Checks - Compiled by Dr Soonu Udani - PD Hinduja National Hospital
|Does my child really
need a health check up? He is so healthy!
|Yes! He does. Most parents take their child
to a doctor only when there is a problem. This is especially true after 1 ½ year, when
most immunizations are over. The problem may be minor a running nose, a few watery
stools but to a mother, each problem affecting her little Ms Universe or Mr.
Einstein achieves huge proportions.
At such a visit,
the doctors attention is focused on the problem at hand. The conversation resolves
around that problem alone. Also, due to illness, however minor; dietary adjustments may be
advised. This is the time when the doctor and the parent are not focused on the normal
requirements of a well child
|But why a check up when
he is perfectly all right?
|A true physical check for adequate growth,
nutrition, development and behavior can only be done when a child is playful and
co-operative, which you agree he is not when unwell. Baseline values of parameters like
height, weight, heart rate, BP, respiratory rate etc. should be known in the well child.
Change with illness can then be appreciated better.
|So how often should I
take my child for this health check up?
|The American Academy of Pediatrics has
recommended that every child should be taken for six checks in the first year, twice in
the second and subsequently preschool and school going children upto adolescence must get
a health check at least once a year.
|What will my child be
put through during these checks?
|At this visit in addition to measuring
parameters, a complete blood count, a routine urine and stool examination may be done.
Every child over 3 years of age is advised to have vision and hearing tested. Additional
tests or referrals are done if anything untoward is detected.
|Why cant all this
be done when I take my child for a check up when he is ill?
|Visit during sickness is accompanied by
stress. Visit of a healthy child for a health check is in an atmosphere of reduced stress,
it is thus the best time to discuss dietary habits, behavioral problems and very important
- accident prevention. The vaccination record can be reviewed and the schedule completed.
|These check ups will go
on till he is twelve years?
|Actually adolescents need this visit more
than children. They may not have many health problems but have host of questions they want
answered. This could be an important visit for them too. Their doctor can discuss
anxieties about the changing body, menses, sexuality and growth. BP recording is vital in
this group as adult hypertension may start at this age. Life style problems related to
diet, alcohol and drugs can also be dealt with during this visit.