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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Marketplace

3035 Hamilton Boulevard
Sioux City, IA 51104

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Sunnybrook

5885 Sunnybrook Drive
Sioux City, IA 51106

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The Real Truth Behind School Physicals

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Have you ever wondered why your child needs an annual physical? A lot can change in your child’s health in a year’s time. During a physical exam, your child’s provider will monitor your child’s growth, health and development and safeguard against any potential physical problems that could arise.

If a school physical isn’t on the top of your child’s back-to-school list, it really should be. It is an important step in making sure your child is ready for all the adventures that await them in the new school year.


Who Should Have a School Physical?

 All kids of school age should receive a physical exam on an annual basis. While most parents stay up-to-date on their children’s well-child visits as babies, it is easy to get out of the routine of taking kids to the doctor once those frequent well-child check-ups end. “There really shouldn’t be a break in a child’s annual visits to their provider. To ensure their overall health, it is recommended that children of all ages—whether they are in school or not—continue to see their provider on an annual basis,” says Laura Danis, DO, of UnityPoint Clinic Family Medicine at Sergeant Bluff.


Why Do Schools Require Back to School Physicals Each Year?

Annual physical requirements vary depending on state and school. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your child’s yearly exam ensures he or she is up-to-date on vaccines to protect against serious diseases. Safeguarding your child’s health as well as the health of classmates, friends and others is a top priority for providers and school administrators. Keep your child healthy by knowing your state’s school vaccination requirements.


What is the Best Time of Year to Schedule My Child’s Physical?

The ideal time to schedule your child’s annual physical is before the start of the school year, either in the spring or summer. Though it varies, documentation may be required for your child to begin the new school year, in addition to sports and activities. And, even if documentation isn’t required, it is always a good idea to stay up-to-date on your child’s current health status to make sure they stay healthy.


What Should We Bring to the Appointment?

Make the most of your child’s appointment by preparing information ahead of time. Key pieces of information to bring include:

  • Changes in family medical history

  • Change in the child’s health since the last physical

  • List of any over-the-counter or prescription medications your child is taking

  • Your family insurance card


How Can I Prepare My Child for Their Appointment?

Talk to your child ahead of time to prepare them for their appointment. Make sure they have a good understanding of what will take place during the exam.

“During the physical part of the exam, a provider will record the child’s weight and height, take blood pressure, test vision, check the heart, lungs, abdomen, nose and throat and evaluate a child’s joints and posture,” adds Danis. “While most portions of an exam are the same for boys and girls, there are some differences—especially for children who have or are going through puberty. We try to educate those patients on what physical and emotional changes they may experience in the months ahead.”

In addition to medical history and physical examination, a provider will also discuss the importance of a good diet, sleep regime and safety including the importance of bike helmets and sunscreen.


Where Can We Find a Provider for My Child?

It is very important to choose a provider that both you and your child will be comfortable speaking with and trust. There are a number of family medicine providers to choose from close to home. Schedule an appointment with a primary care provider today and make sure your child is ready for the new school year.