In September, many families are busy with back-to-school preparations. As a family practice physician, I recommend that they make time for a medical checkup. This is a great time to see a doctor to assess a child’s general health, including vision screening, blood pressure check, nutrition screening and evaluation of growth and development in younger children. I’ll make sure immunizations are up to date and will give necessary boosters. Children with conditions such as asthma may need to have their treatment regimen adjusted and may need prescription refills. Often, there is a need for paperwork to be completed, such as notices to the school nurse; some children may need a sports physical.
Parents may become concerned if their child has anxiety about returning to school. It’s important to normalize the anxiety, recognizing that the child may be facing lots of unknowns. A new school, an unfamiliar teacher or new classmates can be stressful, and might be more so if your child has developmental challenges. Let your child know that it’s perfectly okay to feel that way, and give lots of support, especially once school starts.
It’s essential to ease the child back into school routines a week or so ahead of the first day of school. This is especially important with sleep routines, as many children sleep later in the summer.
As a family medicine physician, I provide care to all ages from infancy through young adulthood and beyond. In my practice, I see entire families and often see multiple generations of a family. It’s gratifying to have the continuity of following patients throughout the course of their lives and taking care of a wide variety of medical issues. Family practice is care throughout the human lifespan, and it’s care of the entire person.
Karin Oltyan, M.D. is a board-certified family medicine physician with St. Clair Family Practice Associates. Appointments: (412) 854-5491.