Although we face many health risks throughout our lives, we thankfully live in a time when many illnesses can be detected early with wellness screenings and the damaging effects of many diseases can be reduced or eliminated altogether through the use of vaccines. Whether you are soon to be a new parent or you would like to know what to expect at your next wellness visit, this list of screenings and immunizations by age will help you understand what medical professionals recommend at each stage of life. Read on to learn how these valuable tools play an integral role in your health and well-being.
Birth through 12yo
Congratulations, if you are about to deliver your first baby! It may be comforting to know your pediatrician will be prepared to help your baby stay healthy with the age-appropriate screenings and immunizations from your child's first moments of life all the way through adolescence. For example, your child will likely be weighed and measured to chart growth changes in addition to receiving a quick check on your child's heartbeat and blood pressure from day one onward. Even as an adult, his or her height and weight are charted during wellness and sick visits.
For immunizations, while still in the first couple days of life, your baby will be given his or her first of three Hepatitis B vaccines, tested for at least 26 diseases in the state of Florida from a simple blood draw, and examined for hearing and oxygen levels. The reason behind the Hepitits B vaccine is to prevent this disease from attacking your child's liver and causing chronic illness should he or she contract the virus during his or her lifetime.
2mo through 18mo
By two months of age, your pediatrician has been monitoring your child's growth and heart rate in preceding wellness visits. At this point, multiple vaccines such as DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis), Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b), PVC (pneumococcal disease), Rotavirus, IPV (polio), and the remaining doses of Hep B will be given throughout the year to prevent these serious health concerns from causing irreparable harm. In addition, these visits provide a chance for your pediatrician to speak with you about topics like your child's environment, car riding safety, sleep cycles, and age-appropriate development.
2yo through 17yo
During his or her childhood, you will likely have a lot of engaging conversations with your child's physician about cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development in addition to sleep schedules, safety, and screen time topics. Immunizations during this time include Hep A at two years of age, DTaP, IPV, Varicella (chickenpox), and MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella or "German measles") at four years of age, and a Tdap booster and MCV (meningococcal disease) at 11 years of age. Two doses of the HPV (human papillomavirus) are also highly recommended between ages nine and 13. For teens, new screenings may include high cholesterol, anemia, tuberculosis, depression, and drug and alcohol use.
Once your child shows signs of puberty or begins to ask questions about sexual activity, drugs, or alcohol, it is helpful to use these wellness visits for him or her to learn about the body's development, hormones, drug side effects, and more from the experts. Try asking your child to keep a private list of questions to ask the pediatrician to help with any embarrassment he or she may feel. Remember, while this can be an awkward and confusing time, it is also a time of excitement and discovery that can lead to a path of greater health when children receive the knowledge they need to make smart choices. If your child does become sexually active before 18 years of age, his or her primary care physician may screen for common sexually transmitted diseases and a gynecologist may screen for cervical abnormalities in young women.
18yo through 39yo
Cholesterol screenings usually start at adulthood, unless they have already begun. Male adults are recommended to begin testicular exams to screen for abnormalities. Other new screenings at this stage include specialists like dermatologists and gynecologists. Adult women are recommended to be screened for breast and cervical abnormalities by a gynecologist. Dermatologists will check the skin for moles and lesions. Discussions of sexual activity and birth control preferences may result in additional screenings.
40yo through 64yo
Beginning at 40yo, your primary care physician may recommend routine mammograms for women to provide a higher level of screening for breast abnormalities. By 50 years of age, men without a history of prostate cancer typically begin prostate screenings and both men and women without a history of colon cancer begin colonoscopy screenings. If there is a history of any cancer in the family, it is important to note this on related health records and discuss this with your physicians.
Senior Screenings (65+yo)
In your senior years, your primary care physician will begin talking about ways to protect bones to prevent osteoporosis or stress fractures from falls. A bone density scan will likely be administered to determine the best path to wellness and injury prevention. Also, your physician may recommend pneumonia and shingles vaccines.
Therefore, while it is true there are a lot of threats to the health and well-being of your child throughout his or her lifespan, there are also a large number of proactive steps your physician will be taking along each developmental stage to keep your child feeling his or her best through scheduled screenings and immunizations. But, the wellness visits are more than just screenings and immunizations, they are opportunities to ask questions and learn about healthy choices. If you are looking for a primary care physician in the Lake Wales, Florida area, schedule your appointment conveniently online to start your wellness journey with Dr. Navarro and his experienced team today.
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