Have you ever wondered why your child needs an annual physical?
A lot can change in a child’s health within a year’s time. By scheduling an annual physical, you are able to monitor the growth, health and development of your child in addition to safeguarding against potential physical problems that could arise. It is also an opportunity to discuss wellness plans with your paediatrician.
This type of visit is categorized as a preventative visit with the main goal of ensuring that your child is healthy and ready to learn. There are four main objectives which include; disease detection, disease prevention, health promotion and anticipatory guidance. Unlike sick visits which aim to cure a malady, the focus here is on what is being done well in addition to changes that can improve your child’s wellness.
What to expect at your child’s physical
During these visits, you can expect an in-depth physical review regarding normal development, sleep, nutrition, safety and illnesses that are “going around.” The paediatrician will:
- Assess your child’s height, weight and blood pressure and pulse rate and compare it with the norms.
- Obtain a detailed overview of past medical and family history.
- Perform an examination looking at the head, eyes, ears, neck and throat, heart and lungs, abdominal region and an assessment of strength and flexibility. Special attention is focused on whether your child is meeting the normal developmental milestones.
- Review immunization records and discuss what you are up to date on and what your child needs. This is also an opportunity to discuss other vaccines that are available but not mandatory.
- Offer advice about important topics regarding your child’s wellbeing such as healthy weight, nutrition, physical activity, mental health, safety and injury prevention. It is also an opportunity to discuss school success, adaptation, performance, progress and activities.
- The age of your child dictates what needs to be done at that visit. Blood tests and immunizations may be needed for specific ages. The Pediatrician will discuss this at the time.
- Parents of older children may be asked to give their child time alone with the Pediatrician. It is always a good idea to allow time for this interaction. This gives time to talk about sensitive subjects that may be easier to talk about without parents around. Time is given at the end to speak with parents as well to make sure everyone is on the same page.
To make the most of out of your visit
- Bring medical records
- Make a list of any medications your child is taking
- Know your family medical history and be aware of any changes
- Bring immunization records
- Bring school report card
- Make a list of your concerns