6 Things to Anticipate during a Child Well-Check
A yearly well-check for children 3 years and older is important to their health. The well-check is a chance for your family doctor to assess the health of your child and his or her emotional and social development, as well. The visits can also help your doctor detect health problems or even seasonal illness in their early stages in order to treat them more effectively. Plus, the visits give your doctor a chance to build a relationship with your children and create trust, which will make these visits more comfortable for your child and more successful.
If you are new to the well-check, you may not know what to expect from it. Here are six things that will happen during these visits:
1. Height and Weight Check
All well visits start with checking your child’s height and weight. These figures will be placed in a chart that will be compared to previous figures from your child, as well as to figures from other children the same age. The goal is to see how your child is growing and whether he or she is developing in a healthy way.
You may find that your child is above or below the average for others of the same age. This can be an anomaly, or it can be just the way your child is. Your doctor will use this as one piece of information with many others to understand how your child is growing and whether there is any cause for concern.
2. Vital Checks
After a height and weight check, your child could have his or her blood pressure checked, and possibly vision and hearing. Again, these checks are designed to make sure that your child is developing on target and is not experiencing any troubles. The hearing and vision checks, especially, can detect any issues early so that intervention can ensure your child’s educational success.
For example, you may need to get your child glasses or a hearing aid to ensure that he can participate fully in the classroom.
3. Discussion with the Parents
Before beginning the exam, the doctor will talk with you about your child’s development and any concerns you may have. For example, you may have questions or concerns about how much your child is sleeping, what he or she is eating, speech patterns, or motor skills. Your doctor will answer your questions and help you understand what’s appropriate.
Your doctor will also have plenty of questions for you. Some topics covered will include daily nutrition, screen time, sleep patterns, physical activity, and development. Your doctor will ask about your child’s friends, chores at home, physical skills, and so on. Your doctor will also ask questions about things at home, such as if you have had a relationship change, if there are any guns at home, and so on. Your doctor wants to get a complete picture of what’s happening at home and what might be affecting your child’s emotional or physical health.
4. Physical Exam
The doctor will perform a physical exam that will include listening to the hearts and lungs, feeling the abdomen, checking the lymph nodes, assessing the spine, and inspecting the pelvic region. No part of the exam is invasive, and you are present during the entire exam. Siblings who are present may be asked to step out of the room to give your child privacy, depending on ages.
If your child is due for any immunizations or boosters, these will be given during the well-check, typically after the physical exam. Your doctor may also recommend a flu shot, which can be given at this time. If you need a form filled out for school or sports, your doctor can sign that at this time also.
During the visit, the doctor may find something that requires further investigation. For example, he may have concerns about anemia and order a blood iron test. Before you leave, you may be asked to report to the lab to have a blood draw or another test conducted. If your child is sick, other tests might include a check for strep throat or a urine test for a bladder infection. You won’t get the results right away, but you should get them within a few hours to a couple of days.
Knowing what to expect during a well-child visit can help you prepare yourself and your child. You’ll be able to gather information that will help the doctor, and you’ll be able to talk your child through the visit to diminish fears or anxieties. If you have additional questions, ask your doctor before you go.
East Mesa Family Doctors offers well-child checks, as well as annual health visits for the whole family. You can see an East Mesa general practitioner for yourself or your child. Our doctors are committed to the health of your whole family. Call us in East Mesa today to make an appointment for yourself or your child.