Why are Annual Physicals important for children? – First off, thanks for reading this blog article on annual physicals. Doctor Joseph Rosado wanted to discuss the importance of annual physicals. If you are a parent or grandparent – we hope you find this blog article to be valuable to you. Enjoy!
Any school-aged child should receive an annual physical regardless if they need one to attend school, play sports, or go camping. A physical exam is one of the few times that children see their physician for a scheduled check-up. In one visit there is a lot to cover, but if you come prepared your child will leave the doctor’s office happy and healthy!
Did you know that an annual exam looks at the following?
To complete the physical, your doctor may draw blood for several laboratory tests. These can include a complete blood count and a complete metabolic panel (also called a chemistry panel). The panel tests your blood plasma and can indicate any issues that exist in your kidneys, liver, blood chemistry, and immune system.
A child’s yearly checkup or “annual physical” with your health care provider is necessary. It usually includes a health history, physical exam, and tests. It is important to have a regular family health care provider who helps make sure you receive the medical care that is best for your individual needs.
Why are Annual Physicals important for children? Blog Article by Dr. Joe
Your doctor may start out the appointment by discussing with you and your child about their nutrition, their medical history, regular diet, and physical activity as well as ongoing health conditions, like asthma or allergies. If your child has a medication chart for school this is a great time to talk about current medication and refills needed throughout the year.
I (Dr. Joe) always tell my patients that they should be prepared to answer the following questions:
- Do you know how many times your child missed school last year and why?
- Has your child suffered from any sports-related injuries, visits to the emergency room, or urgent care?
- Has your child been hospitalized or had surgery within the last year?
- How is your child doing in school academically and socially?
- Being prepared for and answering these questions will help the doctor when they complete the physical.
If you have small children and they are hesitant about going to the doctor it might be helpful to tell them beforehand what to expect. Typically during an exam, physicians will check a child’s height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, heart, lungs, vision, hearing, behavior, reflexes, and motor skills. To be on the safe side doctors also like to check for high cholesterol, lead poisoning, and scoliosis.
Depending on your child’s age they also will touch on safety, whether it’s about bike and stranger safety for young children or safety regarding alcohol, drugs, and sexual activity for teens. But most importantly, there is no reason for a genital exam to be done on girls for sports physicals.
Is annual blood work necessary?
Your doctor will typically recommend that you get routine blood work at least once a year, around the same time as your yearly physical. But this is the bare minimum. There are several major reasons you may want to get blood tests more often than that:
- Your child is experiencing unusual, persistent symptoms. These could include anything from fatigue to abnormal weight gain to new pain.
- You want to optimize your child’s health. Knowing levels of various blood components, such as HDL and LDL cholesterol, can allow you to tweak your child’s diet or fitness plan to minimize unhealthy habits (that you may not even realize are unhealthy). This can also maximize the nutrients you put in your child’s body and more.
- You want to reduce your child’s risk of disease or complications. Regular blood tests can catch the warning signs of almost any disease early. Many heart, lung, and kidney conditions can be diagnosed using blood tests.
Why do some blood tests require fasting before your child’s annual physical exam?
Everything your child eats and drinks contains vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients that can cause the related levels in your blood to temporarily spike or drop. Having your child fast for 8–12 hours helps ensure that blood test results are free from these variables, making your test results as accurate as possible. Some common tests that may require fasting include:
- cholesterol tests
- blood sugar tests
- liver function tests
- kidney function tests
- basic metabolic panel
- glucose tests
Don’t forget to discuss immunizations for your child with your doctor. Keeping immunizations up-to-date will keep your child healthy and safe from diseases that can be highly contagious. Vaccines for pertussis (whooping cough), Meningitis, Hepatitis B, Polio, Chicken Pox, Influenza, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), and measles, mumps, and rubella are all recommended for school-aged children.
Like many people, you may schedule a yearly checkup or “annual physical” with your doctor. But healthy people often don’t need annual physicals, and they can even do more harm than good. Start off the year right and schedule your child’s physical today! Doctor Rosado has a team of health practitioners that are ready and able to offer school/sports physicals.
So in conclusion, the standard physical exam for children typically includes the following:
- Vital signs: blood pressure, breathing rate, pulse rate, temperature, height, and weight.
- Vision acuity: testing the sharpness or clarity of vision from a distance.
- Head, eyes, ears, nose and throat exam: inspection, palpation, and testing, as appropriate
Recently a parent asked if a child can get high on Medical Cannabis during an annual physical.
When we treat pediatric patients, the question we always get is, “Is my child going to be high? Is my child going to be incapacitated?” Many times, a parent does not know the answer and in some cases, the parents need to be educated on when or if medical cannabis is even necessary. During most annual physicals, the answer is no because the child is perfectly healthy.
But sometimes, the parents have a child that is sick or needs medication. So here is my answer to the question. Does your child get high by being on Adderall or Vyvanse or Concerta, which are medications for ADD and ADHD, and are amphetamines also known as speed? No. Right. Why? Because they’re being medicated for their medical diagnosis/condition–they’re not using it in the form of abuse.
Therefore, being that medical cannabis is medication, it is recommended by a physician, you have to go to a dispensary to pick up the medication and it’s regulated by the state where your physician practices medicine. It is important that you understand that the medication that your child gets recommended by a medical cannabis physician is just that, medication for them to deal with whatever medical issue they have.
So the possibility of them being high or incapacitated is minimal to none, as long as it is used the way it’s recommended. Should you have any additional questions or concerns, send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading this article titled: Why are Annual Physicals important for children? by Doctor Joseph Rosado.
If you have any questions about your annual physical or your child’s annual exam, please contact his offices. I hope this article helped you learn a little more about Dr. Joseph Rosado and shared the answers with you. If you want to learn more about this schedule an appointment with Dr. Rosado or purchase his book on Amazon.