Annual physicals are the cornerstone of a healthy school year
There are many things that must be done before sending your child back to school. In addition to buying new clothes and stocking your child’s backpack with the right supplies, make sure she or he has an annual physical and the proper immunizations to start the new school year on a healthy foundation.
“Annual checkups allow a physician get to know the medical history of your child and monitor their development from year to year,” said Millicent Ford, M.D., pediatrician at The Children’s Clinic at Springdale. “Establishing baseline information and history makes it easier to identify potential concerns over time. These visits are very important to maintaining the health of your child.”
Children should receive an annual checkup with their physician even if they are healthy. At a checkup, your child will receive a full physical exam including measurements, such as height and weight. This is a good time for parents to discuss any developmental, emotional or social concerns with the physician. Most insurance plans, including Medicaid, cover a free annual well-child visit.
Immunizations are another important way to protect your child’s health. Many children beginning school for the rst time are required to have received certain vaccinations. Receiving the right shots at the right time will help protect your child from contracting various diseases and help prevent the spread to others. Talk with your physician to learn what vaccinations your child should receive and at what age.
“It is essential for children to receive the right immunizations at the right time, especially before beginning school,” Dr. Ford said. “There is a very low chance that your child will experience side effects after receiving any immunization, but remember these shots will protect your child in the long run.”
If your child or teenager is involved in sports or other physical activities, their coaches may require a sports physical before they begin to play. A sports exam is similar to an annual physical exam, with the addition of the physician’s review of sports-related matters, such as nutrition and injuries. A primary care physician, such as a family practice or pediatrician, will be able to conduct a sports physical for your child.
If you or a family member is looking for a pediatrician, Dr. Ford is taking new patients. Call 479-751-2522 or visit
NW-Physicians.com to make an appointment.
Dr. Millicent Ford