Back-to-School Physicals: Don't Wait | News | Loyola Medicine
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Add a Trip to the Doctor to Your Child's Back-to-School List

MAYWOOD, IL – When checking your child's back-to-school list, make sure that getting a physical is on the top of the to-do list.

Although summer has reached only the midway point, it's never too early to schedule a back-to-school visit with your child’s pediatrician or primary care doctor, said Michael Stokas, MD, MS, pediatrician and internist at the Loyola Center for Health at Hickory Hills.

"If you wait too long to book your appointment, your doctor’s schedule might not have any openings before the school year starts," Dr. Stokas said. "Doctors don’t want to just squeeze you in because these visits take time to do correctly. We want to have enough time together to address any potential issues early and provide appropriate counseling before the school year when they can be harder to resolve."

Children entering kindergarten, sixth grade and ninth grade are required by the state of Illinois to have a back-to-school physical done before the first day. A sports physical performed for camp or a team sport does not count.

In addition, all incoming kindergarteners are required to have a vision test.

When coming in for the appointment, Dr. Stokas reminds families to bring any forms that need to be completed. This includes not just the standard physical form, but any documentation needed by the school to allow a child's medication to be administered on school property.

Also, if your child has received vaccines anywhere other than your primary care physician's office, it is important to bring the vaccine records to the visit.

Finally, if you have any concerns about your child’s health, bring a list of the most important questions you want to address, including concerns about diet and nutrition, sleep, allergies, medications and overall development.

"No matter the age of your child, annual exams ensure previous problems are adequately addressed, assess appropriate growth and development, and provide guidance to make certain your child is as healthy as they can be," Dr. Stokas said. "These visits provide the confidence for your child to start the school year healthy."

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.