Back-to-School Physicals Recommended for All Miami Valley Students

Local Doctor Shares Importance of Annual Well-Child Exams

DAYTON, Ohio (Aug. 8, 2012) – As the school year approaches, Roberta Kern, MD is reminding parents that now is a great time to schedule back-to-school physicals for their children.

“Back-to-school season is great timing to bring a child in for a physical, or what we call a well-child exam,” said Dr. Kern a primary care physician from EduCare Family Medicine in Springboro, Ohio part of Premier HealthNet. “This is the ideal time of year to have routine physicals administered by a health care professional.”

All kids are recommended to see their primary care physician for a well-child exam once a year until age 18. Dr. Kern explains that well-child exams also assess how a child is growing, how a child is doing at home and how a child is doing at school. They review medical history, ensure that the child is getting proper care and evaluate preventive medical care options. These exams will help address issues such as, “Why is my child the smallest in the class?” or “Why is my child having trouble concentrating in school?” She also advises parents to write down a list of important questions they have about their child’s health prior to the appointment.

Dr. Kern, who is fellowship-trained in sports medicine, also recommends that children involved in athletics receive a sports physical; although, she says sports physicals should not replace a well-child exam.

“There is a misunderstanding that a sports physical is pretty much the same as a well-child exam,” said Dr. Kern. “While they do overlap, they are also very different.”

Sports physicals screen for athletic-type problems and evaluate past medical history, medical history in sports, allergies and surgeries. These physicals also include a medical exam of the head, nose and throat and a muscular/skeleton exam to look for any deficiencies.

Dr. Kern stresses the importance of scheduling well-child exams as they help catch and diagnose medical conditions early, allowing a plan of attack to be put in place right away. She says it also allows physicians to identify issues that parents may not have even considered to be a problem.

“It only hurts them in the end if you skip annual well-child exams or only do sports physicals,” said Dr. Kern. “You might end up missing something that will come up down the road that you could have started to address now.” 

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