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3 reasons to get a back-to-school checkup

A doctor is putting a stethoscope on a young child’s chest.

Aug. 1, 2022—It may seem like summer just started, but it's almost time to utter the three words most kids dread to hear: "back to school." If you haven't already done so, this is a good time to make an appointment with your child's doctor for a back-to-school health exam.

Here are three reasons why this doctor visit is a good idea:

1. A checkup is a good time to get vaccinations. Kids from kindergarten to college need vaccines. In fact, your state might require that your child be vaccinated against certain diseases, such as pertussis (whooping cough). Your doctor can tell you what immunizations your child needs.

2. An exam is a good choice if your child wants to play any kind of sports. A sports physical may be required for playing on a team or another type of extracurricular activity. But a sports-related exam is a good idea for all kids—even if they aren't joining an organized team, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The exam is the perfect time to talk about exercise-related topics, like injuries, nutrition, training and even how your child may feel about participating in sports.

3. A checkup is a good time to ask questions. An annual physical gives you and your child's doctor a chance to discuss any developmental, emotional or social concerns. Especially with teenagers, it's a chance to talk about alcohol, smoking, drugs and sexual activity.

Wondering what else you can do to make your child's school year a success? Check out our School Health topic center.

Reviewed 1/26/2023

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