Summer means no school schedule. No extracurricular activities. The weekly planner—and Mom and Dad, for that matter—have a little more breathing room, which makes it a great time to schedule physicals for fall sports and catch up on wellness visits for your children.
Sports Are Physical
Children often are excited about participating in sports, but some cautious parents may ask, “Is it safe?” A pediatric sports physical can help you determine just that. Typically, sports physicals include a review of the child’s medical history and a physical exam.
The medical history reviews:
- Any allergies, diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, or another chronic illness
- Previous broken bones, sprains, strains, or concussions
- Medications your child may take, including vitamins and herbal supplements
- Prior surgery or hospitalization
- Family history of severe or chronic conditions
A physical exam looks at:
- Water and other beverages you child consumes
- Flexibility and posture
- Height and weight
- Blood pressure
- Vital organs, such as the heart and lungs
Many sports are physically trying. The results of both the medical history review and physical exam help your provider:
- Determine if additional testing is needed to ensure it is safe for your child to participate
- Decide if there needs to be a change in your child’s medication to compensate for the increased, rigorous activity
- Suggest training tips specific to your child, like increased stretching or strengthening exercises, to avoid injury
Check Up on Wellness
Many families take advantage of the relaxed summer schedule to go on vacation, which means there will be less people in the pediatrician’s office. This is a perfect time to schedule your child’s annual wellness exam, which include a review of your child’s:
- Height, weight and BMI
- Blood pressure
- Heart, lungs, lymph nodes, abdomen and skin
- Vision and hearing
- Spine, muscles and joints
- Sleep habits
An annual wellness exam is crucial to ensure your child is healthy and developing normally. It’s a great time to discuss any concerns with your provider, ask questions, and determine any changes that need to be made to nutrition, activity, water consumption, and medication to offset adverse reactions or illness.
Adhering to at least an annual wellness exam schedule increases the chance any issues will be detected early and keeps your child ready for school, sports, or whatever comes their way in the year ahead.