Primary-Care Physician Talks about Annual School Physicals
MAYWOOD, Ill. – It seems the classroom doors have just closed, but all too soon we’ll start seeing sale fliers for Dora the Explorer backpacks and 25-cent crayons. Though summer fun has just begun, it’s not too early to start thinking about your child’s back-to-school physicals and making sure they are up to date on their vaccines.
“Come August, doctors’ offices will be jam-packed with last-minute appointments, so get a jump-start on it now,” said Dr. Heidi Renner, primary-care physician at Loyola University Health System and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
When heading to the doctor’s office, don’t forget your school’s required physical forms. Also, if you have an updated immunization record, bring it along as well.
“To get the most out of your visit, be sure to talk to the doctor about your child’s growth and ask to see his or her growth chart. This is helpful in assessing a child’s nutrition/caloric intake and helps to make sure they’re on track with a healthy diet and appropriate exercise,” Renner said.
In addition to diet, she also suggested asking about:
“Though no one likes to get shots, vaccines are an integral part of keeping kids and our community safe. They work to safeguard children from illnesses and death caused by infectious diseases and protect our kids by helping prepare their bodies to fight often serious, and potentially deadly, diseases,” Renner said.
Vaccines have helped to nearly eradicate many of the diseases that were leading causes of death in children only a few decades ago. Here are the main immunizations your kids need before heading off to school.
When entering kindergarten, your child should receive the following vaccinations:
Measles, Mumps and Rubella, better known at the MMR
Most likely your child received these immunizations as an infant. This second round of shots boosts the immunity. So, in 6th grade your child should receive:
Chicken Pox booster if your child has not had two by this time
If not given in 6th grade, your child will need the meningitis and tetanus booster before entering high school. Many colleges also are requiring students to get the meningitis vaccine. Many schools also are requiring a flu shot, so talk to your school about that as well.
“Yearly physicals are a great time to touch base with your child’s physician to make sure everyone is on the same page. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. We can’t help you if we don’t know a problem exists,” Renner said.
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Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 569-licensed-bed facility. It houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 264-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.