School Physicals

Your child’s school may require a yearly physical before the school year starts in September. While it may seem like an inconvenience, it’s an important step in ensuring that your child has a safe and productive school year. A physical can reveal health problems that may affect your child’s ability to concentrate in class or participate in gym class.

Your child should come in to eMedical Urgent Care Centers for a school physical about six weeks before the school year begins so there's enough time to follow up on something if necessary. No appointment is required, so you may walk in whenever it’s convenient for you and your child. The exam will take about 20 minutes to complete.

What Is a School Physical?

There are two components to the physical – the medical history and the physical exam. The medical history portion of the exam includes questions about:

  • History of family illness
  • Your child’s current and past illnesses, such as asthma, diabetes or epilepsy
  • Any previous hospitalizations or surgeries
  • Any allergies (to insect bites, for example)
  • Any past injuries (including concussions, sprains or fractures)
  • Whether your child has ever passed out, felt dizzy, had chest pain or had trouble breathing during exercise
  • Any medications that your child is taking (including over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, and prescription medications)

As you probably know from your own medical exams, looking at patterns of illness in your family can be a good indicator of potential conditions your child may develop. It's unlikely that any health conditions experienced within your family will prevent your child from being able to participate in school activities, and the doctor will go over any concerns he or she has with you.

During the physical part of the exam, the doctor will usually:

  • Record your child’s height and weight
  • Take your child’s blood pressure and pulse reading
  • Test your child’s vision
  • Exam his or her heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose and throat
  • Evaluate your child’s posture, joints, strength and flexibility

Although most aspects of the exam will be the same for males and females, the doctor may ask gender-specific questions or perform gender-related exams, such as a hernia screen for male patients.

The doctor also may ask questions about use of drugs, alcohol or dietary supplements, including steroids or other "performance enhancers" and weight-loss supplements, because these can affect a person's health.

At the completion of the exam, the doctor will either complete and sign a form if your child appears healthy enough for school activities, or, in some cases, recommend a follow-up exam, additional tests or specific treatment for medical problems.