Why should you bring your child in for a physical?
You may wonder why it is important to bring your child in for a back-to-school physical if he or she has been perfectly healthy. At Westchester Health Pediatrics, a division of Westchester Health, we feel that this annual visit is often the only time your child will see their doctor all year, especially if he/she is healthy and active. As well as being an important health assessment, it’s an excellent opportunity for you and your child to ask us questions and/or share with us any concerns about your child’s growth and development, diet, nutrition, behavior issues, puberty, changes in the family and anything else that’s on your mind.
What to expect in a routine back-to-school physical
Most physicals begin with the doctor asking a series of questions about past illnesses or injuries, family history of illnesses, chronic health conditions and/or changes in your child’s health. He/she will also make sure your child’s immunizations are up-to-date.
In addition, the doctor will check for any emerging health problems. Based on your child’s history and the doctor’s observations at the time of the physical, he/she will determine whether blood or urine testing, or any other tests, are needed. If a problem is discovered, the doctor can refer your child to a specialist. If your child is on prescription medication, an annual physical is required in order to continue writing the prescription.
During the physical exam part of the visit, the doctor will:
- Measure your child’s height and weight
- Take blood pressure and pulse
- Listen to heart and lungs
- Feel your child’s abdomen
- Examine eyes, ears, nose and throat
- Test for basic strength and flexibility
- Examine hands, knees, feet, back, arms and legs
- Test reflexes
- Examine spine alignment
- Screen hearing and vision
- Order blood work if needed
- Order urinalysis if needed
- Administer vaccinations if needed
Back-to-school physicals also help us build a relationship with your child
One of the best parts about annual physicals is that we get to see your child every year and witness his/her growth, maturity and development. Annual physicals give us the opportunity to build long-term relationships with our patients, something that proves to be very valuable when they enter their adolescent years. To be able to talk frankly with their doctor about sensitive issues is extremely important, and that level of familiarity needs to be built over time. As you can tell, we love physicals!
Many school sports programs require a physical examination for participation, and we agree with that requirement. However, in-school sports physicals are typically not as thorough as the complete physical examinations done by our board certified pediatricians in our offices and tend not to address a child’s overall health. Also, we cannot complete a school or sports health form unless we do the evaluation.
Make an appointment today to come in and see us
At each of our 11 locations throughout Westchester County, our highly experienced pediatricians are welcoming, knowledgeable and ready to help. They’re eager to get to know you and your child, answer all your questions, listen to your concerns, and give you the comforting guidance and support you need. Please visit our Locations page to find the Westchester Health Pediatrics office nearest you.
By Westchester Health, member of Northwell Health Physician Partners