By Dr. Kathleen Maurer
It's time to schedule physicals!!!
Did you now that the Academy of Pediatrics recommends a yearly physical for all school aged children? Those who sign up to play sports or register for summer camps are required to have a physical before they can participate. When time is short and schedules are busy, it might seem convenient to stop in at the local retail clinic at your grocery store or pharmacy. When children seem healthy, parents may wonder if it is really necessary that they schedule a yearly visit at their pediatrician's office, but there are some very good reasons why this is important:
-Your child's pediatrician or nurse practitioner is familiar with your child and has access to their medical records, including their complete medical history, immunizations, growth charts, allergies, medication, and other important information
-A yearly exam may pick up on health issues that are not always obvious, such as high blood pressure, scoliosis, a new heart murmur, a concerning skin lesion, abnormalities of growth or abnormal pubertal development
-If an abnormality is found at the yearly exam, your pediatrician is able to order labs or imaging, make referrals and arrange appropriate follow up
-Guidelines for yearly exams include important screenings for health problems, and age-specific discussions about topics such as nutrition, safety, body changes, risky behaviors, etc
-Yearly exams provide an opportunity for your child to become comfortable with their physician, and less likely to be overly anxious about doctor visits in the future
-If your child is due for immunizations these can be provided at the yearly exam
-You may have heard the term "Medical Home" which has become an important concept within this past few years. It is widely recognized that patients are likely to receive better care if they have one primary physician or group where all of their records are in one place and all of their health care is co-ordinated.
So call early to get your children in for their physicals and get the jump on sports season! Some families schedule their yearly physicals around the time of their child's birthday, and others come in during the spring and summer so they will be ready for camp or conditioning for team sports. We have forms available at our office for school physicals and sports physicals. If your child needs a camp physical or if their school has their own form, please bring them in when you come.
We look forward to seeing you!