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
learning problems or difficulties at school
importance of regular physical activity
Common Medical Problems
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
If you think that your teen has a physical disorder, a psychological problem, or
a problem with drugs or alcohol, contact the doctor.