Neena Tripathy, MD, Pediatrics, answers common patient questions about school and sport physicals critical for participation in most public organizations and schools.
Q: When does my child need a school or sport physical?
Dr. Neena Tripathy: School-aged children should be scheduled for a physical once a year. Even if your child has visited their provider for other health concerns of illness in the past year, it’s still important to have a physical to monitor your child’s growth and development. If you are unsure if your child is due for a physical, contact your physician’s office. In Illinois, physicals are required for students entering Kindergarten, 6th and 9th-grades, as well as student athletes playing on a school sports team for the 2021 season.
Q: What should I expect at my child’s physical?
NT: Your child will receive the necessary screening tests to ensure they are on track in their development—vision checks, hearing tests or even blood tests to check for signs of high cholesterol or anemia depending on their age. We will often discuss things like exercise habits, nutrition, sleep patterns and mental health. With parental and patient permission, we also discuss making healthy decisions as they grow older.
Q: Why does my child’s school care about school physicals?
NT: Schools want to verify that students are healthy and routinely being evaluated by a provider. They also want to make sure that all of their students are safe and healthy by ensuring children are up to date on immunizations and routine screenings (like blood pressure, vision and hearing tests, and more).
Q: What if my child plays sports?
NT: If your school requires a physical in order to participate in sports or after-school extracurricular activities, it may be helpful to bring documentation of your child’s yearly physical to their sport physical. You should alert your provider to any recent injuries such as broken bones, concussions and sprains. Don’t hesitate to ask for your provider’s advice on how to keep your child safe while participating in their sport. We are always happy to talk about how to properly keep your children healthy and safe!
Q: What if I run out of time to get my child’s appointment scheduled before the school year?
NT: Be sure to talk to a nurse or administrator at your child’s school. They can often walk through options for making sure your child stays on time. Carle offers many convenient options, including a mobile health clinic, for school and sport physicals, and often same day and walk-in appointments are available to meet your schedule.
Q: What immunizations (shots) does my child need for school?
NT: For students who are beginning kindergarten, there are typically four main immunizations needed to begin school:
- Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis/whooping cough (DTaP)
- Polio booster shot
Q: Should my child receive a COVID-19 vaccine before the school year?
NT: The FDA and CDC have approved COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for children aged 12-17 for certain vaccine manufacturers. We, in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommend COVID-19 vaccination for all adolescents 12 years of age and older who do not have contraindications using a COVID-19 vaccine authorized through EUA, recommended by the CDC, and appropriate for their age and health status.
Carle offers numerous vaccine clinics throughout the region, and we are happy to discuss any questions you have regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and how to schedule your child’s vaccine at a location near you.
Q: What if I have questions or concerns about getting my child immunized?
NT: We want to make sure parents feel confident in their child’s immunizations and answer any questions you have. Carle providers recommend immunization your children in accordance to the Centers for Disease Control immunization schedule and American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. For parents who are hesitant, we are happy to provide resources and evidence-based information to families who have questions about the benefits of immunization. Your child’s wellbeing is important to us, and we want to address any concerns you have and clarify the many incidents of misinformation online regarding immunizations. For those choosing to not vaccinate your child, many schools have a religious or personal exemption form that will need to be completed. Our providers may also ask that you sign a document stating that you have discussed immunizations with your provider and that you have decided to not immunize your child.
Q: How can my provider help my child with medications while at school?
NT: IT’s not uncommon for some children to need medication to treat ADHD, allergies, diabetes, asthma and other conditions while at school. We often provide written instructions to the patient and school for medication needed during the school year. It’s also common to provide the school extra medication for them to give (like an extra inhaler, for example, in case your child shows asthma symptoms while at school).
Q: Where can I schedule my child’s physical?
NT: Carle providers are ready to complete physicals required for students entering Kindergarten, 6th and 9th-grades, as well as student athletes playing on a school sports team for the 2021 season. We are happy to schedule your school or sports physical at a location convenient for you and your family.
- Carle Primary Care
- Carle Pediatrics
- Carle Family Medicine Residency Clinics (Walk-ins accepted at both Normal and Urbana clinics)
- Carle Mobile Health Clinic (Click to view Back-to-School Event schedule)
- Carle Convenient Care and Convenient Care Plus (Sport physicals only)
Categories: Staying Healthy