Adena Health Focus December 30, 2020

Prioritizing Pediatric Wellness – Your Best New Year’s Resolution Ever

Amy Maggard, DO is a Pediatric Specialist who grew up in Athens, Ohio. She has been working in outpatient pediatrics for over two and a half years and is currently taking new patients at Adena Health Center - Waverly. She realized her passion for pediatrics in her third year of medical school. Since then, she has enjoyed treating children and making office visits fun. 

Resolve to Engage Jr.

Each new year, people resolve to make improvements in their lives. Whether it’s losing weight, eating better, completing an overdue house project, the new year gives many adults a fresh perspective on life. But have children experienced enough life to create resolutions? Maybe, maybe not. It’s difficult enough for adults to stick to their self-promises, so it might be more difficult for children and adolescents whose worlds are constantly evolving with new trends, technology and social media influences.

What would happen if you resolve to engage your child or children about their health? Show them by example that it’s important to eat healthy, exercise, get good rest, balance obligations and go to regular wellness check-ups. Together, you can work to improve aspects of your health, even if they are just small changes. The benefits would be three-fold: improving your health, helping your child/children and possibly spouse improve their health, and having a shared experience where you can celebrate wins help keep each other on track. 

Pediatric Well-Checks – the Foundation of Good Health

As part of your New Year’s promise, help your child or children understand the importance of well-checks.  Annual well-checks are needed to gauge and maintain good health, especially during the current times of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re hearing that some parents are concerned or worried about bringing their children in for non-essential check-ups due to coronavirus,” says Dr. Maggard. “But we feel it’s more important than ever for kids to have their well-checks.” 

Well-checks are important because they enable prevention, and prevention is the key to staying healthy. Well-checks also serve as checkpoints for growth, weight, diet, dental health, screenings, physical and emotional health. They help pediatricians monitor kids’ progress and intervene if adjustments should be made. Getting well-checks also teaches children that annual doctor visits are part of maintaining good health.

Important to Immunize

For children, well-checks often include a vaccination/immunization. Let your children know that this vital medicine keeps them from getting really sick and helps them to achieve good health. 

For parents of infants 0-24 months, they know it is essential for their baby’s development to follow the prescribed guidance on infant well-checks. Babies receive a number of protective immunizations in just the first 15 months of life. Immunizations protect children from birth through 18-years of age from deadly diseases like diphtheria, measles and whooping cough (the last two having made a comeback in recent years). Due to the easy transmission of these diseases, it is considered essential to get your children immunized to help protect them and others. Especially during this time of COVID-19, an outbreak of whooping cough could leave children particularly vulnerable to respiratory infection.

Now More Than Ever

With the isolation we’ve all experienced due to the impact of coronavirus, it’s important to let your children know that their well-check is also a check-up for how they are feeling. Studies have shown a rise in stress, anxiety and depression in children and adolescents since the onset of COVID-19. “We see kids feeling more isolated,” says Dr. Maggard. “The routine of sports, classes, social gatherings and daily structure have all changed. We’ve seen kids lose sleep, not eat, become depressed, retreat and display signs of chronic fatigue just because they are having difficulty adjusting to this forced ‘new normal’.” 

Well-checks can help identify problems children may be having and spot potential instances of stress and feelings of depression. “If parents have concerns or we see issues in a child’s behavior, we can work with the parent and the child in discovering triggers and trying to eliminate or minimize causes of stress and isolation,” says Dr. Maggard. If a child shows signs of stress and anxiety, Adena Pediatric Physicians are well equipped to help. Parents might be asked to limit a child’s exposure to daily news reports, or encouraged to have open conversations with their child about what’s going on in the world and with the pandemic. The Adena Pediatric staff can also refer patients to one of our many Adena counsellors for additional help.

Dr. Maggard says to help children cope with the changes brought on by the coronavirus, she suggests getting kids active and helping them develop some type of routine. Physical activities such as walking, running, online exercise, etc., can help reduce stress. In addition to getting active, reducing the time in front of the TV or on social media can also help reduce some feelings of inadequacy or feeling alone. “Plan routine family time,” says Dr. Maggard. “Game night or movie night togethercan really help a child’s perspective.”

One thing is certain, we are all in this together, so let your children know the importance of good health. Scheduling and ensuring your child’s well-checks and screenings is just one more way to help keep them structured, healthy and well-balanced in a time of uncertainty. Adena Pediatrics is here to be your partner. Call (740) 779-4300 or visit Adena.org to schedule your child’s well-check appointment today.