… there is a lot of information that’s covered in (back-to-school checkups), and it’s easy for parents to get overwhelmed when navigating all their questions and concerns.

As a kid, I used to love when August came around. Seriously—not much beats the back-to-school excitement of decorating your locker, meeting your new teachers and getting new school supplies (any other 90s kids out there who loved their Lisa Frank backpack?). There was always one thing on the to-do list however that was never my favorite … going to the doctor. Now, I realize the importance of prioritizing preventive care for growing kids amidst all the back-to-school excitement.

As adults, we know that kids’ bodies go through many changes as they continue to grow and develop, so it is important that they see their pediatrician on an annual basis. These back-to-school preventative care appointments help to monitor their developmental milestones, address any current health concerns, ensure vaccination schedules are up-to-date and potentially provide physicals for organized sports. Of course, the pediatrician will also be listening to their heart and lungs; assessing their vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, etc.); and examining their eyes, ears and throat.

As you can see, there is a lot of information that’s covered in these visits, and it’s easy for parents to get overwhelmed when navigating all their questions and concerns. I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve walked out of the doctor’s office thinking, “Oh shoot, I forgot to bring up that topic,” (and there was only one of me in that appointment).

Thankfully, the Mayo Clinic compiled the following list of questions for parents to consider before a trip to the doctor:

  • Has your child been experiencing any learning difficulties or other classroom problems?
  • Are they having any pain, fatigue or digestive problems?
  • Has your child reached important developmental milestones on time?
  • Has your child experienced any learning difficulties or classroom problems?
  • Do they seem anxious or depressed?
  • Answering questions like these helps to ensure your doctor can stay on top of any concerns you have for the coming year.

Vaccination Status

Vaccines have given us protection from diseases that used to be common in the U.S. and schools will often ask students be current on their vaccines before the new school year. Vaccines have always been a hot topic, especially these last couple of years. So, make sure to speak with your child’s health care provider to address any questions or concerns you have. As a healthcare professional, I assure you that they have probably heard it all.

Among the most common questions parents ask is what to do if their child develops a fever after receiving a vaccination. Many will even ask if it is okay to give Tylenol or Ibuprofen to their child before a vaccine to help with any subsequent pain or fever. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s website, pre-medicating is not advisable as it can decrease your child’s immune response. The most important thing to do if your child develops a fever is to keep them well hydrated, monitor their temperature and contact their doctor’s office if it gets above a certain number. Be sure to talk to your pediatrician about when you should seek further medical treatment for your child.

For additional information, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia does an excellent job of addressing many different questions regarding vaccines. You can find those here on their website. The CDC website also has a lot of helpful information, including Vaccine Information Statements (VIS), recommended vaccination schedules and answers to commonly asked questions. You can find those resources and more in the blog listed below.

Vaccine Information Statement | Current VISs | CDC

Vaccine Schedules for Parents | CDC

Fever and Vaccines | Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (chop.edu)

Child back-to-school physical – Mayo Clinic Health System

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Kayla Hsu

Authored By

Kayla Hsu, MPH, CHES®

Kinetiq Health Program Manager

As a Kinetiq Health Program Manager, Kayla provides businesses with customized health and wellness solutions to better manage and improve the overall health and well-being of their employees.

Prior to joining Apex in March 2022, Kayla worked at the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center on a statewide grant initiative integrating evidence-based tobacco treatment services into behavioral healthcare settings. She also has experience as a quality improvement advisor with a nonprofit healthcare quality improvement consultancy and Medicare Quality Improvement Organization (QIO).

Kayla is a trained Tobacco Treatment Specialist (TTS) and earned the National Certificate in Tobacco Treatment Practice (NCTTP). She is a member of the Indiana Society for Public Health Education (InSOPHE) and a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®).

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