As both the month of May and the school year winds down, summer will officially be here before we know it. Of course, summer is filled with fun stuff like vacations and other activities, but Essentia Health in Duluth says parents should also utilize the time to do something vital to their children's health.

According to Essential, now is a convenient time to schedule a well-child/teen visit without disrupting your child’s education. Well-child/teen visits are a great opportunity to review your child’s health in all areas such as growth, cognitive and social development, illness prevention, mental health, and more.

Dr. Jonathan KenKnight, an Essentia pediatrician, says that "regular well-child checks play a crucial role in keeping your kids and teens healthy and thriving.”

Who Should Get A Well-Child/Teen Visit?

Essentia Health says these visits are for anyone from birth to age 21 and it is recommended that they be scheduled annually. Many insurance companies cover one well-child/teen visit per year.

During a visit, your pediatrician or primary care provider will:

  • Conduct a comprehensive physical exam.
  • Take measurements like height and weight.
  • Screen for any mental health concerns, such as anxiety and depression.
  • Update all immunizations or vaccinations, including for HPV, meningitis, and others.
  • Discuss illness prevention, nutrition, physical fitness, and other applicable health-related issues.
  • When it’s age-appropriate, subjects like substance abuse, proper dieting, and sexual health are also discussed at well-child/teen visits.
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For parents of kids who play sports, a sports physical, also known as a preparticipation physical evaluation (PPE), can also be completed as part of a well-child/teen visit. It is recommended that your child have their physical at least six weeks before their sports season begins so there is enough time to follow up on something if necessary.

Top Questions Parents Should Ask During a Well-Child/Teen Visit

According to Essentia, parents or caregivers should be involved in these appointments and ask the following questions:

  1. Is my child’s development and growth on track for their age?
  2. What vaccine(s)/immunizations(s) does my child need during this visit? What does it protect against?
  3. Is everything up-to-date, and may I get a record of my child’s shots?
  4. What infectious diseases are happening and how can I keep my kids safe?
  5. When should I bring my child back?

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It’s also important to ask questions about any treatment that is being prescribed. Parents should understand the diagnosis, how long to give their child the prescribed medicine, and dosage. Do not hesitate to ask your provider to clarify instructions.

Parents and caregivers are invited to visit Essentia’s well-child/teen visit page for more information.

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