Annual screens keep kids healthy

Health screen:

Does your child need a health screen?

Attend the Back-to-School Health Fair sponsored by The Memorial Hospital! The free event includes the following screens:

• Height and weight checks

• Blood pressure check

• Blood screening for lead, glucose (diabetes) and hemoglobin (anemia)

• Hearing and vision checks

• Developmental screenings

• Immunizations

All kids ages four to 18 are welcome. Free food, free fun and free bike helmets, backpack and school supplies to the first 250 children!

When: Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013

Where: TMH Medical Clinic — 785 Russell St.

Times: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Your child might have been able to see the board perfectly last spring. That doesn’t mean the same will be true this fall. Did you know that your child’s eyesight can change quickly — even over the summer? That’s just one reason health screens and well child checks are important once-a-year events for kids.

“Kids develop and grow quickly, especially in their first eight years, so it’s important to have a variety of health checks every year,” said Dr. Kristie Yarmer, pediatrician with The Memorial Hospital.

Fall is a great time to schedule checks and screens. You are already in the mode of preparing for a new school year, so why not?

The hospital is making it easy for you this year by offering several free health screens at their new Back-to-School Health Fair for kids, ages four to 18. Screens include height and weight checks, blood pressure checks, blood screening for lead, glucose, and hemoglobin, hearing and vision checks, developmental screenings and lastly, immunizations.

If you plan to enroll your child in HeadStart, he will need a lead test.

“Young kids put a lot of things in their mouths. The good news is that if we catch lead poisoning early enough we can treat for it and minimize its effects,” Yarmer said.

Another important screen is getting your child’s glucose levels checked, especially if you have a family history of diabetes. Have a picky eater? You might want to take advantage of the hemoglobin test at the fair. If your daughter doesn’t eat well, she might have low iron, a sign of anemia.

“Anemia affects energy levels and makes concentrating and learning difficult. It is common in younger children because they might not eat a well-balanced diet. Adolescent girls are also prone to anemia since they are starting to get their periods,” Yarmer said.

Has it been a while since your kids have seen the dentist? Sometimes, families go without dental care due to finances or a lack of insurance. Dental screenings will be offered through the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition — a nonprofit dental clinic located in Craig that provides comprehensive dental care. It’s a great opportunity to get an affordable dental check-up. Fluoride treatments will be offered in some cases.

Ever wonder if your child is growing normally? If your son is shorter than all his friends and you are worried, get his height and weight checked to ensure he is physically developing as he should.

“It’s important to know that these screens do not replace an annual well child check. A well child check is much more thorough and comprehensive. We do a head-to-toe exam to make sure we don’t miss anything, from an abdominal mass to a heart murmur. We chart your child’s growth and development and compare it year-to-year,” Yarmer said.

Well child checks include a full physical exam and are tailored to the age and stage of your individual child. Most insurance companies, including Medicaid, cover well child checks as preventive care. Immunizations are given at well child checks and are also available at the health fair.

“We are really excited to hold this health fair just for kids, and extend care to people who may not have easy access otherwise,” Yarmer said.

The health fair takes place on Aug.17 at TMH Medical Clinic. Besides screenings, education on healthy eating, bike safety, hand washing, bike safety, fire extinguisher use and concussions will also be offered.

This weekly article with tips on living well is sponsored by The Memorial Hospital at Craig — improving the quality of life for the communities we serve through patient-centered healthcare and service excellence.

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