At the beginning of a new school year, in addition to helping your child find the right supplies and perfect first-day outfit, make sure they have a healthy start using these health checklists from Via Christi Clinic Pediatrics.
- Schedule physical or sports pre-participation evaluation. Exam should include blood pressure, review of past health problems and any chronic conditions, assessment of growth and BMI, and assessment of development/learning issues.
- Ensure immunizations are current. Age 11 is a milestone at which many are recommended, including meningitis, flu vaccine and HPV (for both genders).
- Have dental exam and schedule necessary dental work.
- Schedule annual eye exam with an optometrist to screen for disease or other issues.
- Make sure you have signed pre-participation evaluation form if child plans to play sports (middle and high school).
- Ensure school knows about any medical issues and has prescriptions and all required forms for administering medications. If you request a form completed for medication use at school, clarify the dosing with your physician so the form accurately reflects your child’s current use of the medicine.
- Update emergency phone numbers on file at school.
- Work on positive sleep habits. Gradually ease into an earlier bed time and wake-up time – 5 to 10 minutes earlier each night a few weeks prior to the start of school year.
- Reduce first-day anxiety by talking about what to expect, choosing a special outfit to wear, and packing lunch and backpack with all necessary supplies the evening before.
- Celebrate the start of school! Kids need to believe that you view school as a positive and worthy experience so they’ll enter it with a good attitude.
In addition to the above recommendations, the following reminders may be especially helpful for students heading for college:
- Immunizations: Meningitis required; HPV and flu vaccinations optional.
- For students with chronic conditions, have prescription medications ready and choose a doctor in the college town.
- Make sure required health forms for college are completed by care provider.
- Schedule follow-up and preventive care appointments for student’s breaks.
- Be aware of conditions the university’s student health department can treat versus when he/she should visit the emergency room. Clarify with insurance the preferred emergency care location.
- For students with asthma and/or allergies, communicate with future roommate/s about allergenic items — such as pets, wool rugs and cigarettes — they should leave at home.
- Pack common over-the-counter pain relief, antacids and a first aid kit.
- Discuss safety, avoidance of risky behaviors, stress relief and nutrition.
- Because most pediatricians don’t see college-age patients, arrange transfer to a doctor for adults
For information on the flu vaccine, prevention, and fall vaccine station locations, visit viachristiclinic.com and select the Patient Info drop-down menu.