4 questions to ask during your child’s back-to-school physical
With the school year approaching, parents are getting ready to take their children for their back-to-school check-ups. These exams are important to not only avoid preventative issues, but also to regulate pre-existing conditions.
There are several key questions that parents should ask when they bring their child to a family physician for their back-to-school physicals.
“Sometimes children have issues with their current medical issues like asthma, allergies, joint pain and weight problems, so you really want to discuss the child’s overall health during this check-up time,” says Dr. Latifiah Sabree, family medicine physician at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “Parents should inquire about proper diet. They should also ask their doctor if the child’s height and weight are on target and what type of nutritional foods they should be consuming. This is important as poor nutrition can lead to illness down the road.”
Dr. Sabree also suggests the following four questions parents should ask:
- Are there any vaccines my child may need for this visit or in the future?
- What are the available, recommended immunizations?
- Are there any physical or emotional signs I should monitor for in my child?
- Is my child’s BMI and weight appropriate for their age?
“These questions are important because parents are ultimately responsible for their child’s continuing health,” she says.
Sometimes parents may have concerns about the side effects of immunizations. These concerns should be addressed with their physician during the child’s physical.
“There are varying side effects, but most of the time, the side effects are local to the site, like redness, swelling and pain,” adds Dr. Sabree. “Some children may have a fever, but there are not any serious complications from vaccinations. Vaccinations build up a child’s immune system, while preventing life-threatening diseases.”
To minimize the risk of any health concerns, Dr. Sabree says it’s critical parents and physicians work together to encourage children to lead a healthy, active life.
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