While summer in Chicago may feel like it just started, you should be thinking about getting your child their school physical now. Depending on your child’s grade level, their school will require a back-to-school physical before the start of their next academic year.
"It's important to be proactive about your child's health and continually screen for potential health risks," says Daneen Woodard, M.D., ACCESS Regional Medical Director. "That's why I believe physicals are the best way parents can ensure their child is both physically and emotionally healthy and ready for the upcoming school year."
Even if a physical is not required by the school, it is a good practice to bring your child in annually for a regular physical. This appointment can help your child stay healthy, begin preventive treatments if necessary and promote healthy habits that will follow them throughout their life.
What happens during a physical?
While this will be different for each child, based on your child’s age and the reason for the physical, many aspects of the exam are consistent throughout. Your provider will keep track of your child’s growth and development as well as answer any questions that you or your child may have.
Providers will check your child’s height, weight and blood pressure to make sure they are within normal range. They may provide lifestyle tips, if any of these measurements are too high or too low. There will be an examination of your child’s ears, nose, throat and lymph nodes. The medical professional will also take a look at different areas of the body including neck, arms, legs and feet to make sure everything looks healthy and normal. Depending on what grade your child will enter next year, immunizations, blood tests and cholesterol checks may also be required as part of the exam.
How should I prepare for a back-to-school physical?
Parents can first prepare their child by talking about what will happen during their visit. This conversation is important, especially for younger children. Talking to your kids about their school physical will better prepare them on what to expect, which will help them feel confident and less anxious. A parent should also write down a family medical history to share with their provider, which includes any changes to the child’s health since the last physical and a list of any medications the child is currently taking. If you are unsure or have any questions before the exam, reach out to ACCESS and we will be happy to answer any questions.
How do I schedule an appointment?
To schedule your child's physical, please call us at 1.773.648.4861. We offer physical exams for students that need them for grade school, sports and college at all of our 35 Chicago locations. Same day appointments are available!