Get a jump on the school year

Summer reading? Check. School supplies? Check. Your child’s health? Check.

With school starting soon, many parents find themselves busy helping prepare their children for the new academic year. One vital to-do is your child’s yearly wellness exam.

“It’s always a good idea to see your child’s pediatrician yearly to make sure he or she is staying healthy,” said Clair Palley, MD, CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Primary Care in Lexington. “Scheduling children’s exams while they are out of school is not only more convenient for parents but also helps keep children healthy in the upcoming year.”

During a back-to-school visit, your child’s pediatrician will check his or her development and growth, and you can address any concerns you may have about your child’s health.

“These wellness visits aren’t just for physical wellness,” Dr. Palley said. “Doctors address children’s mental and emotional health during this visit, as well.”

Community Immunity

During yearly wellness visits, Dr. Palley also recommends using this opportunity to ensure your child receives all vaccinations on time.

“Vaccines not only help protect the people getting them but also the people around them from getting sick,” she said. “There are some people who cannot receive vaccines, such as those who are allergic to the ingredients. Vaccinating yourself helps keep you from spreading diseases to other people.”

As best as you can, adhere to your child’s recommended immunization schedule. Staying up to date on vaccinations promotes wellness in both your child and community.

Growing Together

wellness visit

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children receive care at a facility from a provider who knows their full medical history and maintains a relationship with them as they grow. Back-to-school visits are an excellent way to help your child build that relationship with his or her pediatrician and will also lead to better care later in life.

“Physicians call that kind of facility a medical home,” Dr. Palley said. “It’s important to me to provide that for my patients. Keeping children healthy allows them to participate fully in life, and having their regular checkups helps them do so in a happy, healthy way.”

Athlete Awareness

Does your child play a sport, or want to in the upcoming school year? Many schools require sports physicals before the season begins.

During a sports physical, your child’s provider will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. The provider can address any health concerns that may affect his or her ability to play and offer advice on how to prevent sickness or injury during the season.

Even if your school does not require a physical before your child can play sports, the Nemours Foundation recommends your child receive a sports-specific physical in addition to a yearly physical.

Need to schedule an appointment with a pediatrician? Call 859.313.2255 or visit our online provider directory to schedule an appointment near you.

This article was originally published in the Spring 2019 edition of Spirit of Health magazine. Subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine to read more stories like this one.