Why well-child exams matter

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With more people getting vaccinated, you may be starting to make appointments again for things you’ve been putting off for a year.

The COVID-19 pandemic put many things on hold, and Sanford Health Dr. Jennifer Haggar says well-child exams also felt the impact.

“Things have improved slightly, but we’re really anticipating, kind of a backlog, wanting to make sure that we’re getting our patients back up to date,” Dr. Jennifer Haggar said.

She says the importance of a child being seen every year doesn’t go away with age.

“I can’t stress enough how important this is for wellness. I’m a pediatrician because I love prevention. And that’s often the primary focus of those visits is taking healthy kids and promoting that health to get them to adulthood as healthy individuals,” Haggar said.

Cara DeCourcey’s 15-year-old son Drayton has been playing hockey for about 10 years. She says well-child exams are a priority so he’s healthy on and off the ice.

“Just to make sure that everything is what it should be and that if there is anything they need to check out or there might be any symptoms that we make sure that we’re on top of those right away,” DeCourcey said.

The exams proved their importance after her son’s allergies turned into asthma.

“So they just watch that really closely since he is in sports. And, so it’s just really helpful to know that they have those records and we’re able to stay on top of it if anything happens,” DeCourcey said.

Haggar reminds parents that a sport physical is not the same as a well-child exam, which takes a more comprehensive look at your child with a full physical.

“Are their vaccines up to date? There’s some labs that need to be done at some of these visits. And then additionally, we can cover if they’re ready or healthy for sports,” Haggar said.

Haggar says now is a good time to schedule your child’s well-exam, and recommends patients to be seen in person.

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