Adolescent Health (12 to 21 years)
As a parent, you are challenged with helping your child move from childhood to adulthood. They struggle to choose behaviors that could decrease their risk of developing chronic diseases in adulthood—behaviors such as eating nutritiously, engaging in physical activity, and choosing not to use tobacco. They are at risk for serious health and safety issues such as motor vehicle crashes, violence, substance use, and sexual behavior. The Health Children program, for your adolescent, seeks to address the health a safety risks that they may face.
- Well-Child Visits
What is an adolescent well-child visit?
Adolescent health visits are designed to monitor an adolescent’s development and screen for problems and risk factors.
Each visit includes:
• Complete patient history including menstrual history, sexual history, and contraceptive history.
• Examination of thyroid, heart, lungs, breasts, abdomen, and genitalia.
• Tests, such as vision, hearing, and lab services, shots (immunizations)
• Medical referrals to specialists, if needed.
During the next several years, your adolescent will have the opportunity to ask his or her doctor questions about normal body changes, peer pressure, drugs and alcohol. You may want to consider scheduling an appointment for your adolescent with a doctor that is trained in adolescent medicine. Children ages 12 to 21 should have a physical exam every year.
Why should I schedule well-child visit appointments?
Adolescent health visits will help your child’s doctor to assess changes in their general health, growth and development.
What immunizations do adolescents receive?
To assure that your adolescent does not contract a preventable disease, it is important that you schedule an appointment with the doctor to make certain that your child receives the required immunizations.
How can I keep my adolescent healthy and safe?
Please View: Adolescent Corner for Adolescents
Please View: Adolescent Corner for Parents
For more information about keeping your child healthy, click the following:
> Healthy Children Visit Schedule
> Alliance for Immunization in Michigan
> Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
If you would like more information about children’s health, please call 313-871-7815, or click here for responses by email.
- Adolescent Corner for Adolescents
Adolescence is a time where you will change developmentally and emotionally. Although you may find these years difficult, your reward at the end of adolescence is to become a mature and responsible adult ready to take on the many exciting experiences and challenges ahead. The following tips will help you face the challenges of adolescence:
• Keep an open line of communication with your parents or guardian
• Avoid high risk behaviors: tobacco, drugs, alcohol and unprotected sex
• Limit the number of friends that ride in the car with you; research has shown that the risk of traffic accidents involving adolescents increase as the number of passengers in a car increase.
• Continue visits to your doctor for a medical exam; at least one visit each year. Bring questions to your appointment for your doctor to answer.
Medical visits with your doctor are generally done every year now. They include:
• Physical examination of your growth and development- checking your height, weight and blood pressure; lab tests.
• Review of your school performance, graduation plans.
• Counseling for injury prevention (including driving safety), substance use, sexual behavior, dental health, diet and exercise.
• Immunizations for Tetanus , Diphtheria and Meningitis
• Obtaining screening test: for scoliosis, vision and hearing test (if necessary).
Frequently asked questions
> A lot of my friends use chew because they think it’s safer than cigarettes. Is it?
> I get headaches a lot. Is there something wrong with me?
> I think I might be gay. What should I do?
> What’s the big deal about smoking? Lots of my friends do it.
> What are the warning signs of suicide?
> GIRLS – What is puberty and what’s going to happen to my body?
> BOYS – What is puberty and what’s going to happen to my body?
> I’m going to the doctor for my first pelvic exam. What should I expect?
> I’m thinking about getting a tattoo. What will it be like?
For more information about what you can do to be healthy and safe, visit websites:
- Adolescent Corner for Parents
As a parent, you are challenged with helping your child move from childhood to adulthood. Adolescents establish patterns of behavior and make lifestyle choices that affect both their current and future health. Serious health and safety issues such as motor vehicle crashes, violence, substance use, and sexual behavior adversely affect adolescents and young adults. They also struggle to choose behaviors that could decrease their risk of developing chronic diseases in adulthood—behaviors such as eating nutritiously, engaging in physical activity, and choosing not to use tobacco.
Activities to promote your adolescent’s health
• Maintain an open, regular communication with your adolescent
• Encourage your adolescent to discuss peer pressure
• Encourage your adolescent to invite their friends over so you can get to know them
• Talk to your adolescent about issues such as violence and substance abuse
• Share your hopes, dreams and values with your adolescent
• Learn the warning signs of high-risk behavior
• Schedule one comprehensive well-child care visit with their doctor or gynecologist at least once each year.
• Make sure that your adolescent has received the required vaccines as they protect against a variety of communicable diseases.
• Talk to your adolescent’s doctor about the Human Papillomavirus vaccine (HPV).
• Discuss Internet use with your adolescent.
For more information about risk factors for adolescents, including about child development, HIV/AIDS, violence, drug abuse and other issues affecting teenagers and young adults, please visit the following websites:
Activities to keep your adolescent safe
• Encourage your adolescent to use their seatbelt with lap and shoulder harness at all times, and if driving, to follows speed limits and other rules of the road.
• Limit the number of passengers that your adolescent permits to ride in the car. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
• Develop an escape plan in case of fire in your home, and teach your adolescent about fire safety. Maintain smoke free environments for your adolescent.
• Stress to your adolescent the importance of avoiding exposure to too much sun (use sunscreen) and discourage the use of tanning parlors.
• If you must have a gun in the house keep it and the bullets in a separate locked place and teach your child to not handle guns without adult supervision.
• Teach pedestrian safety (who has the right –of- way while driving or walking, etc.). Always wear a bicycle helmet and avoid bicycling near traffic.
• Do not allow your adolescent to ride in the cargo area of a pickup truck, even if it is enclosed. In an accident, adolescents in the back of a pickup truck have little protection from serious injury or death.
• Practice sports safety: teach your adolescent to always wear all of the appropriate safety equipment made for each sport (helmets, mouth guards, pads, etc.), including certified eye-protective devices when playing paintball.
• Use life jackets on boats at all times. Supervise your adolescent’s use of the computer and agree on what they may have access to on the Internet.
• If your adolescent has a scooter, be sure that he uses the proper safety equipment, including a helmet and knee and elbow pads.
• Be a good example for your teen by always using a seat belt, helmet, etc.