Find out why every child will need to undergo a physical before the new school year.
By the time your child is old enough to go to school they will need to visit our Westchase, FL, pediatricians for annual back-to-school physicals to make sure that they are healthy. This doesn’t just protect your child’s health but also the health of others. If this is the first time your child is coming in for a school physical then it’s normal to have questions. Here’s what to expect at routine school physicals.
Reviewing Your Medical History
Since genetics often plays a key role in the development of certain health problems, it’s important to know the details of your child’s medical history including family history of certain chronic conditions including heart disease, asthma, and high blood pressure.
By understanding your child’s genetic makeup and medical history, our Westchase, FL, children’s doctor can provide more thorough and tailored school physicals to assess your child’s risk for developing these health problems. With conditions that are preventable, we can help your child reduce their risk by helping them make certain lifestyle changes.
Checking Height, Weight, and Vital Signs
When you come into the office we will also want to record your child’s height and weight, as well as check their heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure. Nearly one in every three children or teens in the US is overweight or obese, which can have a serious impact on your child’s health. From hypertension (high blood pressure) to high cholesterol, these issues need to be monitored. We can also provide you and your child with tips for how to get regular exercise and improving their diet to help them maintain a healthy body weight.
Performing a Physical Exam
The main purpose of a school physical is for our Westchase, FL, pediatrician to be able to examine all parts and areas of your child’s body to be able to check for past injuries, issues, symptoms, developmental problems or abnormalities. Since many kids are undergoing physicals in order to participate in sports, we will also want to make sure that they are healthy enough for their chosen sport and that certain conditions such as asthma are being properly managed through medication to prevent complications and issues from arising.
Children and teens will also need to follow a strict immunization schedule. Florida law states that there are certain vaccines that children and teens will have to get before they can go to school. Check Florida’s vaccine requirements and make sure that your child is up to date before the school year begins.
Clearwater Pediatric Care provides comprehensive pediatric medical care to children living in and around Clearwater and Westchase, FL. Call us today at (727) 461-1543 for our Clearwater, FL, office or (813) 818-1543 for our Westchase, FL, office to schedule your child’s upcoming school physical.
When your child is fussy and feeling unwell, you should make a decision quickly: Where should I take my child? While many parents opt to go to the emergency room or ER, you should know that we here at Westchase Pediatric Care provide urgent care services in both our Tampa, FL, and Clearwater, FL, clinics. But how can you really know if your child needs to go urgent care?
When Should I Take My Child to Urgent Care?
As a general rule of thumb, if your child can still speak, walk, play, and interact, chances are that whatever’s ailing her or him doesn’t require urgent or emergency care. With that said, however, you should consider bringing your child to our urgent care clinic in Westchase, Tampa, FL, or Clearwater, FL, under these circumstances:
- Your child has been vomiting and passing loose stools (diarrhea) without blood, but is not showing any signs of dehydration and has no stomach pain.
- Your child has a moderate temperature along with cold symptoms and you feel that he or she has the flu.
- Your child is complaining about sore throat and is having difficulty eating because of it.
- Your child has infectious conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye.
- You think your child has an ear infection; telltale signs include ear pain, ear drainage, and constant ear pulling.
It’s very understandable for parents to have that “just to be on the safe side” mentality when it comes to young kids. In reality, however, plenty of situations don’t really require a trip to the ER and the extra burden on their finances that come along with it. With this in mind, however, “just to be on the safe side”, consider taking your child to urgent care instead.
Does your child need urgent medical care? Westchase Pediatric Care offers urgent care services for kids at our Tampa, FL, and Clearwater, FL, clinics. Walk-in or contact us at (813) 818-1543 or (727) 461-1543 for more details. You can also call our 24-hour number at (727) 346-4011 for more urgent concerns after business hours.
Allergies cause all kinds of discomforts, not just seasonally, but year-round as well. Fortunately, if your child is dealing with allergies that give them a runny nose, sneezing, or watery eyes, the pediatricians here at Clearwater Pediatric Care and Westchase Pediatric Care can help—read on to learn how!
What are allergies?
Allergies are the body's hypersensitive reaction to ordinary environmental substances or foods. Present in both children and adults, the Centers for Disease Control says that 50 million people in the United States have allergies.
When it comes to living with allergies, proper diagnosis/identification of the allergen and treatment are key to good daily function. Parents and the doctors here at our Westchase offices work together to formulate allergy care plans that are helpful to children.
Dealing with allergies
Most allergy sufferers undergo diagnostic tests to determine what substance provokes their symptoms. Typically, doctors order skin prick or scratch tests that introduce tiny amounts of suspected allergens under the skin. Any reactions are read and a treatment plan is formulated. Sometimes doctors order blood work, as well.
Once identified, allergies can be controlled through:
- Avoiding triggers, such as pet dander, foods, tobacco smoke and pollen
- Using nasal sprays, eye drops, and oral medications to suppress symptoms
- Taking allergy shots (immunotherapy) to de-sensitize the body's reaction to triggers
Additionally, there are common-sense steps parents can take to suppress their children's symptoms. These can include:
- Limiting time outdoors during peak allergy season
- Closing the windows
- Having the child wash face and hands and even change clothes after playing outdoors
- Paying attention to what interventions and medicines work and which do not (and be sure to tell your child's doctor)
- Routinely dusting hard surfaces in your home and vacuuming soft surfaces
- Avoiding all tobacco smoke
Find out more
The more knowledgeable you are about your youngster's allergies the more control you will have over symptoms. For ongoing help, stay in contact with your child's doctor. Our team of five pediatricians and their support staff are very willing to answer questions, give suggestions, and help you coordinate your child's care. For Clearwater Pediatric Care, our number is (717) 461-1543. For Westchase Pediatric Care, phone (813) 818-1543.
If your child has expressed an interest in trying out for a school-sanctioned activity, generally the first step to getting them involved is to schedule a physical examination with their pediatrician. Sometimes called pre-participation physicals or simply physicals, these examinations are often required before your child can try out for an athletic activity at their school. Read on to learn why school physicals are so important, and contact Clearwater Pediatric Care in Clearwater and Westchase, FL, to schedule one!
What's involved with a school physical?
Physical examinations are fairly straightforward; during one, your pediatrician will make a record of your child's height and weight, as well as their blood pressure and heart rate. Their breathing, flexibility, strength, and joint movement will also be evaluated. A satisfactory examination will then be forwarded to your child's school. However, any issues that are detected may require further testing or special accommodations for your child.
Which activities require physicals?
The requirements set forth can vary by the school district, but in general, any sport or club that involves activity will require a physical before your child can try out. This includes sports such as basketball, football, and soccer, as well as cheerleading, dance team, and marching band. These physicals are only good for the duration of the school year, but they can be usually applied to more than one sports season (such as soccer in the fall and baseball in the spring).
Why are school physicals necessary?
Regular exercise is an important part of a child's development, but it's also imperative that it's done safely. A school physical from your pediatrician in either Clearwater or Westchase, FL will help ensure that your child doesn't have any underlying issues, such as asthma or a heart murmur, as these conditions could put them at risk for problems when they're out on the playing field. At the very least, a physical on file will give your child's doctor a yearly baseline from which to operate in case something would change with your child's health.
To schedule a school physical with one of our pediatricians, contact Clearwater Pediatric Care today. We have locations in both Westchase and Clearwater to make it easier for you and your family to receive the best and most convenient care possible—for Clearwater, dial (727) 461-1543, and for Westchase, dial (813) 818-1543.
When it comes to asthma, close monitoring at home, at a school physical and by your Westchase pediatrician, is key to managing this serious respiratory disease. At Clearwater Pediatric Care, Drs. Raj Pai, Mary Ann Hicks, Sheila Mak, Emily Jones and Seema Kubarek want parents and children fully informed for the best possible health outcomes. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions they encounter regarding asthma.
FAQs about asthma
What is asthma, and how did my child get it? Asthma is a chronic lung disease. Influenced by heredity, allergies, stress and environmental factors asthma is the most serious chronic health condition suffered by children, says the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Asthma is not communicable, as is a cold or the flu, but expresses itself over time, particularly as a triggers, such as pollen, exercise, tobacco smoke or cold weather, cross a child's path.
What are the symptoms of asthma? Coughing, particularly at night, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness are typical symptoms. They vary in severity and thankfully, may be controlled by avoiding known triggers and using prescribed medications.
How is asthma diagnosed? Your pediatrician in Westchase, you as the parent, or perhaps a nurse during a school physical may notice symptoms. Your child's doctor will listen to his or her breath sounds with a stethoscope and perform lung function tests such as spirometry. The pediatrician may order lab work and allergy tests, too.
Since asthma cannot be cured, can it be controlled? The answer is a definite yes. In fact, most children with asthma lead full and active lives. Medications--both rescue inhalers for sudden symptoms and long-term control prescriptions--increase lung function, allowing for full excursion of air, less coughing and fewer episodes of fatigue.
What is an asthma action plan? As reported by Kids Health, an asthma action plan is a written tool which helps parents and children manage symptoms as they occur. Formulated with the guidance of your pediatrician, the plan outlines how to respond to escalating symptoms, what medications to administer, when to go to the doctor's office or hospital ER and more. This tool accompanies a child to school, daycare, camp and other areas outside the home so that everyone who plays an active role in your child's day to day life knows how to help him or her with asthma symptoms.
Know more for better health
The Centers for Disease Control states that 8.3 percent of American children deal with asthma. At Clearwater Pediatric Care and Westchase Pediatric Care, the doctors and their support staff work diligently to education parents and children about this chronic lung problem. The result is active, happy, healthy kids. If you have questions about childhood asthma, please contact one of our two offices. We'll be happy to help. In Clearwater, FL, phone (727) 461-1543, and in Westchase, FL, call (813) 818-1543.
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