There is a lot your child needs when they head back to school-new notebooks, pencils, backpacks, lunchboxes-and right up there with new school supplies is a yearly check up with your child's pediatrician. No matter what grade they are in, a yearly physical exam by your family's pediatrician is an important part of your child's healthcare and back to school time is a great time to put it on your schedule.
Visiting the same doctor year after year allows your child and their doctor to build a relationship and have a reliable source for medical care throughout childhood. You will also have someone in your court that knows your child's medical history, illnesses and injuries.
When you visit the pediatrician before school starts, not only will your child get a physical exam, but the doctor will also address any emotional, developmental or social concerns as well. The routine physical involves checking height and weight, blood pressure, pulse, the heart and lungs, eyes, ears, nose, mouth and throat. Depending on your child's age they may check gross-motor development, fine-motor development and reflexes as well.
The doctor will also help instill healthy values in your child-values like always wearing a helmet or using a seat belt, exercise and eating well. This contributes to your child's overall wellness over the years.
Most schools will also want to know if your child's vaccinations are up to date at the beginning of the school year. The doctor will have this information and be able to keep you up to date. Most doctors recommend the following immunizations:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- MCV4 (meningitis)
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
- DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
One of the most important things you can do as a parent for your child's development and overall wellness during the school year is to make sure they have a complete physical and medical history update each fall.
It will help you to raise a happy and healthy child that is ready to tackle another school year.
Central Maine Pediatrics at Lewiston is committed to educating families and offers a variety of special services in addition to routine physicals, preventive care and more. For more information, call 207-795-5730 or visit www.cmmc.org.