Memorial Regional Health: Make summertime check-up time
Get children ready for back to school with a wellness check and immunizations
For Memorial Regional Health
Got kids? If they haven’t seen their pediatrician or family-care provider for a thorough exam in the past year, it’s time for a check-up, said Memorial Regional Health pediatrician Dr. Linda Couillard.
“Wellness exams fell off during the pandemic,” Dr. Couillard said. “Understandably, people saw their doctors less than usual for preventive care. But now it’s time to get caught up again.”
A children’s check-up considers all aspects of their health. “I’m looking at growth, nutrition, developmental milestones, vision, social/emotional development, safety, sometimes blood screens—everything,” Dr. Couillard said. “It’s a really important visit.”
And while the provider is taking the time to do the thorough exam, the child is getting comfortable with the provider. “The well-child check gives us time to get to know one another,” Dr. Couillard said. “And when children feel comfortable with their doctor, they’re less anxious about the next visit.”
Summertime can be convenient for check-ups, she added, because families may have more relaxed schedules during the summer months. Once school and fall activities are underway, it can be harder to fit in extra appointments.
The good news is that if you bring in your children for their wellness exams, their vaccinations and any sports physical paperwork required by their school can also be completed at the same time. It’s one and done.
Vaccines Keep Kids Healthy
“Local families are generally great about keeping their kids up-to-date on routine vaccinations,” Dr. Couillard said.
In fact, a public health organization called Immunize Colorado monitors vaccination levels by school district, and Moffat County School District has one of the highest vaccination rates in the state. This means that children here are at very low risk of outbreaks of tetanus, haemophilus influenzae type b, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis (whooping cough), diphtheria, hepatitis, polio and varicella (chickenpox).
For lots of parent-friendly health information, including the vaccination schedule endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, go to HealthyChildren.org. In addition to the vaccines listed above, the AAP also recommends children receive vaccinations against rotavirus, pneumococcal disease (pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis), influenza and COVID-19. COVID vaccines are now approved for all children six months and up. For older children, meningococcal disease and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines are also on the AAP list.
“Vaccines are one of the most important things we do in pediatrics,” Dr. Couillard said. “No vaccine is risk-free, and parents always get to decide, but vaccines are really safe and effective. My own children are fully vaccinated against COVID and every other illness they can be vaccinated for.”
Sports Physicals Are a Quick Check
“If you’re going for a quick sports physical just to get your forms signed, a provider is simply doing a brief evaluation of a child’s musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems,” Dr. Couillard said. “They’re just trying to make sure the child is healthy enough to participate in school sports.”
The annual check-up, on the other hand, is much more comprehensive and looks at all aspects of the child’s health. The best approach to sports physicals, whenever possible, is to get comprehensive wellness exams for your children, Dr. Couillard said. Sports physical paperwork can then be completed and signed by the provider during the full exam.
To make an appointment with Dr. Couillard or learn more about pediatric services at Memorial Regional Health, call 970-826-2480 or visit the MRH website.
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