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3 reasons your child needs a back-to-school checkup

A doctor talks to a young boy in an exam room.

Aug. 3, 2019—It may seem like summer just started, but it's already time to utter the three words many kids dread to hear: "back to school." If you haven't already done so, this is a good time to make an appointment with your child's doctor for a back-to-school health exam.

Here are three reasons why this visit with a doctor is a good idea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics:

1. A checkup is an ideal time to get vaccinations. Kids from kindergarten to college need vaccines. In fact, your state might require that your child be vaccinated against certain diseases, such as pertussis (whooping cough) and measles. Your doctor can tell you what immunizations your child needs.

2. An exam may be required if your child wants to play sports. Sports-related exams allow your doctor to talk to your child about things like injuries, training and good nutrition. Sometimes these types of exams happen through the school. But a school sports physical alone may not cover all of your child's health needs, so it shouldn't take the place of a visit with your regular pediatrician.

3. A checkup is a good time to ask questions. An annual physical gives you and your child's doctor a chance to discuss any developmental, emotional or social concerns. If your child is a teen, you may want to give them and the doctor some alone time. That will allow your teen to air any concerns they might be too embarrassed to bring up in front of you.

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