Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ's)
Health 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 ï¿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 doctor’s 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 can’t 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.
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