Regular visits to the pediatrician are a key part of preventive health care. During each check-up the doctor should give you tips on keeping your children healthy and safe, answer your questions, listen to your concerns and fully examine your child to:
■ Make sure he is well nourished.
■ Update immunizations if needed.
■ Track growth and development.
■ Find physical problems before they become serious.
Specialized health care is also available for your child:
■ General Pediatric Care
■ Newborn Care
■ Newborn to Adolescent Care
■ Sexual Abuse Examinations
■ Attention Deficit Disorder
■ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Although pediatricians complete a three year residency in the treatment of children they're not the only physicians who see children. General and family practitioners can treat the entire family from infants to seniors.
■ A medical history taken during an initial visit and updated at various intervals.
■ Height and weight measurements taken during regular office visits.
■ A developmental and behavioral assessment.
■ A thorough physical examination.
■ Guidance on injury prevention.
■ Vision and hearing should be tested periodically by standard testing methods. Testing is more frequent if required by a child's individual history.
■ Head circumference should be measured through 24 months of age.
■ Immunizations are recommended for newborns and at various intervals during infancy and childhood up to about the age of 18.
■ An initial dental referral is generally advised (as soon as possible but at least by age 3).
■ Regular blood pressure screening should start at age 3.
■ Lead screening is suggested at 12 and 24 months of age, and repeated if elevated.
■ A blood test for hematocrit or hemoglobin levels is suggested at 12 and 24 months of age (all menstruating adolescents as well).
■Tests for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are recommended for sexually active teens.
■ Screening for tuberculosis for those with high risk factors.
■ Cholesterol screening is recommended for high risk patients. If family history is unavailable and other risk factors are present screening should be at the discretion of the physician.
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