diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis booster (Tdap)
Doctors recommend a Tdap booster at 11–12 years of age, with a tetanus and diphtheria booster (Td) every 10 years after that. The Tdap vaccine is also recommended for all pregnant women during the second half of each pregnancy, regardless of whether or not they had it before, or when it was last given. The flu vaccine, given before flu season each year, also is recommended.
As teens go through puberty, issues of sexual health will be addressed. Young women may be referred to a gynecologist for a first visit. Young men will be checked for hernias and testicular cancer and taught how to do a testicular self-exam.
Teens should be asked about behaviors or emotional problems that may indicate depression or the risk of suicide. The doctor also should provide counseling about risky behaviors and other issues, including:
sexual activities that may result in unintended pregnancy and STDs
use of alcohol and other substances, including anabolic steroids
use of tobacco products, including cigarettes and smokeless tobacco
drinking and driving
the importance of bicycle helmets, seatbelts, and protective sports gear
how to resolve conflicts without violence, including how to avoid the use of weapons
Sports injuries and other problems, such as knee pain and headaches, are common concerns. Your teen's doctor should evaluate any pain that is severe or long-lasting.
Issues involving puberty and sexual development are typical concerns for teens. Doctors can be a valuable resource by answering questions and giving guidance during this period of physical and emotional changes. Teens should be reassured that anything they discuss with their doctor will be kept confidential, unless their health or the health of others could possibly be in danger.
If You Have Concerns
Parents or other caregivers should receive health guidance from their teen's doctor during these routine checkups. The doctor will share information about normal development, including signs and symptoms of illness or emotional distress and ways to watch for and manage potentially harmful behaviors.
If you think that your teen has a physical disorder, a psychological problem, or a problem with drugs or alcohol, contact the doctor.