Many school districts require a back-to-school physical to ensure all students are up-to-date on immunizations and healthy enough to attend school. This is the time of year for you to schedule your child’s physical so they are ready for the start of the school year. When you plan a well-child visit, your doctor will be able to check your child’s complete health development, including physical, emotional, and even social growth.
What to expect during a back-to-school doctor’s visit
During your child’s checkup, the pediatrician will look for signs of scoliosis. This disease is a curvature of the spine best discovered when a person is young so treatment and correction can begin early. Other areas checked for abnormalities include the nose, ears, skin, mouth, and eyes.
The examination of the nose helps to look for any nasal polyps or any other signs of swelling or infections. Your child’s ears are examined to look for signs of infection and ensure they are clear of wax or other build-ups that may inhibit their hearing.
An exam of your child’s mouth will also tell the doctor about their health. The pediatrician will look for bacterial infections including strep throat and other viral infections. Checking the tongue will show the pediatrician how well hydrated your child is and also give them a chance to look for any abnormal growths.
Your child’s eyes are like a window showing what is going on inside their body. The doctor will perform a routine eye exam to check for liver problems, infections, and other signs your child’s health is at risk.</p.
Blood pressure and heart rate are also checked during the exam to listen to your child’s heart pattern and blood flowing through the heart. The doctor will listen for any extra sounds that could mean a murmur is present.
Your child’s exam will most likely include a check of their fine and gross motor development along with a test of their reflexes. By tapping the knee with a reflex hammer, the pediatrician can determine if the automatic response from the nerves, spinal cord, and muscles is working.
Weight and height are taken and recorded in a chart to track regular growth patterns. Children who are overweight or have a family history of weight control issues and high cholesterol may also have their cholesterol level checked.
As part of the back-to-school physical, the pediatrician may also question your child about their school performance and if they have difficulty making friends or with socialization. These questions help the doctor understand the psychological and behavioral growth of your child.
There may be a conversation about injury prevention as well. The pediatrician will talk with your child about the importance of wearing helmets and gear to protect themselves if involved in sports activities. Drug and alcohol abuse may also be covered, depending on the age of your child.
How to prepare for a back-to-school physical
When you’ve scheduled your child’s back-to-school health exam, you should create a list of questions you want to go over with the doctor. These questions could be related to nutrition or any family medical issues that may affect your child.
If you have been homeschooling your child, you need to ensure an eye and ear exam are performed. These tests are typically done in the school setting and your doctor may not know your child does not attend school outside the home. Let them know if the test will be done outside their clinic.
When to schedule visits with the pediatrician
It is suggested you maintain a regular schedule of well-child visits for your child. This schedule will ensure your child develops a trusting relationship with the pediatrician so they will be able to track any health issues. Besides knowing the timetable of doctor’s visits based on age, it is good to know when to schedule back-to-school health exams. The best time to do this is in the spring and summer. But, you may be able to get your child in for a visit closer to the time school starts.
Most schools and states require that vaccinations be given to your child before they attend classes. The requirements for the doctor’s visit will vary, so be sure to research what your child will need to go to school. If they play sports, the pediatrician will need to do a sports physical along with the regular exam. The school your child will be attending will be able to tell you what forms and records are needed and about their deadlines.
Choose an experienced pediatrician in Amarillo, Texas
Whether you need a well-child checkup or have other health concerns, Dr. John Young is a dedicated pediatrician with the experience and knowledge to help you and your child. You can call us at (806) 354-0404 ext. 3330 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our Services. You can also visit our office in person at 1500 S. Coulter St., Suite #3 in Amarillo to see how our friendly, knowledgeable staff can help you.