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Health Information For Parents
By meeting yearly with your teen, the doctor can keep track of changes in physical, mental, and social development and offer advice about avoiding unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and drinking.
The doctor also can help your teen understand the importance of choosing a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition, proper exercise, and safety measures.
The more that teens understand about their physical growth and sexual development, the more they will recognize the importance of active involvement in their own health care.
Teens should visit their doctors annually. Those with a chronic medical condition or certain clinical signs or symptoms might need more frequent visits.
Medical care should include screenings for high blood pressure, obesity, eating disorders, depression, and if indicated, hyperlipidemia (an excess of cholesterol and/or other fats in the blood). Older teens may be screened for alcohol, drugs, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). A tuberculin (PPD) test may be done if a teen is at risk for tuberculosis.
Vision and hearing will be checked. Teens are also checked for scoliosis (curvature of the spine).
By age 13, teens should have already had these immunizations:
Doctors recommend a Tdap booster at 11–12 years of age, with a tetanus and diphtheria booster (Td) every 10 years after that. The Tdap vaccine is also recommended for all pregnant women during the second half of each pregnancy, regardless of whether or not they had it before, or when it was last given. The flu vaccine, given before flu season each year, also is recommended.
As teens go through puberty, issues of sexual health will be addressed. Young women may be referred to a gynecologist for a first visit. Young men will be checked for hernias and testicular cancer and taught how to do a testicular self-exam.
Teens should be asked about behaviors or emotional problems that may indicate depression or the risk of suicide. The doctor also should provide counseling about risky behaviors and other issues, including:
Sports injuries and other problems, such as knee pain and headaches, are common concerns. Your teen’s doctor should evaluate any pain that is severe or long-lasting.
Issues involving puberty and sexual development are typical concerns for teens. Doctors can be a valuable resource by answering questions and giving guidance during this period of physical and emotional changes. Teens should be reassured that anything they discuss with their doctor will be kept confidential, unless their health or the health of others could possibly be in danger.
Parents or other caregivers should receive health guidance from their teen’s doctor during these routine checkups. The doctor will share information about normal development, including signs and symptoms of illness or emotional distress and ways to watch for and manage potentially harmful behaviors.
If you think that your teen has a physical disorder, a psychological problem, or a problem with drugs or alcohol, contact the doctor.
You deserve medical care from someone who helps you feel comfortable and understood. Get tips on finding the best doctor for you.
Help your teen or young adult make the transition from pediatric health care to adult health care. Get tips on finding a new doctor and getting health insurance.
Kids who enjoy exercise tend to stay active throughout their lives. Learn how to encourage fitness in your teen.
You’ve lived through 2 AM feedings, toddler temper tantrums, and the back-to-school blues. So why is the word “teenager” causing you so much anxiety?
Each time you hop up on a doctor’s exam table, somebody makes a note in your medical records. There may come a time when you need your medical information, so find out how to get it and how it’s protected.
Puberty was awkward enough when you were the one going through it. So how can you help your kids through all the changes?
Involving teens in their health care can help prepare them for managing it on their own as adults.
Find out what this doctor’s visit will involve when your teen is 13.
Find out what this doctor’s visit will involve when your teen is 14.
Find out what this doctor’s visit will involve when your son or daughter is 15.
Find out what this doctor’s visit will involve when your son or daughter is 16.
Find out what this doctor’s visit will involve when your son or daughter is 17.
Find out what this doctor’s visit will involve when your son or daughter is 18.
Find out what this doctor’s visit will involve when your son or daughter is 19.
Teens spend much of the day outside the home, but it’s important that you take time every day to talk with your teen to share opinions, ideas, and information.
Kids entering puberty will undergo many changes in their developing bodies. Find out more about what to expect.
Vaccines help keep kids healthy, but many parents still have questions about them. Get answers here.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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