by M. Rachel McGuffey, MD, Lexington Clinic Pediatrician
The time has come for children to prepare for the upcoming school year. Notebooks, pencils, binders and backpacks are a necessity for most students – but what about a back-to-school physical?
A majority of parents think that as long as their child is healthy and they are not participating in school sports, there is no need for a doctor’s visit prior to the school year. However a back-to-school physical is one of the most important parts of preparing for the coming year.
For most children in good health, a back-to-school physical may be the only time they see their pediatrician all year. For this reason, it is important to ensure a child is at that appointment in order to maintain a relationship with the child’s pediatrician. During this appointment, the child will also receive a thorough physical evaluation, which allows for early detection of any possible risk factors and health concerns.
Most importantly, a back-to-school physical is the ideal time to ensure children are receiving the required vaccines at the appropriate times. Most of these vaccines are required before a child can enroll at a school, and receiving the boosters at the appropriate times ensures maximum protection for the child from these diseases.
An annual back-to-school physical also allows the pediatrician to address any emotional, developmental or social concerns a child, or child’s parents, may have. As a child turns into a teenager, their pediatrician may be a trusted source to discuss social issues including drinking, drugs, smoking, sexual activity and depression.
If you have any questions about your child’s back-to-school physical, or to schedule with your child’s pediatrician before school starts, please visit LexingtonClinic.com/peds.
M. Rachel McGuffey, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician at Lexington Clinic at Eagle Creek Medical Plaza. She provides primary care for children, childhood immunizations, well-child physicals, and school and sports physicals. Dr. McGuffey's professional interest is general pediatrics.
Lexington Clinic is Central Kentucky's largest and oldest medical group. We have more than 200 providers in more than 30 specialties taking care of 600,000+ patients in the Lexington community since 1920.