Selasa, 24 Januari 2012

Why Get a Physical Before Participating in Sports

Sports physicals are required for participation in many school sports, but may not be for required for the community soccer league. Or, your school district may only require a sports physical every other year. So why go to the trouble and expense of a sports physical every year? For your child's safety, of course!

Undiagnosed Conditions

Competitive sports, especially for new participants, can challenge the body in ways that it has never faced before. Whether it's doing calisthenics in the late summer heat or trying to keep moving for an entire football game, the challenges of fall sports can be stressful. Student athletes need to know that their bodies can take it and so do their parents.

Sadly, it seems like every year, there is a news story somewhere about a seemingly healthy child or teen that collapsed on the field never to get up again, usually due to some underlying, undiagnosed health condition. A sports physical is one way to find out about those health conditions before they become a tragedy.

Likewise, many sports put stress on the joints that might not have been there before. Because of the repetitive nature of many sports activities, stress and strain can lead to lasting injuries. A sports physical can help parents identify additional protective gear, like knee or ankle braces, that can help student athletes maintain proper form and avoid injuries.

The exam may also help alert parents and children to the need for medical attention. We've all heard the slogan, "No pain, no gain," but the sports physical can help student athletes learn the difference between muscle aches and injury-related pain.

Changing Health Issues

As parents, we sometimes don't want to think about the fact that our children are growing up. An annual sports physical can be an excellent opportunity to talk to your child and his or her doctor about their changing health needs. For parents uncomfortable with discussing the need for a sports bra or athletic supporter, a sports physical can be a great way to open up the conversation about the safety gear the student athlete needs.

Additionally, at a sports physical, the medical professional may be able to discuss nutritional needs with the student athlete. Many athletes, especially teen girls, may not understand what they need to eat and how often to maintain peak performance in their chosen sport. This is also a good time to encourage an open dialogue between student athletes and their healthcare providers in an effort to create a relationship built on honesty. Teaching students now to be completely truthful with their physicians can lead to better healthcare.

The reality, though, is that many parents skip or skimp on the sports physical simply due to the high cost of healthcare. This may mean interested students are forced to skip out on sports or that they are playing without medical supervision. This usually happens when parents have no individual health insurance, but health insurance may be more affordable than people think. Call an insurance broker to investigate your options for health insurance and the chance to help your children improve their health as well.

Rabu, 04 Januari 2012

College Student Immunizations

It is a common misconception that immunizations are a health precaution and requirement limited to childhood, and that after high school has passed so has the responsibility to keep them up to date. In fact, many colleges not only encourage but require certain shots for enrolled students. For an establishment like a university, with young adults from around the world living together in what is often pretty tight living quarters, this is a preventative measure that just makes sense. Even if your school does not require updated immunizations, there are many preventable diseases that you would be wise to protect yourself from before you go away to school.

College Requirements

The top immunization that your school is likely to require, or at least strongly recommend, is a meningococcal vaccination, to protect against meningitis. Meningitis is a bacterial infection that causes the inflammation of the membranes surrounding your spinal cord and brain. This painful and life-threatening condition is something you definitely want to avoid, but unfortunately this can be difficult when living in the cramped and often less than sanitary conditions of a college dormitory. Luckily, one easy shot that many colleges already require will be enough to keep you safe. Other immunizations which may be required, depending on your school, include the three-dose hepatitis B vaccine, and the combined vaccine that will protect you against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).

Elective Immunizations

Even if they are not required by your school, there are some vaccines that are just plain smart to get. The seasonal flu shot is one of these, and can really be a life saver in the height of flu season when you are studying for your midterms or finals. The flu can spread like wildfire in a dorm, and is the last thing you need to slow you down before a big exam. Another more long-term investment you should make in your health is the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine. This protects against a wide range of diseases, including genital warts and many types of cancers that are caused by different strains of HPV.

Health Insurance

Many college students are covered by their parents' health insurance plans, but there are some exceptions. If you are not covered and do not already have an individual health insurance plan, now is the time to start looking for one. This may not be the most exciting part of beginning your adult life, but it is essential for keeping you healthy and safe throughout your time at college (and beyond). Being ensured will not only cover the critical immunizations that you need, but also allow you to get regular check-ups, which is another important part of preventative care.