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Back to School Physicals: August 17, 2019

Regardless of the sport and regardless of the age, health experts say, before children can play sports, they need to be checked at their pediatrician’s office. “We do a full physical with attention to prior injuries, any issues they might have with joints, knee pain, ankles, whatever. We address any injuries in the past. Nowadays, concussions,” said Dr. Piedade Silva, a pediatrician with Lee Health.

While many schools require children to have a physical before playing a sport, doctors recommend yearly physicals to monitor a child’s health.  “Children, or teenagers for that matter, they’re not static. They change. Every year there is a different phase, there is a different issue,” she said.

A yearly physical checks a child’s weight, height, and blood pressure. During the exam, children can also address any social, developmental, or behavioral concerns.  “Girls that have periods, we always check their hemoglobin. We check as a routine their cholesterol, their lipid panel around age 11,” said Dr. Silva.

If children are physically active, doctors may also address the importance of nutrition and hydration. “We live in Southwest Florida, in 96-degree weather. These kids are practicing out there at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, and these kids need to be reminded of water, water, water,” she said.

Doctors also use yearly physicals to educate children on the importance of getting enough rest and nutrition throughout the day. “Take a power bar, take some healthy nutrition, we don’t need sugary stuff, but a granola bar, a power bar, an apple, grapes,” said Dr. Silva.

Friendly reminders to keep children healthy during the upcoming school year. “We would rather see you for checkups than sick visits,” said Dr. Silva.

Yearly physicals are the perfect time for children to address any health concerns.



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