Back to school health checks

Back to school health checks

Be “school-ready” with a back to school health check

As the school holidays draw to a close, parents and caregivers around the country are starting to turn their attention to the new school year – new school books, uniforms, shoes and bags. 

As well as considering what they need to wear and what they need to learn, it’s also a good time to address any health concerns to make sure your child is ready and at their best for the new school year.

There are lots of aspects of your child’s health to consider on an annual basis, such as an eye test, hearing test and a trip to the dentist.  As their GP, we can take care of all the rest – and the start of the school year is a great time to get all these sorted out.

In this blog post we’re going to look at some of the main health concerns that could affect your child and their ability to perform at their very best at school.

vaccinations for children

Check your child’s vaccination schedule is up to date

No not “that” vaccine… we’re talking about the National Immunisation Program, which sets out which vaccinations Australians should get, and when.  A lot of these are required in the early years of childhood (in the first two years of life), but there are a couple that are recommended for four-year-olds and then also for teenagers.  The best place to look for comprehensive information is on the Australian Government Department of Health website but as a quick summary, these are the ones they recommend for school-aged children:

  • Aged four years – Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and polio (and an additional dose of pneumococcal for children with specified medical risk conditions)
  • Aged 12-13 years – Human papillomavirus (HPV), Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Aged 14-16 years – Meningococcal ACWY

Later on in the year we’ll chat further about the flu vaccine too (and you can read more about the flu generally on our blog post).

As well as being important from a medical perspective, in some cases, provision of an up-to-date immunisation schedule is a requirement for eligibility for some tax concessions (see the Australian Government’s” No Jab, No Pay” legislation for further information).

Chat to us during your consultation if you believe your child requires an immunisation.

School lunchboxes

Fuel for the brain

A battle for the ages is that of the parent versus the child who doesn’t want to eat the food in their lunchbox.  Many a parent has despaired after spending time making and packing a lunch only to throw it in the bin at the end of the day.

As well as our excellent GP consultation services, we also offer dietitian and nutrition services.  These practitioners can work with you and your child to address issues around diet and nutrition such as fussy eating, food allergies and intolerances and general education around diet and good health through food. 

These issues are more common than you think, and early intervention can help to identify and manage issues related to food, allergies and intolerances, and start your child on a lifelong journey of good health through good food. 

We can’t guarantee you’ll win the “War of the Lunchbox”, but there’s a good chance we can help you in some of the food-related battles. 

Of course, good food is imperative for good learning, so back to school time is a great time to address any of these concerns. 

Simply choose an appointment with a dietitian when selecting a service on our site. 

behavioural issues in children

Addressing any developmental or learning issues

Back to school can be a stressful time of year for those children who find school difficult, are lacking in some social skills, or have experienced learning difficulties in the past.  It’s possible that as the first day of school approaches, your child could start to feel a little anxious about it all, and be a bit unsure about how things will go.

Our SwiftDoc GPs have access to all manner of specialists and professionals to help address any issues facing your child.  We can manage your needs and arrange any referrals required to specialists for issues such as:

  • Speech and language development
  • Psychological and mental health concerns
  • Concerns around fine and gross motor skill development
  • Concerns around behaviour

Book in for an appointment with one of our friendly GPs and we’ll advise you of the best course of action to address any of these issues.

asthma action plan

Plans and medications

For some children, chronic illness or severe allergies are something that needs to be managed, and for parents, sending them off to school can be met with some trepidation. 

Our SwiftDoc GPs can work with you to make sure that your child is school-ready and has a plan of attack to deal with their existing health concerns.  This could include things such as:

  • An asthma action plan
  • Epipens for allergic reactions
  • A review and provision of any other medications your child requires.

Even if you feel your child health doesn’t require any attention, an annual check-up is still a great idea so your GP can build a picture of your child’s health over time.  Not only that, but your child will be forming great habits in relation to their health by gaining an understanding of the importance of regular check-ups. 

If you’d like to speak to us about any of the issues mentioned in this post, or arrange a back to school general check-up for your child, simply jump online and book an appointment

Sources:

Department of Health, Australian Government, National Immunisation Schedule, https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/national-immunisation-program-schedule.  Accessed January 2021.

Department of Social Services, Australian Government, Families and Children, https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/benefits-payments/strengthening-immunisation-for-young-children.  Accessed January 2021.

This website does not provide medical advice.  It is intended for informational purposes only.  It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment.  If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately dial Triple 0 (000).