Amidst the back-to-school shopping for clothes and supplies, don’t forget to schedule your child’s annual visit to the pediatrician. Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital wants to remind parents that even though their child’s annual wellness exam might not seem urgent, the back-to-school season is the perfect time for it.
“Whether your child is about to graduate high school, or they’re entering their first year of elementary school, scheduling an annual wellness exam should be high on the priority list,” said Dr. Eric Eichenwald, physician-in-chief at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. “Scheduling an appointment is easy and the benefits are numerous. Kids go through vital changes as they age and develop, so it’s important that they visit their pediatrician often throughout their childhood.”
Check-ups: An annual exam allows doctors to provide guidance in all aspects of your child’s health including discussing diet and exercise, diabetes testing, monitoring the heart, blood pressure tests and screenings for vision and hearing. A visit with the pediatrician also allows your doctor to review vaccinations and medical records in case you need to provide this information to the school.
Physicals for young athletes: Most schools require a sports physical before student athletes can begin practicing. The physical can be completed at your child’s annual exam. Your pediatrician will address some sports-related issues in addition to the normal wellness check.
Social concerns: Even if your child is in their teenage years, going to the doctor regularly is still encouraged. In addition to a physical exam, pediatricians can address any possible social or emotional concerns. For example, teenagers may have questions regarding drinking, smoking or drugs. And for some adolescents, the social stresses and pressures that come along with school can lead to mental health disorders such as depression. If identified early, pediatricians can offer medical assessment or refer your child to the appropriate mental health professionals for counseling and treatment if needed.