8 Frequently Asked Questions About Back To School Physicals

1- Is there a difference between a sports physical and my child’s yearly back-to-school physical?

Yes, there is a difference!

Here in Houston sports are a big deal, but so is keeping your child healthy and safe, which is why sports physicals are designed to determine if your child is up to the demands of a particular physical activity or sport. These special physicals focus on the various expectations of your child’s development that will let you and the sports provider know your child will be SAFE participating in physical activities. Often the school or sports organization will even provide you with physical forms to get filled out by your child’s physician.

School physicals are designed to help you and your child’s healthcare provider monitor your child’s development and keep up with their needs. These physicals are not just about their physical capability but pay attention to all areas of your child’s health and wellness, including mental and emotional development.

However, both physicals can be performed during the same appointment as long as your doctor is aware of the need for both.

2- Do schools actually require back to school physicals?

It really depends upon where your child is enrolled at school. Different schools and districts have different requirements for children who are planning to enroll. In Houston, you need to have your child immunized according to the immunization schedule of Texas and you must be able to provide documents of proof for those immunizations. Angel’s Medical can provide both the immunizations and the proper documentation for your child to be enrolled in school.

3- What happens during a back to school physical examination?

Back to school physicals at Angels Medical include 5 simple steps. 

    1. Vitals: At the very beginning of your Angels Medical appointment your child’s vitals will be taken including heart rate, temperature, and oxygen levels.
    2. Measurements: Next your child’s height and weight will be measured so you and your doctor can see how they’ve grown, if there are any concerns, and what to expect in the future. 
    3. Discussion: You and your child’s care provider will now sit and discuss your child’s wellness, make sure to bring up any concerns you have and answer all questions your health provider may ask as well as possible so you can make sure your child is getting the care they need. 
    4. Physical Exam: Now your primary care provider is going to give your child a thorough physical examination looking in ears, eyes, checking reflexes, listening to the heart and lungs, and even pressing on the stomach and checking glands. 
    5. Immunizations: Finally, your child will receive any vaccinations or immunizations that they may need to keep them on schedule.

4- Is a back to school physical really that important?

Well-child visits or visits to the doctor when your child isn’t sick are EXTREMELY important. There is no other way for your child’s health care provider to understand what “normal” is for your child unless they are able to get to know them when they aren’t experiencing symptoms of an abnormal kind. If you only bring your child to the doctor when they aren’t feeling well you are making it hard for your pediatrician to give them and YOU the best care, advice, and guidance.

Back to school physicals allow for a regular check-in that will help your pediatrician keep a medical history, maintain an expectation for your child’s development and growth, and make sure you’re keeping up with their ever-changing needs.

5- How often does my child need to visit the doctor?

It is commonly accepted that healthy children should visit the doctor once every two years. If your child has an existing condition then it is better to visit the doctor every year for your annual check-up.

6- Who can perform a back to school physical? Does it have to be a doctor?

There are actually many types of health care providers here at Angels Medical in Houston who can give your child their complete yearly examination. Not only doctors but Nurse Practitioners and even physicians assistants can give your child their physical.

7- Do I need to talk to my child about their physical?

It can be very helpful for your child, depending on their age, to understand what’s going to happen during their physical. The more prepared they are the less scary it will be. Talk to them about the few simple steps of measuring vitals and such and the physical examination. Most importantly, consider preparing them if they will be needing immunizations so that they don’t feel tricked or betrayed by you or the doctor.

8-When should I set up a back to school physical for my child?

Surprisingly enough, even though it is considered a “back to school” physical, you’re competing with a LOT of parents to get your child in for their check-up before the school year. Which means whether your child is enrolled in the Deer Park Independent School District or Pasadena Independent.

It’s often a good idea not to wait around until the fall since that’s rush-season for school physicals. Spring or early summer are actually prime times for you to get your child in to see one of our practitioners here at Angels Medical!

For more answers to your questions about pediatric physicals read our article “Why does your child or teenager need a school physical?

Call and set up your child’s back to school physical today!