School is starting and one important item not to be forgotten on your to do list is an annual physical.
Five reasons a yearly physical is beneficial for kids:
- Growth and Changes – In order to build medical history and establish baselines for your child, you should visit the same physician yearly. This will allow for trust and teamwork to be developed between doctor and patient to allow for the best possible care. At this visit, the physician will assess any changes that have occurred and how your child is progressing on the course of healthy development. Medications or treatments can also be re-evaluated and updated as necessary. The physician can provide any information that parents may need to give to their school nurse as well.
- Vision and Hearing – A yearly physical for kids should include vision and hearing tests, to discover any problems and find the proper solutions. This is especially important as the school year begins. A child needs to be able to see and hear their teacher in order to learn!
- Immunizations – Immunizations are important for your child’s wellbeing and to protect the health of those around them. Some immunizations are even required by Florida law, in order for a child to attend childcare or school. It’s important to stay on top of these, and a yearly physical is the best way to keep track or catch up.
- Cleared For Play – Sports can be a big part of returning to school. Many school-based athletics can be physically demanding, so it is important for children and teens to be evaluated by a physician for clearance to play. Many school sports require evidence of a doctor’s check-up, but even more casual athletics can strain a young body, so it is best to get a physical.
- A Time For Questions – An annual physical gives parents and kids face-to-face time with an expert who can answer your questions. Diet, exercise, sleep, social relationships and puberty are just some of the topics that are often discussed. Prior to the appointment, think through any questions and be sure to write them down.As your child enters their teenage years, it can be helpful—and even advised—to give them a few minutes of time alone with their doctor, where they can ask questions and have conversations that they might not be comfortable having in front of their parents.
What Should I Bring To My Child’s Physical?
- Your child’s medication list (including over-the-counter medication, vitamins and supplements)
- Any updates to the family medical history
- Insurance information
- Any forms the school may require
- Vaccine record (if vaccines previously administered at a different provider)
Need a New Physician?
If your child does not have a pediatrician or family medicine doctor, and you need to get a physical completed quickly, Sarasota Memorial’s many Urgent Care Centers are available to complete a sports or basic physical and check-up. The Urgent Care Centers follow the American Heart Association’s 14-point evaluation for cardiovascular screening, which is the gold-standard screening to ensure your child is fit for all types of physical activity. But it is highly recommended that care is then established with a pediatrician or family medicine doctor.