Can you feel it? It’s time to start preparing to go back to school. I can hear my kids now with a proverbial sigh. There are a lot of feelings involved when one thinks about going back to school – lots of excitement, trepidation, and anticipation. It seems like just yesterday that school let out and summer began! As you start to make your back-to-school checklist, don’t forget about your child’s annual wellness visit.
Importance of a Yearly Exam
A back-to-school wellness visit and physical is the perfect opportunity for your medical provider to check in on your child’s growth and development, so they are ready to take on the world, both in school and every day. It’s helpful to remember that these physical exams are often required to participate in many sports and after-school activities. It’s not just a check up on physical wellness, but of mental wellness at the same time. In some health centers, your child can even have the benefit of physical, mental, and dental checkups at the same time.
Use this as an opportunity for you and your child to ask questions! If your child can’t settle down at bedtime, or if they break out in hives when they eat certain foods, or even if you want to know what your doctor thinks about certain over-the-counter medications – the annual wellness visit is a great time to sit down and chat with your provider.
What to Expect During Your Appointment
During a back-to-school physical or annual wellness visit, your provider will:
- Go over your child’s medical history
- Conduct a routine physical
- Screen for any developmental or behavioral concerns
- Review and administer vaccinations
- Review general recommendations with you specific to your child’s age or circumstance, such as diet and exercise, sleep, sports, and sports injury-related recommendations
- And clear your child for sports!
In the event a concern arises from your child’s wellness exam, your doctor can take a preventative approach and may recommend further evaluations if needed.
Preparing for Your Appointment
Before visiting your provider for a back-to-school physical, make sure you check with your child’s school to see if they have any forms that may need to be filled out.
Make a mental note of any changes in your child’s medical history since their last appointment: if they are taking any new medications, had any surgeries or treatments, or if they have experienced any abnormal symptoms or behavior.
If you are seeing a new doctor, bring your child’s previous medical records and vaccine history to the appointment.
When and Where to Schedule Your Wellness Exam
While there isn’t a set time to schedule your child’s back-to-school physical, many schools and sports programs require an updated physical every year. Getting into a routine and scheduling your wellness exams before the school year begins is a great way to check off an item on your back-to-school to-do list!
The best place for your child’s physical is with their pediatrician or primary care provider. These providers will already know about your child’s medical history, saving you the hassle of toting around medical records. If you do not already have a primary care provider, Peak Vista offers back-to-school physicals at many of its locations. Please also note that some insurance carriers only permit one, annual wellness exam per year, so be sure to check with your insurance provider ahead of making an appointment.
Randall Seeman, PA-C is a physician assistant at Peak Vista Community Health Centers where he also serves as a Vice President of Medical Services. Randall grew up in Centennial, Colorado and enjoys spending time with his wife and children, playing sports, and exploring Colorado’s beautiful outdoors.