, middle school, and high school you have to have a yearly physical.
To begin the physical, height and weight is taken. If your child is under the age of three, a head circumference is taken. If your child is over the age of three, they will get a blood pressure. Preliminary questions are asked as well. Most of the time a medical assistant will get the information for the doctor. Your child will have to undress down to their underwear or diaper in the case of babies. At this point, you may have to leave the room if your child is a teenager. You can come back in for some of the physical, but some questions will be asked that will require you to leave the room again. Some teenagers do not answer honestly when their parents are in the room. If this is the first you have left the room, it can be nerve racking. Many parents are uncomfortable with leaving their child alone to talk with the doctor about things like alcohol and sex. It is just a part of the doctor’s job. If you have concerns about this stuff, you should talk with the physician about that. Medications are also filled during this time. You can always get them filled later, but it is easier just getting them filled in office, so you do not have to make another trip back to the office.
Sports physicals are slightly different from annual physicals. Sports physicals are not as involved as annual physicals. Sports physicals are more of a general overall check. The doctor will check your reflexes and make sure your BMI is fine. If your BMI is high, they may also have to do a cholesterol check. During your lipid check, they will do a finger prick and draw some blood; this is the best way to check cholesterol. If the blood pressure is too high, the doctor may not sign off on you playing sports. Asthma is also checked. The doctor has to make sure your asthma is controlled, and you have the medicine you need. Once the physical is over, the doctor will sign a form saying you are okay to play. So many parents forget their forms. If you do not bring the forms to the appointment with you, there are extra in the office. Without the forms, your child cannot prove the doctor signed off for them to play.
Physicals are important and should be done yearly. If you neglect your child’s physical, you can keep your child out of school and prevent them from playing sports. Try to make an appointment now before the summer gets too busy. The summer months get busy with sports and all kinds of other activities. It is good to make a note on your phone about physicals. It is important to note that physicals last a year. If your child has had one within a year, they do not need another one. If their last physical will be over a year old before school starts then make sure to make an appointment for another one.
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