Posted by Pediatrics, Physician Services | Posted on 08-03-2012| Posted in
Students in Illinois who are entering kindergarten, sixth and ninth grades, college or any student who is new to the state must have a physical completed by Oct. 15, said Rajesh Govindaiah, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Memorial Health System, and some school districts require physicals be complete by the first day of school. Athletes also must receive yearly exams.
Calling early ensures your child will receive the necessary immunizations to begin school and will help avoid unnecessary delays, Govindaiah says.
“Vaccines are a crucial part of children’s well being,” said John Lee, MD, a family medicine physician with South Sixth Medical Associates, part of Memorial Physician Services. “It’s important for parents to get their children vaccinated not just once but according to their physician’s scheduled visits.”
Here’s what you can expect:
• A back-to-school checkup for a kindergartner consists of immunizations for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles, rubella, mumps and varicella (given in combined doses). Your pediatrician or family medicine physician will also check your child’s hearing, vision, height, weight and physical coordination to ensure proper development.
• Sixth- and ninth-graders may receive vaccinations to guard against the human papillomavirus, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis and meningitis. The checkup also includes a full-body exam and evaluation of nutritional status and physical activity.
“These mandatory examinations also serve another valuable purpose in allowing physicians to identify and treat conditions more promptly,” Govindaiah said. “For example, childhood obesity is a growing concern as it leads to adult obesity and associated health problems as an adult, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
For teenagers, Govindaiah says, your doctor will likely address psychosocial behaviors and ask about cigarettes, drugs, alcohol and sexual activity.
While annual back-to-school checkups are not required for every grade, they are still the best way to maintain a clean bill of health for your child.
“Parents should consider annual exams to help identify health conditions that parents themselves may not recognize,” Govindaiah said.
Lee said it’s important for parents to take an active role and keep records of their children’s vaccinations, especially if they plan to switch doctors, schools or move to another city or state.
Programs such as Vaccines For Children can provide shots for the uninsured and underinsured, he said.