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NCH has more than 130 board-certified pediatricians on staff. Find one near you and schedule a back-to-school physical by clicking here or calling 847.618.4YOU.

Back-To-School Well-Being

Now is the time to schedule physical exams

No. 2 pencils? Check.

Justin Bieber lunchbox? Check.

Whooping cough vaccination? Whoops.

It's back-to-school time. In Illinois that means your child must have a physical exam prior to entering kindergarten, sixth grade and ninth grade. And no matter what grade your child is about to enter, an annual physical exam is an important part of your child's health and development. So, think of these waning weeks of summer as study hall—a time to catch up on your back-to-school "assignments."


New for fall 2013, all Illinois students entering, transferring or advancing into sixth through 12th grades must show proof of having received one dose of the Tdap vaccine, which contains tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the requirement comes at a time when pertussis, or whooping cough, persists in many Illinois communities. The measure is designed to reduce illness among students and reduce the spread of whooping cough to infants, in whom pertussis can be fatal.

Now is a good time to get your child up to date on other vaccines and boosters too, including MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), varicella (chicken pox) and HPV (human papillomarivus).


In addition to ensuring your child's immunizations are current, an annual physical exam is an important time for children, parents and pediatricians to explore physical, emotional and mental health.

This can be especially critical as your student enters adolescence, where issues of bullying, drinking, smoking, drugs, sexual activity and depression may affect health, self-esteem and ability to learn.

With an estimated 17 percent of children now affected by obesity—triple the rate from one generation ago—an annual physical can also be an opportunity for your child's pediatrician to impart advice about the value of good nutrition and exercise.

So, before your child starts classes, remember to schedule the most important "exam" of the school year—the back-to-school physical.

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Last Updated 04/10/2009