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Do Children Need Annual Physicals?

Do Children Need Annual Physicals?

You want what’s best for your child, and you’ll do whatever it takes to keep them safe and healthy. But if you’re skipping their annual physicals because your child seems perfectly healthy, you may be doing them a disservice. 

Here at Woodstock Family Practice and Urgent Care in Woodstock, Georgia, Dr. James Y. Lee and our team understand that putting work and school on hold to take a healthy kid to the doctor can slip down to the bottom of your list of priorities.

Here’s why you should place it back on top.

Why kids need annual physicals

Children aren’t just smaller versions of adults, they’re unique individuals who are constantly growing and changing. A lot can happen in their body since the last time they saw a doctor. When was that? A year ago? Two years? 

The problem with only taking your child to the doctor when they’re sick is that the appointment focuses solely on the acute illness, and other potential problems are often missed. 

Yearly monitoring of your child’s growth and development, including a detailed full-body exam, is the best way to ensure your child is progressing properly and that no underlying health issues are developing. If you wait until symptoms appear, most conditions are harder to treat.

How often to take your well child to the doctor

When your child was an infant, a flurry of doctor’s appointments attended to their newborn needs, such as vaccines, weigh-ins, and feeding schedules. If you follow the US Department of Health and Human Services, you bring your baby to the doctor once during the first week of life, then again at 1 month old, then 2, 4, 6, and 9 months.

After that, yearly physicals are still important, and for the same reasons those initial visits were so critical — when and how your child’s body grows and changes reveals a lot about their overall health.

In the first few months, we’re looking for milestones, such as smiling, babbling, rolling over, grabbing, and eye tracking, and as the months turn into years, we monitor other age-appropriate milestones and compare results with past visits. In this way, we can often detect subtle problems early and treat them easily.

What to expect at your child’s annual physical

During your child’s annual physical, Dr. Lee performs a thorough exam that includes several observational and manual tests.

He checks your child’s weight and height to make sure they’re growing on schedule. If not, it could indicate an imbalance in growth hormones or other factors.

We also check your child’s blood and urine for possible pathogens or indications of infection or disease. 

Dr. Lee assesses their vision and hearing to make sure they don’t need assistive devices. To ensure all is well internally, Dr. Lee checks for swollen lymph nodes and organs, palpating the abdomen and other areas. 

We listen to your child’s heart to rule out any irregularities, such as murmurs or rhythm changes. We also examine their musculoskeletal system to monitor strength and check for spinal issues, such as scoliosis.

Finally, we take the opportunity to talk with you and your child about their general health, their daily habits, nutrition, activity level, social interactions, and anything else that may be of concern.

These in-depth exams aren’t normal aspects of your visit when your child is sick, so it’s important to check in once a year. 

When you keep regular well-visit appointments, we get to know your child and your family better, which means we can treat you with a much better understanding of your overall health.

It also allows us to chart your child’s progress over the years and compare test results and developmental milestones that often indicate a problem that would otherwise go unnoticed. 

To give your child the best advantage, ensure their ongoing health by scheduling an annual physical. Call us today or book online

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