Annual School Physicals | News | Loyola Medicine
Monday, June 15, 2015

Loyola Medicine primary care physician talks about annual school physicals

loyola physician performing check up

MAYWOOD, IL – Though summer has barely started, it’s not too early to start thinking about your children’s back-to-school physicals and making sure they are up to date on their vaccines. 

 “August is one of our busiest months. Doctors’ offices are jam-packed with last-minute appointments, so get a jumpstart on it now,” said Heidi Renner, MD, primary care physician at Loyola University Health System and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
When heading to the doctor’s office don’t forget your school’s required physical forms. Also, if you have an updated immunization record, bring it along as well.
“To get the most out of your visit be sure to talk to the doctor about your child’s growth and ask to see his or her growth chart. This is helpful in assessing a child’s nutrition/caloric intake and helps to make sure they’re on track with a healthy diet and appropriate exercise,” said Renner.
In addition to diet she also suggests asking about:
  • Sleep
  • Allergies
  • Medications
  • Development
“Though no one likes to get shots, vaccines are an integral part of keeping kids and our community safe. They work to safeguard children from illnesses and death caused by infectious diseases and protect our kids by helping prepare their bodies to fight often serious, and potentially deadly diseases,” said Renner.
Vaccines have helped to nearly eradicate many of the diseases that were leading causes of death in children only a few decades ago. Here are the main immunizations your kids need before heading off to school.
  • When entering kindergarten your child should receive the following vaccinations:
    • Measles, Mumps and Rubella, better known as the MMR
    • Polio
    • Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis
    • Chicken Pox

Most likely your child received these immunizations as an infant. This second round of shots boosts the immunity. 

  • In sixth grade (at age 11 or 12) your child should receive the following vaccinations:
    • Chicken Pox Booster (if your child has not had two by this time)
      • Pertussis (whooping cough), Diphtheria and Tetanus Booster (Tdap)
    • Meningitis (this is not a booster)

A meningitis booster vaccine should be given at age 16 and is now required prior to starting 12th grade in the state of Illinois.

“Yearly physicals are a great time to touch base with your child’s physician to make sure everyone is on the same page. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. We can’t help you if we don’t know a problem exists,” said Renner.

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.