Now’s the time to schedule school physicals. Dr. Maoxiim Tellez with Memorial Physician Services – Petersburg 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 daycares, 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.
“We also like to discuss developmental milestones especially at the preschool and kindergarten physicals to make sure that the child is normal neurologically and does not need speech or other therapies,” Dr. Tellez 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-diptheria, tetanus and pertussis; IPV-polio; MMR-measles, mumps and rubella; and varicella- chicken pox
- Sixth grade: TDaP-tetanus booster, diphteria 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