Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by Ochsner and written by Truc Dinh, MD.
5 Reasons To Schedule Annual Visits for Children
As we enter a new year, it is time to get back to your normal routines, and that includes appointments with your child’s doctor. To start off strong with your child’s health in the new year, we recommend scheduling your child’s annual visits as soon as possible. Here are five reasons it is important to keep your child’s health on track through annual visits with their pediatrician.
- Immunizations. While we are still waiting on a COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for the pediatric population, it is important we don’t allow our children to become vulnerable to diseases that also once caused a public health crisis. Fortunately, we have vaccines to protect our children against these different diseases. Many vaccines need to be spaced at certain intervals and missing an appointment may put your child behind the schedule and at risk. Each state also has specific immunization requirements children must meet to participate in public education. Your local health department website can provide more information on these recommendations (for Louisiana, click here. For Mississippi, click here). Don’t fret if your child is behind. Talk to your child’s pediatrician who can come up with a catch-up schedule to safely administer the vaccines in a timely manner.
- Prevention. The annual exam is an important time to talk about nutrition and promoting healthy habits along with treating any illnesses or injuries. The pediatrician will discuss topics such as safety, exercise, healthy eating habits, etc. By learning what’s best for your child, it will help establish great habits that is instrumental in promoting a healthy lifestyle.
- Detection. Though it is impossible to prevent all illnesses, early detection and treatment leads to better outcomes. Along with a full physical exam, your child may also get a blood pressure screening and age-appropriate lab work to detect things such as anemia (low red blood cell count), lead poisoning and high cholesterol. Vision and hearing screenings are also an important part of annual wellness visits. Hearing issues may affect a child’s speech development and both vison and hearing issues may impact a child’s overall school performance.
- Tracking growth and developmental milestones. Growth and development are closely monitored during annual wellness visits. If a child is not tracking along his/her growth curve, it is important to determine the cause early to allow the child to reach optimal growth. It is also important to identify children who are not meeting their appropriate developmental milestones so that referrals may be made in a timely manner to allow them the resources necessary to succeed in life.
- Building relationships with your pediatrician. Building a strong, trusting relationship with their pediatrician will help your children feel comfortable with their doctor as they grow. This doctor-patient relationship is important as it allows the pediatrician to better anticipate the needs of the child and provide more competent and compassionate care. The relationships developed will allow the younger children to associate the office visit with a more pleasant and fun experience. On the other hand, our adolescent children have an adult role model who they may feel more comfortable discussing their personal concerns with.
Scheduling Your Pediatric Appointment
Before making your appointment, contact your pediatrician’s office to see if the type of appointment your child need requires an in-office visit, or if a virtual visit option is available. For visits that require you and your child to go in-person, be sure to wear a face mask. You can learn more about Ochsner’s COVID-19 visitor policy here.
If your child is a current patient, you can book an appointment with their provider through MyOchsner. New patients can follow one of these steps to get started:
- Click here to get register or contact [email protected].
- Contact MyOchsner Patient Support: 1-877-339-2637
- Call ahead. Click here to connect to Ochsner locations near you.
About the Author
Dr. Truc Dinh received her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., and completed her internship and residency at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, LA. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and she has been on staff at Ochsner since October 2020. Dr. Dinh enjoys photography, hiking, and camping in her free time.