Annual Physicals are the Cornerstone of a Healthy School Year


by: Dr. Millicent Ford

Children should receive an annual checkup with their physician even if they are healthy. At a checkup, your child will receive a full physical exam including measurements, such as height and weight. This is a good time for parents to discuss any developmental, emotional or social concerns with the physician. Most insurance plans, including Medicaid, cover a free annual well-child visit.

Immunizations are another important way to protect your child’s health. Many children beginning school for the first time are required to have received certain vaccinations. Receiving the right shots at the right time will help protect your child from contracting various diseases and help prevent the spread to others.

Portrait of an elementary school student with a toothy smile

Talk with your physician to learn what vaccinations your child should receive and at what age. “It is essential for children to receive the right immunizations at the right time, especially before beginning school,” Dr. Ford said. “There is a very low chance that your child will experience side effects after receiving any immunization, but remember these shots will protect your child in the long run.”

If your child or teenager is involved in sports or other physical activities, their coaches may require a sports physical before they begin to play. A sports exam is similar to an annual physical exam, with the addition of the physician’s review of sports-related matters, such as nutrition and injuries. A primary care physician, such as a family practice or pediatrician, will be able to conduct a sports physical for your child.

If you or a family member is looking for a pediatrician, Dr. Ford is taking new patients. Call 479-751-2522 or visit NW-Physicians.com to make an appointment.

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