During the coronavirus pandemic, many people are worried about the health of their loves ones as well as their own. While some may consider putting off visits to the doctor, physicians say it is vital to keep up with regular visits... especially for children.
"Something I've learned in the last year is you can never ask too many questions and no question when it comes to the safety of your child is a dumb question," said Jessika Davis, first-time mother.
Like all new parents, Davis is learning as she goes while raising her son, Hudson. She knows taking him for routine checkups is the best way to be sure he's healthy.
"It is extra important to me to know that okay we have hit this milestone or we haven't quite hit it yet, but we are getting there," she said.
"They are going to check for different metabolic conditions, vitamin deficiencies, vitamin K deficiency, sickle cell screenings, those type of things," said Mark Blubaugh, D.O, medical director at Tulsa ER & Hospital.
Since a child's brain develops in the first five years, the American Academy of Pediatrics said check ups are necessary at two weeks, then month one, two, four, six, nine and 12 months. After that, physicians recommend scheduling annual checkups until age 21, as well as further exams during a child's school years to check hearing, vision and even behavior.
"The physician is documenting growth and development and we want to make sure that's progressing normally," Dr. Blubaugh said. "That is also when the child is getting their childhood immunizations. So, it is definitely important to keep that child on the vaccination schedule."
During the pandemic, physicians are seeing parents cancel or not schedule appointments due to fears about possible exposure to COVID-19 at the doctor's office. Doctor Blubaugh insisted a medical office is safer than anywhere else right now.
"Actually, now probably is the safest time to go to your doctor," Dr. Blubaugh said. "We have taken precautions that we haven't taken in the past to prevent the spread of illness. So, I would not hesitate to tell a patient it is okay to go to your doctor for a routine annual visit."
Jessika Davis said she won't miss a doctor visit for Hudson. She knows it is for his benefit as well as hers.
"And it just it makes a world of difference to be able to go to sleep at night knowing. No, I've done everything that I can to make sure that my kid is safe and healthy and thriving. So I just say, follow up," Davis said.
Now that flu season is underway, and the Oklahoma State Department of Health is already reporting hospitalizations, and physicians are prescribing flu shots for everyone in the family because it is the best way to protect newborns who cannot be vaccinated against the flu until they are six months old.
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