It’s that time again, back-to-school time! With the start of the new school year, this might mean that you need to schedule a back-to-school physical. If your child is participating in school sports, they will need a physical every year. The annual physical exam is a great way to measure growth and the year-over-year health of your child.
Back-to-school physicals typically take the same types of measurements and tests, regardless of the provider you visit. Keep in mind that your child’s assessment will change depending on your child’s age.
Providers will typically:
Record your child’s height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, and body mass index (BMI)
Check your child’s heart, lungs, lymph nodes, abdomen, skin, eyes, ears, nose and throat
Evaluate your child’s vision, joints, muscles and spine
Discuss the medical history of your child and your family
Be sure to bring your child’s immunization records, as well as a list of any medications that they take, both prescription and over-the-counter. The doctor may also ask about your family’s medical history, so be sure to have some type of information available, should they require it.
Sport-specific physicals are sometimes offered for children who are going to be more active at their school. Sport-specific physicals typically check for chronic conditions like asthma. Some will also conduct a computerized cognition test to establish baseline neurological function, in the event that your child suffers a concussion or head injury later in the year.
If your child has not been to the doctor in the past few years, a physical is a great way to catch up on any past medical issues and help prevent future complications from arising. If they are not participating in sports, they will need to get a physical at least every two years.