Back-to-school physicals in high demand

Some pediatric offices are facing delays in appointment availability.

This comes amid the back-to-school rush to schedule a routine physical examination, often needed for many school districts and sports programs across the Washington, D.C. area.

In fact, some doctors say if you haven't scheduled a physical exam yet for your child, now may be a good time to do so.

Fox 5's Tisha Lewis spoke with the American Academy of Pediatrics Monday.

"The best option for getting your child up to date on everything for going back to school is to call your pediatrician's office. You can speak with your child's office and make sure your child is up-to-date on check-ups. Also, that your child is up-to-date on vaccines as well, that would be the best option for parents that are trying to get their children ready to go back to school," said Dr. Tiffany Shin with the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Lewis also spoke with Dr. Andrea Willis who shares more about other options available.

Willis says parents may need to seek other options if they're unable to schedule a physical exam appointment in time for the school year.

Those options could include pharmacies.

Walk in clinics, public health departments and also urgent care facilities can be a last resort.

Most if not all extracurricular school sports programs in the area require students have a routine physical examination, some school districts do as well.

Documentation showing proof of the exam is often due long before school starts.

One parent says the wait list is between 4-6 weeks. Another parent says she ultimately booked her child's physical exam with her general physician. She was able to get an appointment in less than two weeks.

Willis is the Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

She says, "There's certainly urgent care centers they can recommend someone."

The American Academy of Pediatrics says the backlog is due to routine appointments and vaccinations being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic ó that combined with the usual back to school rush to book appointments before school starts.