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Back to School

Andrea Meadows, M.D., Lexington Clinic Pediatrics  

It’s hard to believe it’s already time for school to start. For many families this is a busy time of year…trying to fit in that last vacation, getting all the school supplies gathered and trying to squeeze in that dreaded school/sports physical or well child visit. Let’s address some common excuses I hear….  

“My child isn’t sick so I don’t need to take them to the doctor.” Well child visits are actually a very important part of your child’s medical well being. When your child comes in for a sick visit, it is very difficult to evaluate growth and development. This is actually better done when your child is well. It’s important to keep track of your child’s growth so that if there are problems, they can be addressed early and proper interventions made.  

“My child is very healthy". For his sports physical I’m going to take him to the sports physical clinic at his high school.” While I must admit this is very tempting, especially for busy parents who work during the day, it is still better for your child to be seen by his doctor. These clinics do evaluate everything required by the state for sports participation but they do not address vaccine status or other preventative health measures, which are equally as important. Older children are generally healthy and don’t come to the office that often. These visits give physicians a chance to recommend immunizations and offer advice on common problems during the teenage years.

All children must have a physical prior to school entry. This is a good idea for a couple reasons. First, it allows your child’s physician to evaluate your child’s development to determine if they are ready to start school and any special arrangements that need to be made. Second, the physician is able to review their vaccine status and determine which, if any, vaccines they should receive. Lastly, screening for vision and hearing problems can be completed and appropriate referrals made before trouble arises in the classroom.

It’s important to start the school year out on the right foot. This includes a health check-up as well and making sure you have the correct supplies!