As parents, the health and well-being of our children is paramount. Pediatric physical exams play an essential role in the overall health and in monitoring the growth and development of our little ones. One critical aspect of kids’ physical exams is ensuring that they are up-to-date with their vaccinations. Here, you can learn more about the role of vaccinations in pediatric physical exams and why they are importantfor the long-term health of children.
Why Are Vaccinations Important?
Vaccinations play a vital role in protecting not only children but also the community as a whole. By immunizing your kids, you safeguard them from potentially life-threatening illnesses and contribute to the overall resistance of society to specific diseases, a process known as herd immunity. When a high percentage of the population is vaccinated, it reduces the risk of an outbreak and helps protect those who cannot be vaccinated, such as infants or individuals with weakened immune systems, from harmful illnesses.
The Vaccination Schedule – Central to Protecting Children and Communities
A standard vaccination schedule is a crucial blueprint for ensuring the timely immunization of children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidelines for when specific vaccinations should be administered. This is based on stringent research by medical and public health experts, along with ongoing clinical trials, to determine the safest time to administer vaccinations to people to ensure the most effective protection.
Data on newly licensed and existing vaccines is consistently reviewed by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), who meet three times each year to discuss vaccine recommendations. The ACIP consists of doctors, vaccine experts, scientists, and public health professionals.
The immunization schedule, which generally starts at birth and continues into adolescence, is set by the CDC based on the ACIP’s recommendations and is also approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Regular visits with your pediatrician help make sure your child receives all their necessary vaccinations on time.
What’s Involved in a Child’s Annual Physical?
An annual physical examination for children, often referred to as a well-child check-up, is a comprehensive review of a child’s health, growth, and development. These check-ups generally include a physical examination, during which the pediatrician will check vital signs such as heart rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure. They will measure the child’s height and weight and compare these figures to standard growth charts to ensure healthy development.
The doctor will also conduct an examination to check for any potential health issues.This typically includes examining the child’s:
Sensory screenings, like vision and hearing tests, may also be conducted.
Finally, a crucial component of these exams is assessing and updating the child’s vaccination status.
Vaccinations During a Pediatric Physical Exam
During your child’s physical exam, the pediatrician will review your child’s immunization record and administer any necessary vaccines as per the recommended vaccination schedule. Remember, regularly scheduled vaccinations at these check-ups help protect your child and other people within your community from a variety of serious and potentially life-threatening diseases.
Here are some key vaccinations that may be administered during a pediatric physical exam:
- Hepatitis B: This vaccine protects against a virus that can cause liver disease. The first dose is typically given at birth, followed by two more doses at 1-2 months and 6-18 months.
- DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis): This vaccine is vital in protecting against three serious bacterial infections. It is given in five doses between the ages of 2 months and 6 years old.
- MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella): This vaccine protects against three viral infections, typically given in two doses, first at 12-15 months and the second at 4-6 years old, or before starting school.
- Influenza: The flu vaccine is recommended annually for children age 6 months and older.
These are just a few examples of the numerous vaccines your child might receive during their physical exam. Be sure to discuss your child’s vaccination schedule with your pediatrician to ensure they are up-to-date and adequately protected.
Dispelling Myths about Vaccinations
Misinformation about vaccinations has led to fears and misconceptions about their safety. It is essential to understand the science behind vaccinations and their effectiveness in protecting children’s health and well-being. Some studies have falsely linked vaccinations and conditions such as autism. These studies have been debunked. Vaccines are rigorously tested for safety before being approved for use, and as a result, serious side effects are incredibly rare.
Regular pediatric physical exams are crucial in maintaining your child’s overall health. Proper immunization helps safeguard their well-being and contributes to the community’s immunity against contagious diseases. So, put your best foot forward when it comes to your child’s long-term health and book their annual wellness checkup today!
Pediatric Physical Exams Near Me in Purchase, New York
To ensure your child stays up to date with their vaccinations, book an annual physical with the compassionate providers at Westchester Park Pediatrics. Our highly-skilled, dedicated medical team offers a comprehensive range of primary care services,including annual physicals, immunizations, laboratory services, plus much more to ensure your child stays as healthy as possible.
At Westchester Park Pediatrics, we provide high-quality healthcare services for children, from newborns to young teens, all in a comforting and welcoming environment. To schedule your child’s physical or to learn more about the services we offer, please call us at 914-761-1717 or request a consultationonline. Our dedicated professionals are here to help!