Well Child Exams
Guest post by Melanie Jungblut, MD, Mercer Health Pediatrician
The Coronavirus pandemic has offered unique challenges for families everywhere in our country, from child care, working from home, educating our children electronically and the anxiety of uncertainty that exists. However, there are many things that parents can do during this time to help their children thrive and opportunities for them to continue to receive appropriate pediatric care during social distancing. The American Academy of Pediatrics has noted an alarming downward trend of children receiving well child exams and other recommended care in the last several months since the pandemic started. While parental concerns for contracting the virus are certainly understandable, it is critical that children receive their scheduled well child exams in a timely fashion. Great concern exists for the possibility of outbreaks and transmission of vaccine preventable diseases in the community. Fortunately, the last several months have given the Mercer County community time to develop strategies to keep children and families safe while ensuring that the children receive their well child exams and vaccines.
There are many ways parents can help ensure their children remain healthy and developmentally on track. First, well child exams give parents and health care providers the opportunity to ensure children are not behind in motor, speech, emotional or mental development. This is even more essential in the first three years of a child’s life given that a large proportion of vaccines are given during that period of time. Second, the brains and minds of children under three years old are in a period of “neuroplasticity”, meaning that they will develop new brain connections at a greater rate than during any other time of their life. Through therapy and intervention, a child’s ultimate developmental progress can be successfully changed for the better and improved at a much greater rate than any other time in their lives. Third, the healthcare providers of Mercer County want to partner with the parents during this challenging time. We realize that you, the parents, are experts on your child in a way we can never be. We hope to collaboratively ensure that your child thrives and becomes the best version of themselves they can be. We welcome questions from the parents of our patients and hope you will reach out to us as we try to make sure all children are healthy and happy.
To schedule a well child exam, school physical, or sports clearance for your child, contact your primary care provider or visit www.mercer-health.com for a full list of providers. To establish a primary care provider, contact us at 419-586-1655.
Dr. Melanie Jungblut is a general and developmental pediatrician at Mercer Health Pediatrics, located in Celina.