Why Family Medicine is ImportantWith the start of a new school year fast approaching, it is important for all families to make sure their children have had an up-to-date physical exam before heading back into the classrooms. Annual physical examinations play an essential role in maintaining a student's health and wellness while allowing their pediatrician to look for any potential issues that might arise during the school year.

Physicals are important for people of all ages, from infants to pre-schoolers to high schoolers to young adults and beyond! Whether it's catching early signs of potential problems or simply establishing a comprehensive health record, these check-ups are indispensable tools for proactive care. Let's delve into more detail about what a physical examination entails and why they are crucial at every stage of a child's academic journey.

Understanding Physical Exams

A routine physical exam, often referred to as a complete physical exam or annual physical exam, is a comprehensive assessment carried out by a primary care provider to evaluate the general health status of an individual, regardless of age. This examination typically involves a thorough review of the patient's medical history as well as their family history, which can help identify potential risk factors for certain health conditions.

During this medical examination, the doctor will perform several routine tests and checks, each designed to assess a different aspect of a patient's overall health.

  • Vitals Check: This involves taking a patient's blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature. These vital signs can provide valuable insights into how well a person's body is functioning.
  • Vision and Hearing Tests: These assessments measure a patient's ability to see clearly and hear accurately, which are critical for both academic performance and overall quality of life.
  • Physical Inspection: This includes examining the skin, eyes, teeth, ears, nose, throat, chest, and abdominal area to identify any signs of illness or disease.
  • Neurological Evaluation: This step checks the functioning of the nervous system, including motor and sensory skills, balance and coordination, mental status, and changes in mood or behavior. Laboratory Tests: Depending on age and personal or family medical history, certain lab tests may be recommended. These could include blood tests, urine tests, or other types of screening tests.

Remember, though the above components are common, a routine physical examination may vary depending on the age and health history of the patient.

The Benefits of Regular Physical Exams for Growing Kids

Regular check-ups can help establish a comprehensive health record that follows your child as they grow. This continuous evaluation of their health can give doctors an understanding of how your child is progressing over time, as well as help ensure that potential health problems are detected early. Children grow and develop rapidly, and changes in their physical health can occur just as quickly. Regular check-ups allow healthcare providers to monitor these changes and detect any abnormalities early when they are most treatable.

For instance, a routine vision test can identify nearsightedness or farsightedness, enabling timely prescription of corrective lenses and thus preventing the child from struggling academically due to poor vision. Similarly, a routine test for hearing can detect any hearing deficits early on, which if left untreated, could potentially affect a child's speech development and academic performance.

Physical exams also include monitoring growth patterns and assessing body mass index (BMI). This can reveal if a child is not growing as expected or if they are at risk of obesity, prompting early interventions like dietary changes or referral to a specialist.

Finally, regular check-ups also provide the opportunity to administer vaccinations, which are crucial in protecting children against various preventable diseases. In short, annual physical exams are essential not just for monitoring a child's health status over time, but also for early detection and treatment of potential health problems, ultimately fostering optimal health and development as they grow.

Physical Exams and Back to School

As the school year begins, ensuring a child's health becomes particularly important. A back-to-school physical exam serves as an opportunity to evaluate a child's readiness to engage in school activities, both academically and physically. For example, physical examinations can identify underlying conditions that may impact a student's ability to participate in sports, allowing for modifications or precautions.

Importantly, schools often require proof of updated immunizations for enrollment, protecting not just the individual child, but also their peers and teachers from preventable illnesses. Communicable diseases can spread quickly in a classroom setting, so having an up-to-date immunization record is essential.

The start of the school year can also be a stressful transition for many children and teenagers, and a check-up is a chance to discuss their mental and emotional health. Pediatricians can help identify early signs of anxiety, depression, or other emotional health issues, and provide guidance or referrals to appropriate resources.

In essence, a pre-school year physical exam aims to ensure that as children embark on the new academic year, they are in the best possible state of health to learn, grow, and succeed.

Schedule Your Child's Physical Exam at Epic Medical

Epic Medical is a reputable, family-oriented medical practice dedicated to offering comprehensive medical services designed to safeguard your child's health. Our compassionate, experienced team of healthcare professionals understands the importance of nurturing a trusting relationship with our patients and their parents. We are proud to provide a warm, welcoming environment, ensuring that every visit to our practice is a pleasant experience.

Our commitment extends beyond the examination room. We believe in a proactive approach to healthcare, focused on education and prevention. Our team takes the time to discuss our findings in detail, offering advice and answering any queries you might have. We are dedicated to empowering our patients and their families with knowledge and fostering healthy habits that contribute to lifelong wellness.

So, if you are looking for a reliable healthcare provider for your child's physical exam this back-to-school season, look no further than Epic Medical. Together, we can ensure that your child is in the best possible health as they take on the new school year.

Epic Medical is Fox Chapel’s premier comprehensive medical provider. Our family medicine practice features concierge medicine, sports medicine, and physical therapy services. We provide one-on-one, personalized care to all of our patients. If you’re ready to receive comprehensive medical care from physicians who treat you like family, schedule an appointment with Epic Medical today.