Helping Your Teen Make the Most of the Back-to-School Health Care Checkup

Helping Your Teen Make the Most of the Back-to-School Health Care Checkup

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* Disclosure: Developed under the direction and sponsorship of Merck.

With the start of school just around the corner, one ever-present item on Mom’s endless to-do list includes scheduling school and sports health physicals. For Moms of pre-teens and teens, this appointment can also become a real opportunity for their kids to learn more about important health-related issues that can affect them.

With young children, we Moms knew previously that the responsibility of directing the flow of the annual appointment would fall on us – for example, we would arrive with a list of questions, give the health care professional a heads up that our youngest loathes getting ear exams, and take notes on the latest height and weight statistics. But as our kids grow up, we realize that this yearly appointment can be so much more. In particular, it is an opportunity for teens to become aware of the changing nature of health care issues as they mature. This can be challenging, as teens often feel invincible when it comes to their health and well-being.

At this peer-centric age, teens may become exposed to an array of diseases, including diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, meningococcal disease, influenza, and human papillomavirus or HPV. As parents, we can help teens understand that the first step to avoiding these illnesses is arming themselves with information, and that their health care professional can offer advice during the annual physical.

Here are a few tips to help you and your teen make the most of their annual physical and learn more about health issues that can affect them:

  • If your teen plays competitive sports, the back-to-school physical can be an ideal time to talk to the health care professional about important injury-prevention issues such as protective equipment, hydration, and healthy conditioning strategies.
  • For teens who seem skeptical about susceptibility to certain diseases, the annual appointment is an opportunity to have an open discussion with the health care professional about risk factors, what it’s like to experience these illnesses, and how to help prevent them.
  • As your teens learn more about maintaining their health, help them become aware of other health-related suggestions such as eating healthier snacks and going to bed at an agreed-upon time – particularly on school nights.

From ongoing academic pressures to a swirl of social issues, the teen years can be challenging. But by scheduling a back-to-school checkup and proactively addressing changing health care issues, you can help your pre-teen or teen avoid bumps in the road as they embark on the new school year.

Watch this video to learn about diseases your pre-teen or teen may be at risk for.

Read: From Toddlers to Teens: How Kids’ Health Needs Change as They Grow

Featured Image Photo Credit Shutterstock
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Stephanie Kaufman
Stephanie Kaufman
Feeling for much of her life that she couldn't sit still long enough to thread a needle and that all in all, she'd rather be reading, Stephanie Kaufman discovered crafting in her late 40s and now loves knitting, sewing, and household decorative arts.
Stephanie Kaufman

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