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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Importance of Well-Child Visits

Protecting your child from serious conditions

Family Medicine/OB physicians, Christopher Hutchinson, DO and Melanie Hutchinson, DO, address the importance of keeping up with your child’s routine care.

Q: Why is it important to maintain well-child visits, even during a pandemic?

A: Dr. Christopher Hutchinson: Continued visits enable the doctor to check on the child’s overall development, including gross motor, social, language development. Preventive medicine is the foundation of well-child health — we want to identify and prevent problems early before they become an issue later.

Dr. Melanie Hutchinson: The well-child visit is an opportunity to answer the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. We don’t want a child to fall behind. It’s important to identify issues such as a speech delay at a young age so it can be addressed and not become a life-long problem. We also screen for post-partum depression in new mothers. As primary care physicians, we are concerned about the well-being of the whole family.

Q: What immunizations are most important for children and why?

A: Dr. Christopher Hutchinson: Parents should follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) schedule. There is good evidence to support immunizations prevent contagious diseases like polio, mumps, diphtheria, etc., that we don’t see often, or at all, due to vaccinations.

Dr. Melanie Hutchinson: We are at risk for re-emergence of these diseases if people don’t vaccinate their children. When a high percentage of our population is vaccinated, we prevent those who are too young to receive vaccines, from getting ill with these once prevalent diseases. It’s easy to forget that childhood vaccinations are 99 percent effective.

Q: When do well-child visits begin and when do they end?

A: Dr. Christopher Hutchinson: The first visit begins three-to-five days after birth and visits continue until age 18. During the baby’s first year, the standard visit schedule is:

1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months. That’s followed by 15 and 18 months; 2 years, 2-1/2 years, 3 years, 4 years; 5-6 years; 7-8 years; 9-10 years; 11-14 years; 15-17 years; 18-21 years.

Q: Are well-child visits really necessary once the child enters school?

A: Dr. Melanie Hutchinson: Yes, especially pre-adolescents. We allow them to talk to us to address any issues or concerns they might have. They may be experimenting with drinking and drugs, becoming sexually active, experiencing depression, having sleep or nutrition issues, or might be experiencing bullying at school. Learning about these issues can help us provide supportive resources and advice.

Dr. Melanie Hutchinson, Dr. Chris Hutchinson and Dr. Casey Cochran are located at St. Mary’s Family Medicine North and offer compassionate quality care for the entire family. Call 580-249-3782 or visit stmarysphysicianassociates.com to schedule an appointment.

For language assistance, disability accommodations and the non-discrimination notice, visit our website.

St. Mary's Physician Associates
St. Mary's Physician Associateshttp://stmarysphysicianassociates.com
St. Mary’s Physician Associates is dedicated to caring for patients at every stage of life, offering both primary care and specialty services to the people of Enid and surrounding communities. For more information on our providers and services, visit: stmarysphysicianassociates.com

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