As parents know all too well, adolescent and teen bodies undergo many changes as they grow into early adulthood. From hormonal shifts that can affect their moods to growth spurts leaving closets full of outgrown clothes, this time in your child’s life can keep parents on their toes. It’s all part of a normal developmental phase and it is important to make sure your child is growing healthy.
As we approach the one-year mark of our fight against COVID-19, many teens and adolescents have gone without their regular pediatrician visits and checkups due to concerns around coronavirus. However, parents should still schedule regular physical examinations, including well-child visits, immunizations, and oral health care appointments. AltaMed is taking necessary COVID-19 precautions to help keep families safe during this time.
Start with a Pediatrician Visit
Even through the teenage years and into the early twenties, your kids’ bodies and brains are changing. Regular and routine exams can help them grow healthy into adulthood. Our pediatricians will take good care of your kids (up until age 21) by reviewing their available health history, looking for early signs of health risks, and making sure they’re getting age-appropriate care. They can also help monitor all of the things listed below.
Weight and Nutrition
Even before the pandemic, childhood obesity was a growing problem, and it can have lasting physical and emotional effects. Regular physical examinations give your doctor the chance to monitor weight and BMI (body mass index), and open a dialogue about nutrition and exercise that can help your child develop healthy habits for life.
Despite all the focus on the coronavirus, other viruses and diseases have not taken a break. Teens and adolescents still need their routine, age-appropriate immunizations. This year, it’s more important than ever that every member of your family gets their flu shot. Your teen or adolescent may need other routine vaccines to protect against:
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV), two doses with the first dose at age 11 or 12
- Meningococcal disease
Talk to your doctor to find out about “makeup” Tdap shots to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.
This is a stressful time for everyone, your teen included. With many of the support systems they’ve come to rely on like sports, the arts, or a worship community drastically changing or no longer available, teens can have a difficult time coping and their mental health may be suffering. Depression and anxiety are common, even pre-pandemic.
Half of all mental health disorders start by age 14 yet many go unrecognized or untreated, and even more concerning, suicide is one of the leading causes of death among teens.
In this new environment, a routine physical exam is a window of opportunity where a doctor can check in with your teen and ensure they are adapting to stressors and a largely changing environment in a healthy way.
Taking Control of Their Own Health
As they grow, teens and adolescents have their own questions about their bodies, and the routine physical checkup provides a perfect opportunity for them get answers and start to take ownership for their own health and well-being.
This is an important life skill that can lead to a healthy, lifelong curiosity and proactivity around their health.
As a parent, you know your child’s health needs are constantly growing and evolving, just like they are. Make sure your child is scheduled to have their regular physical examinations and have the peace of mind knowing AltaMed is here to safely monitor their development and nurture a positive relationship between your teen and their ever-changing health needs.
For more information about services or to schedule your appointment (888) 499-9303.