How often should my child have a routine pediatric care visit?
Children should have a routine physical and pediatric care exam every year. Parents want their children to be healthy, and one of the best ways of promoting good health is through regular physical exams and checkups. For kids 3 years of age and older, that typically means:
- Seeing the providers at UNPC Family Health Clinic once each year for an exam
- Undergoing any recommended testing
- Receiving immunizations
- Receiving general lifestyle guidance that can help kids stay healthy as they get older
Kids younger than 3 need to be seen more frequently. That’s because many disorders initially appear during these years of rapid development, and having more frequent visits more helps the providers at UNPC Family Health Clinic identify signs and symptoms of developing problems so treatment can be provided as early as possible. Vaccinations usually occur more frequently during the first three years to help the child develop a strong immune system.
What should my child expect during a routine physical exam?
Physical exams begin with measurements of weight and height. These measurements can be compared to standards for the child’s age to ensure the child is developing on schedule. The providers at UNPC Family Health Clinic will:
- Take the child’s blood pressure
- Gently palpate the belly and neck to check for signs of tenderness or swelling
- Evaluate the child’s major joints
- Listen to the child’s heart and lungs
- Check the ears and eyes, and perform other basic exams
The providers at UNPC Family Health Clinic will recommend immunizations based on the child’s age and other factors to help prevent disease and support a healthy immune system. In some cases, she may recommend urine or blood tests as well. Before the visit ends, parents and kids will have a chance to ask health-related questions, and the providers at UNPC Family Health Clinic will provide plenty of helpful guidance to keep kids healthy as they grow.
How do immunizations work?
When we’re born, our bodies have some immunity built in. But there are many diseases for which we have no natural immunity. Immunizations work by stimulating the immune system to produce specific antibodies, special proteins designed to target and fight off disease and infection.
It’s not uncommon for some kids to have mild flu-like symptoms following a vaccination. These effects are temporary and occur as a result of the body’s immune-building activities as it ramps up its supply of antibodies. The federal government, schools, and some other agencies have vaccine recommendations based on a child’s age and sometimes other factors.
The providers at UNPC Family Health Clinic will discuss recommended vaccinations during the office visit.