Public Health Corner: Adolescents need annual wellness exams

Summertime is not only a great opportunity to spend days with family and friends, but also, to begin planning for back to school. Oftentimes, this planning includes getting children into their medical provider for a checkup and vaccinations. Adolescents need this checkup as much as young children do; however, it is usually missed or forgotten.

An adolescent checkup will include an assessment and education. The provider will do a thorough exam of your teen’s overall health and provide some education and tips for good health. At this age, some of the conversation is kept confidential to allow openness in the discussion regarding the teen’s health.

In addition, your adolescent’s vaccination history will be reviewed and any needed immunizations can be administered. The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Meningococcal Virus (MCV) vaccines are commonly given during adolescence for maximum protection against cancer and life threatening illness.

Your teenager’s medical provider may also refer him or her to a dentist, if needed. Just like any age, teens are recommended to receive a dental exam every six months.

Preventive care is generally covered by insurance providers, be sure to call your insurance carrier’s customer service number if you have questions regarding clinics, doctors, or covered medical care. Uninsured persons may receive immunizations at Brown County Public Health.

Encouraging your teenager to take an active role in their healthcare sets them up for success in their transition to adulthood and independence. Parents may want to begin by teaching them about health insurance or have them call to schedule their very own appointment.

It can be easy to get teenagers to an appointment by combining the full well-child exam with a sport’s physical or when planning for booster shots.

The new school year is quickly approaching; make sure your children are ready for a healthy school year by bringing them in for a well-child exam, getting needed immunizations, and visiting the dentist. Further information on Child and Teen Checkups can be found on the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) website. Or contact Brown County Public Health with questions at 507-233-6820.

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