Welcome to our first blog post!
Doc McStuffins is always singing, "It's time for your check-up!", but why?
Many parents ask, “My child is healthy and up-to-date on vaccines, why do they need a physical?” There are many reasons routine well visits or physicals are important throughout childhood. During infancy, growth and developmental changes happen rapidly. In addition to disease prevention through vaccinations, infant well visits are an excellent opportunity to catch developmental concerns or growth issues before they become a serious problem.
As children age they still benefit from yearly physicals. These office visits are a great opportunity for children to be educated on the importance of good nutrition, exercise, sleep as well as safety concerns specific for each age group.
Besides the obvious benefits to health screenings, the yearly physical also helps promote a trusting relationship between health care providers, patients and their family. A trusting relationship can be invaluable as children become adolescents and young adults. When an adolescent trusts their health care provider they will be more likely to bring up potentially serious health concerns that they may otherwise be too embarrassed to discuss with someone they do not know well. Because of the bond that we have formed with our patients we have had many divulge problems with severe depression/anxiety, drug or alcohol abuse, and relationship difficulties among other things that they did not feel comfortable discussing with their parents directly.
Through routine healthy check-ups I have had patients with heart conditions, neurological problems, anemias, lipid disorders, hypertension, tumors, physical and cognitive delays, growth abnormalities, endocrine problems and countless other conditions that would have likely gone undiagnosed and caused significant health consequences had they neglected routine physical exams.
Thankfully most go through childhood without significant health problems, but it's certainly worth an hour or so out of the year to have that piece of mind to know your child is healthy and to hear some tips to help them stay that way. Prevention and early detection is so much easier than trying to fix problems after they have occurred.
Finally, annual physicals are covered 100% by almost all insurance companies, so there's usually no out of pocket expense. So if your child is behind on their routine physcal there is no excuse not to listen to Doc McStuffins and get that check-up!
Have a great summer and hope to see you and your child soon for a healthy check-up!
Chris Pope, ARNP