Summer vacation: Time to schedule your teen’s annual well care visit

Taking your teen to the doctor on a bright summer day may not be tops on your list. But doctors say there are strong reasons for young people from 12 to 21 to come in once a year, even if they aren’t sick.

“Having teens come in for an annual wellness visit is very important,” says Dr. Matt Hough of Southern Oregon Pediatrics, part of Jackson Care Connect’s provider network. “It’s a time to evaluate their overall physical health, and check in on their emotional health too. If there are concerns, we can address them in a proactive way.”

An adolescent well care visit covers a lot of ground:

  • Medical history update and review of current health conditions.
  • Blood pressure, height and weight compared to previous year.
  • Immunization updates and new vaccines to protect against meningitis and HPV.
  • Screening for issues that may affect school and sports performance, such as hearing, vision, anemia, depression and mental health.

 

Parents can think of this annual visit as an opportunity to get some outside support.

“We look at health risks that teens face, and talk with them about things like substance abuse, sexual behaviors or even pressures that they are facing at school,” says Dr. Hough.

At age 15, Oregon teens have medical confidentiality. That means they can talk confidentially to a clinician without a parent in the room.

“We can give them the information they need to make healthy choices,” says Dr. Hough.

Let the doctor know if your teen participates in sports. The annual adolescent well care visit covers everything that a typical sports physical covers, and more.

Almost everyone with health insurance gets a no-fee annual wellness visit, including Oregon Health Plan members.   

As teens are transition to adulthood, the changes and challenges are huge. Young people benefit from having a trusted non-parental adult in their life. That may be a teacher, a coach or a favorite relative.

And on a sunny summer day, that trusted voice could be their doctor.

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