Schedule Your Child’s School Physical Now

It’s time to schedule school physicals as back-to-school season fast approaches. Shana Whitehead, PA-C, with Memorial Care in Jacksonville, notes the main purpose of a school physical is to make sure children are growing in a healthy manner, both physically and mentally.

It’s also the law. Illinois requires school physicals for children in day cares, preschool, kindergarten, sixth grade and ninth grade. Weight and height are measured to ensure appropriate growth and to screen for obesity. If risk factors are present, a fasting blood sugar may be done to rule out diabetes. Blood pressure measurements, heart rate and other vital signs can also ensure your child is healthy and has no underlying conditions.

“We also like to discuss developmental milestones especially at the preschool and kindergarten physicals to make sure the child is normal neurologically and evaluate if the child could benefit from therapy” Whitehead says. “Preschool children may also require a lead screening test in certain counties depending on the risk of lead poisoning in their community.”

The physical exam is an important tool to check for any physical impairment that might need further treatment. During the adolescent exam, patients are screened for depression, STDs and problems dealing with puberty. It’s also a great time to discuss questions regarding diet, behavior and other topics.

Immunizations are recommended for children at the following ages:

  • Kindergarten:DTaP-diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis; IPV-polio; MMR-measles, mumps and rubella; and varicella – chicken pox
  • Sixth grade: tdaP-tetanus booster, diphtheria booster and pertussis booster; Menactra- meningitis; Gardasil-human papilloma (virus that can cause cervical cancer, a series of three shots)
  • Ninth grade: Menactra-meningitis booster given at age 16-18

Some of these vaccines can be given in combination to decrease the amount of shots given.

Find a provider: Memorial Care Primary Providers and Locations

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