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Does my child need a sports physical in Mississippi?

Does my child need a sports physical in Mississippi?

youth sports physical mississippi, girl playing tennis

Springs sports swung into action weeks ago while summer and fall sports prepare for tryouts, sign-ups, and early practices. In Mississippi, March and April present beautiful months (when it doesn’t rain every day) where you can find a sports competition or practice of just about any sport you like. If your child plans to participate in a new season of sports or a new sport altogether, read on to learn about how a sports physical isn’t just necessary but could save their life.

What’s the difference between a sports physical and an annual wellness exam?

A sports physical focuses on the aspects of your child most likely to be affected by active play. These aspects include your child’s joints, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, etc. Annual wellness exams cover a broader spectrum of your child’s wellbeing. This exam often includes blood and urine tests, questions about your child’s academic performance, nutrition, sleep habits and behavior.

Each type of exam focuses on a specific aspect of your child’s wellbeing and both are necessary. The Mississippi High School Athletic Association has a Mississippi Athletic Participation Form your school will hand out for your child’s provider to complete. This exam should catch major health issues that might affect your child’s participation. However, it will not catch other problems only discovered through an annual exam.

Annual exams, on the other hand, may not discuss injury prevention for your child’s sports or how to prevent dehydration or overuse. For your child’s healthiest future, ensure your child receives both exams.

Who should complete my child’s sports physical?

Many schools hold physical days on campus. However, others may drive student-athletes off campus to low or no cost physical days. During these events, physicians or nurse practitioners see hundreds of athletes. Your child will receive a quality sports physical at a low cost in a convenient way, making these events very popular. If your child is unable to participate in these events, your regular medical providers can provide the same service at a reasonable fee.

A benefit to having your child’s regular provider perform the sports physical is a continuity of care. That means one provider who knows your child’s medical history can provide care specifically for your child in a less rushed atmosphere. Continuity of care is especially important if your child has an illness that can affect their athletic performance. Some of those illnesses include asthma, allergies to stinging insects, diabetes or other illnesses.

When should my child have a sports physical?

Most schools require a physical every calendar year. As your child grows they will experience different challenges and health risks. A physical each year screens for those changes. We suggest your child complete their physical at least six weeks prior to starting a new activity. If your provider notices a problem and refers your child to a specialist you have time to see the specialist and determine treatment (if needed) before the start of tryouts, practice or games.

School physicals usually begin as students enter the seventh grade. Children participating in sports earlier than this age should also undergo a sports physical to ensure they are performing at their optimum best.

What does a sports physical involve?

During a sports physical, your provider evaluates your child’s:

  • Medical history
  • Family history
  • Height and weight assessment
  • Vision exam
  • Musculoskeletal exam
  • Cardiac screening (pulse rate and blood pressure)

What if they find a problem?

Most sports physicals result in an approved form after a 20-30 minute visit with your provider. If your child’s physical returns an issue, your provider will likely refer your child to a specialist. It could be something as simple as a referral to an optometrist for glasses or a recheck of blood pressure in a week or two.

Providers rarely bar children completely from playing a specific sport. The majority of issues found in a sports physical can be treated in a way that allows your child to continue participation.

What should we bring for the exam?

Be prepared to complete information on your family history of illnesses and your child’s medical history. This includes hospitalizations, injuries, and surgeries. Remember to bring a list of all your child’s regular medications. If your child wears glasses make sure they have those for the exam.

In short, if your child intends to participate in a sport this summer or fall, now’s the time to schedule a sports physical. Our providers are prepared to complete this exam for your child and to provide follow up care if needed.


Children’s Dental Health: 11 Tips for Keeping Your Child’s Mouth Healthy

sleeping baby, children's dental health

Nothing’s cuter than a baby’s gummy smile with his first tooth shining through. Children’s dental health starts here. By the time that baby reaches four years old he’ll have a mouthful of teeth useful for chomping down on his favorite foods and smiling for mom’s camera. But did you know that tooth decay is the most common chronic illness in children age 6-12? And that 50% of children will have had a cavity by the time they are five years old?

Yes, children lose those tiny baby teeth over time, but tooth decay and early loss of teeth can lead to eating problems, speech delays, and crooked adult teeth. The great news for our kids is that most tooth decay can be prevented. While the best dental hygiene habits start early, it’s never too late to adopt new routines to protect your child’s remaining baby teeth and growing permanent teeth.

Need some help? Start with these ten tips for children’s dental health.

  • Start early by wiping your infant’s gums with a clean damp washcloth at least once a day.
  • Model great oral hygiene habits by brushing your own teeth twice a day and visiting your dentist twice a year.
  • Do not allow your child to sleep with bottle or sippy cup of milk or juice. Sweet liquids sitting on your baby’s teeth and gums all night
  • As soon as your child’s first tooth erupts, use a child’s toothbrush with a smear of toothpaste the size of a grain of salt to brush her teeth twice a day.
  • Schedule your child’s first dental visit within 6 months after their first tooth erupts or no later than their first birthday.
  • Find a dentist your children (and you) enjoy seeing.
  • At the age of three-years-old, you can start using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and start teaching your child to spit the toothpaste out, not swallow it.
  • Find a flavor of toothpaste your child likes to encourage him to brush twice a day.
  • Choose a toothbrush featuring your child’s favorite character to encourage brushing each day.
  • Continue brushing your child’s teeth until they are able to brush them on their own (usually around 6-8 years old).
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in your child’s diet and instead focus on crunchy fruits and vegetables as well as cheese, lean meats, and nuts.

People shy away from dental visits because of fear of pain or fear of the bill. Regular dental visits reduce the need for dental repairs and dental pain. Mantachie Rural Health Care’s dental clinic works off the same sliding scale we use in our clinic, which means you can receive the dental care you need at a price you can afford. Call us today (662) 282-4226 or 662-282-4335 to make your appointment.

Lice: The Back-to-School Hitch Hiker

lice prevention

Go ahead and scratch your head, we know you want to. In fact, we’re scratching our head as we write. Nobody wants to talk about lice, but they exist as an unfortunate reality anywhere multiple children gather especially in schools and daycares.

What are Lice?

Formally known as Pediculus humanus capitis, head lice use their six claws to crawl along strands of hair. As a parasite, they feed on human blood by clinging to a person’s neck or scalp. They exist in three stages: eggs, nymph, and adult.

Eggs gestate for 8-9 days before hatching and adult lice may live 40-45 days unless they are removed from their food source (i.e. a human scalp). Once removed, a louse lives 24-48 hours.

How do you get these parasites?

Contrary to popular belief, these parasites do not jump from head to head. They may, however, fall onto the backpack of their human host, who hangs said backpack next to your child’s backpack. The louse crawls from one backpack to another and when your child straps on her bag at the end of the day, voila, a new host.

They also move from one host to another when children come in head-to-head contact, hang scarves, coats and other clothing in close spaces together, share earbuds or headphones or use the same combs and brushes.

Because lice cannot live more than 24-48 hours after falling from their host, it’s rare to become infested with lice from carpets or furniture.

More importantly, how do you get rid of lice?

Most pharmacies sell over-the-counter treatments. Because their eggs or nits hatch 8-9 days after the mother lays the eggs, a second treatment once those eggs hatch may be necessary. Treatment will not kill the eggs because they have not yet hatched, so it’s important to remove all nits during the treatment process.

A deep clean of your home isn’t necessary, but you should wash all bedding and clothing the child wore in hot water. Favorite stuffed animals can be run in the dryer for 30 minutes to kill any parasites that may have fallen onto them. Dry clean unwashable items or tie them in a plastic bag for 48 hours. This method serves to smother lice. You’ll also want to vacuum your floors.

Once lice are discovered on one child, every family member should be checked for quick detection and to prevent from further spreading.

Some lice do not respond to over-the-counter medications. In this case, contact your medical provider.

The good news is these parasites do not spread disease. The bad news is completely preventing them is next to impossible. The bugs can survive underwater for 6 hours, which means even frequently bathed children can still become victims of an infestation.


What to Expect During a Sports Physical

sports physical

You can feel it in the air. Spring is almost here. Everyone is no longer cooped up in their homes, and spring sports can begin! Before your child joins a team, be sure they’ve had their spring sports physical.

The purpose of a sports physical is to determine if your child is can take part in certain sports. Most states require children and teens have a sports physical before they can start a new sport or begin a new competitive season. Even if sports physicals aren’t required, they’re still recommended by medical professionals. Mississippi does require sports physicals.

Sports physicals help your medical care provider discover and treat problems that could interfere with your child’s sports participation. For example, if a child prone to asthma attacks is playing football this year, that child might need a different inhaler or a change in their dose. These changes are to ensure the child can breathe easily while running.

Usually, a sports physical consists of two parts: medical history and a physical exam.

Medical History

The medical history part of the exam includes questions about:

  • serious illnesses among family members
  • illnesses that your child had when they were younger or may have now, such as asthma, diabetes, or epilepsy
  • previous hospitalizations or surgeries
  • allergies (to insect bites, for example)
  • past injuries (including concussions, sprains, or bone fractures)
  • whether your child has ever passed out, felt dizzy, had chest pain, or had trouble breathing during exercise
  • any medications that your child takes (including over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, and prescription medications)

These questions are usually on a form you fill out and send back to school. You can find the Mississippi Athletic Pre-participation Form compiled by the Mississippi High School Activities Association here.

Physical Examination

During the physical part of the exam, the medical health professional will usually:

  • record your child’s height and weight
  • take a blood pressure and pulse (heart rate and rhythm)
  • test your child’s vision (screened with glasses/contact lenses)
  • check your child’s heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat
  • check your child’s posture, joints, strength, and flexibility

Most of the exam will be the same for males and females, but if your child has started or already gone through puberty, the medical care professional may ask girls and guys different questions. For example, a healthcare provider may ask a girl about her period and diet to ensure she doesn’t have the female athlete triad (poor nutrition, irregular or absent period, and weak bones). A healthcare professional may also ask an older student about the use of drugs, alcohol and dietary supplements like performance enhancers.

Sports physicals help protect athletes by preventing problems on the field and court before they happen. Mantachie Rural Health Care offers thorough physicals and promptly supplies the documentation you need. If your son or daughter needs a sports physical please contact Mantachie Rural Health Care at (662) 282-4226.

The Kissing Disease:What is Mono?

monoInfectious Mononucleosis (Mono) is often called the kissing disease because it’s spread by contact with viral-infected saliva. You can get it from kissing, but it’s also spread through coughing, sneezing, or the sharing of items such as drinking glasses, eating utensils, straws, toothbrushes, or lip gloss. Mono is contagious, but it’s not as contagious as other viruses such as the common cold.

Adolescents and young adults catch mononucleosis with all its signs and symptoms most often. Young children may also get mono, but often only few of the symptoms manifest and the infection often goes unrecognized.

What causes it?

The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), also known as human herpesvirus 4, causes Mono. It’s one of eight known human herpesvirus types in the herpes family, and is one of the most common viruses in humans. This virus usually doesn’t cause any serious problems in older adults. In fact, by age 35–40, approximately 95% of the population has been infected with EBV and has built up antibodies to become immune to it.

What are the symptoms?

Mono runs its course in 10–30 days. People with weakened or suppressed immune systems, such as AIDS or organ-transplant patients, are especially vulnerable to serious complications from mononucleosis.

The first symptoms of Mono include general weakness and extreme fatigue. An infected person may need 12–16 hours of sleep daily prior to the development of other symptoms. Early symptoms of Mono mimic cold or flu symptoms. They can include:

  • Fever and chills. (EBV is most contagious during this stage of the illness)
  • An enlarged spleen, causing pain in the upper left of the abdomen
  • Sore throat and/or swollen tonsils
  • Swollen lymph glands (nodes) in the neck, armpits, and/or groin
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) indicates an inflamed or enlarged liver
  • A red skin rash, particularly on the chest
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain and/or nausea
  • Muscle soreness and/or joint pain
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat

If you think you may have Mono and your severe sore throat has lasted longer than 2 to 3 days after trying home treatment, call your doctor in 1 to 2 days.

Possible Complications

With mono, often the complications are more serious than the disease itself. Mono often causes an enlarged spleen which in extreme cases can rupture causing a sharp sudden pain in the left side of the abdomen. If you have been diagnosed with mono and such pain occurs, seek medical attention immediately. You may need surgery.

MRHC is dedicated to providing our patients with the highest level of compassionate, personal and trustworthy medical care in a warm and welcoming environment. If you’re feeling under the weather, call 662-282-4226 to schedule an appointment.






Childhood Obesity: How is it caused and what can parents do?

Childhood Obesity

We finally have some good news in Mississippi’s childhood obesity crisis! Childhood obesity in our state has stopped rising. According to new government data, 37% of children in Mississippi age 10-17 were either overweight to obese in 2016. This is down from a rate of 39.7% in 2011 and 44.4% in 2007.

Survey methods have changed recently which means earlier results about obesity rates may not be comparable with the newest survey results. Still, Mississippi is now ranked the third state with the most obese children behind Tennessee with 37.7% and North Dakota at 37.1 %. We celebrate this improvement, but recognize we still have a long way to go.

Childhood obesity is a complex health issue. It occurs when a child is well above the normal or healthy weight for his/her age or height. Childhood obesity usually results due to poor behaviors and habits. Eating  low nutrient food and not getting enough physical activity are the two most contributing factors.

Health risks associated with childhood obesity include:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Early heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Bone problems
  • Skin conditions such as heat rash, fungal infections, and acne

What can parents do?

If your child is overweight, you must show him or her your full support. Children’s feelings about themselves are often based on their parent’s attitudes. It’s important to talk to your children about their weight. Families who communicate about food were less likely to have overweight or obese children.

It’s not recommended that parents set children apart because of their weight. Instead parents should focus on gradually changing the family’s physical activity and eating habits. Involving everyone in the family will prevent the overweight child from feeling singled out.

Find fun ways to involve the entire family and teach new healthy habits.

Need a place to start? Try these ideas:

  • Lead by example. If your children see you physically active and having fun, they are more likely to be active and stay active.
  • Plan fun family activities where everyone is up and moving. Think activities such as walking, biking, or swimming.
  • Move your meals from the living room to the kitchen table where they are supposed to be. Having a family dinner at least three times a week has been linked to a lower risk of obesity.
  • Remember restrictive feeding may influence weight gain. Foods that are withheld might become more desired or sought after. When children do get access to these food, they might chose to overeat because they have the chance. Instead of saying, “No more potatoes ever!” say “We are not having potato chips now because lunch is a half hour away. We’ll have some one day this week with dinner.”
  • Make an effort to reduce the amount of time you and your family spend in front of the TV.
  • Be sensitive to your child’s needs. Overweight children may feel uncomfortable participating in certain activities. Help your child find an activity he/she will enjoy.

For more information about childhood obesity click here:




Pinkeye Everything You Need To Know


Many things can cause the outermost layer of the eye to turn pink or red. Allergies, chemical irritation, contact lenses are just a few. But these aren’t the reasons that usually keep parents up at night. When someone refers to Pinkeye, they’re usually referring to an infection of the transparent outermost layer of the eyeball and eyelid caused by a bacteria or virus. [Read more…]

Lice: What Causes It, How to Treat It, How to Prevent It

head lice

We all remember that one kid in school. That kid that only had to hear the word lice and suddenly became the reason why half the class went home to endure the fine tooth comb instead of going outside to play. While lice rank high on the yuck scale, they aren’t known to spread disease. Still, they’re not welcome in any household. Here’s what you need to know to get a lice infestation under control.

What are Lice?

Head lice are tiny six legged insects that cling to human hair, the neck, and scalp. They feed on human blood several times a day, but are most active at night. Each adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed and can be very difficult to spot. Lice eggs (a.k.a. Nits) are often glued to the hair ¼ inch from the base of the hair shaft. Nits are small yellow or whitish oval shapes that are often confused for dandruff or hair spray droplets. [Read more…]

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