Before your child goes back to school or begins playing a sport, you may be asked to take them for a school physical examination. This is a health assessment spearheaded by a certified healthcare professional and is designed to determine whether a child is healthy enough to be attending school or playing a sport. Its ultimate goals are to ensure that your child is healthy and safe for the upcoming school year or activity and any underlying health issues are detected, diagnosed, and treated early.
Here is what you should expect from a school physical.
What Is Included In A School Physical?
Updated Health History Review
Your doctor will build an updated health history for your child. It will include a discussion on:
- Previous surgeries or hospitalizations
- Recurring and past injuries
- Illnesses diagnosed in their younger years (diabetes, asthma, allergy, etc.)
- Serious illnesses in primary family members
- All current medications
- Whether your child has experienced dizziness, chest pains, or trouble breathing during sports activities and exercise
This part of the physical serves as a precautionary measure for the school administration to ensure that your child is healthy and doesn’t need special monitoring or precautions. Therefore, make sure to answer these questions honestly and carefully. If your child is an adolescent or teenager, fill out the form with them, so they’ll be familiar with their medical history, as well.
Another part of the physical will be recording basic information on how your child is doing presently:
- Height and weight measurement
- Pulse and blood pressure
- Vision and hearing test
- Medical check of the lungs, heart, skin, abdomen, nose, teeth, mouth, and throat to ensure there aren’t any abnormalities
- Screenings for hernia and scoliosis
- Determining the child’s level of physical maturity relative to their age group
- Testing of fine- and gross-motor development, as well as reflexes
Your child’s school physical may include laboratory tests. Although it isn’t always required, some schools may choose to include these in their requirements. Your doctor may also recommend lab tests if your child has preexisting conditions or is having unusual symptoms. The tests are performed to diagnose and manage chronic diseases and illnesses through early detection and intervention. The lab tests could include any of the following:
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Comprehensive metabolic panel or chemistry panel (to indicate any issue with the liver, kidneys, immune system, blood plasma, and blood chemistry)
- Thyroid screening
- Diabetes screening
A lot of states require vaccinations for children attending school. In particular, Texas law requires ten immunizations before kindergarten for children in public and private schools. You need to submit a proof of vaccination to your child’s school administration within 30 days of enrollment. If you don’t comply, there is a chance that school officials will reconsider your child’s enrollment.
School Physicals Per Grade Level
Your child’s school physical goals will differ depending on age.
Preschool and Elementary School
The primary focuses of school physicals for preschool and elementary school students are ensuring vaccinations are up-to-date and that the children are physically developing well.
Middle and High School
For this age group, doctors focus on physical development and any issues that may prevent them from participating in activities such as sports. Middle and high school-aged students experience a lot of changes in their bodies. A school physical is also a way for doctors to explain these changes.
School Physicals in Texas
If you’re looking for a talented and friendly physician to conduct your child’s school physical, Star Medical Associates is at your service. Our team, headed by Dr. Rani Anbarasu, will make sure your child’s examination is comprehensive and thorough. Aside from physical exams, we also provide other services, such as disease management, surgery, diagnostics, and wellness care.
You may call our Denton office at (940) 382-6900 or our Frisco office at (469) 301-2300 to set up an appointment. You may also schedule an appointment online.