It’s back-to-school time, and parents have lots of tasks to do to get their kids ready for the new school year. One of the most important tasks is to make sure their child’s health screenings are up-to-date.
“Back-to-school time can be busy for parents,” said Robert Sedlacek, MD, a family medicine physician at ThedaCare Physicians-Waupaca. “With all the information a child’s school sends ahead of the first day, we want to help parents stay current on their child’s health status. To help children start the school year on a positive note, there are a few screenings that we would recommended for families.”
To begin, an annual well-child visit is a good opportunity for a provider to see a child when they are healthy and not fighting some kind of illness. This can allow care teams to talk with families about preventive health issues, such as safety, getting enough exercise, good sleeping habits and healthy eating. Also, if your child is behind on immunizations, teams can provide vaccinations before school starts.
Dr. Sedlacek also noted that vision and hearing checks are important.
“I was in sixth grade when I received my first pair of glasses, though I probably had not been able to see the board through most of fifth grade,” said Dr. Sedlacek. “When a child cannot hear or see well, that will interfere with their ability to learn and interact with teachers and classmates. While it’s important for everyone to have an annual wellness visit with his or her provider, it’s especially important to get a vison or hearing test if your child reports trouble seeing or hearing. Examples may include your child sitting closer to the TV or computer screen than before, or turning up the volume while listening.”
Back-to-school time also means sports physicals are needed.
“If your student needs a sports exam, schedule them now so your student is ready to participate when their sport’s practice sessions begin,” Dr. Sedlacek said. “Physicals are a good opportunity for families to connect with their care team. They can also help ensure students are as healthy as possible for their age with the goal of training and competing safely.”
Good dental health is important, too, and Dr. Sedlacek reminded parents to schedule dental checkups and cleanings.
“A healthy smile can give kids confidence,” he said. “Sometimes kids’ dental hygiene habits may relax over the summer. A back-to-school cleaning can help get those habits back on track. If your child plays a sport that requires a mouth guard, it’s also good to have your dentist check that it fits well and provides the desired protection.”
Dr. Sedlacek also stressed the importance of making sure your child’s school knows of any special health needs.
“If your child takes a medication that must be given during school hours, you’ll need to provide that medication to the school with explicit directions,” he said. “Likewise, if your child has a serious health issue such as diabetes, asthma or food allergies, be sure that information is communicated to the school, there’s an emergency plan in place and all emergency contact information is up to date.”
Dr. Sedlacek concluded that by taking time to schedule health screenings before kids head back to the classroom can help them focus on a great year of learning.
“We want to empower families to support their children by ensuring their health needs are met,” he said. “We want each child to be healthy and set them up for a successful school year.”
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health of the communities it serves in northeast and central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 18 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including seven hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their best lives through easy access to individualized care, supporting each person’s own health and wellbeing. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand unique needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.
For more information, visit thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on social media. Members of the media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public and Media Relations Consultant at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.