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Back to School: What to ask your pediatrician or family medicine doctor

Parents, you may be thinking about getting back into the early morning routine or shopping for school supplies, while your child is thinking about which friends are in class with them this year, but the start of a new school year is also the time you want to think about annual checkups and sports physicals. This is a good opportunity to discuss preventative measures with your child’s pediatrician, as well as manage pre-existing conditions like asthma or allergies. Additionally, parents need to understand if there are any changes that should be taking place this year with regards to their child’s diet or physical activity. If the child is participating in sports, it is recommended that an annual physical be completed before competition (or even practice) begins. Immunizations updates and annual checkups are also available at Utica Park Clinic Urgent Care located at 9245 S. Mingo.

Vaccines for Back to School

Is your child due for a vaccine before going back to school? This is a good question to ask your child’s pediatrician or Family Medicine physician. Preschoolers and kindergarteners may be due for vaccines to prevent measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and diphtheria. Here is the immunization schedule for children up to age six, as recommended by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) Children seven to 18 years old need to follow the immunization schedule for older children to receive vaccinations for other diseases as well, including hepatitis A and B, meningococcal disease, pneumococcal disease, pertussis, and others. All children over the age of six months should receive the influenza vaccine to prevent the flu. Check back here soon to find out when the flu shot will be available at a Utica Park Clinic location near you. By the time children enter the ninth grade all immunizations should be complete.

Healthy BMI

Children grow at different rates. Talk to your pediatrician about your child’s height and weight to ensure they are on a healthy path. Your health care provider can determine your child’s Body Mass Index (BMI), which is age- and sex-specific, to make sure it is within a healthy range. Childhood obesity is a growing problem in our country, with an estimated one in three children ages two to 19 overweight or obese. Maintaining a healthy weight throughout childhood can have lasting effects on your child’s life and help prevent chronic illness.

Physical Activity

Participation in organized sports is a great way to incorporate regular physical activity into your child’s busy life when school is back in session. However, your child’s school will likely require a pre-participation physical examination (PPE) to make sure it is suitable for your child to play in a sport. The two parts of the exam – medical history and physical examination – help identify any health problems that may interfere with your child’s participation in sports. For example, if your child suffers from asthma, a change in medication could help to reduce episodes from sports-induced asthma.

Also, talk to your child’s pediatrician about ways to play sports safely. From having the right protective equipment to warm-up exercises and staying hydrated, being smart about sports helps reduce the risk of injury or illness.

To schedule an annual checkup or sports physical for your child, please call 918-579-DOCS (3627) or click here to find a provider near you.