Well-Child Visits and Vaccinations Are Essential Services

Keep your child healthy and protected.
Well-Child Visits and Vaccinations Are Essential Services

Pediatrician Dr. Lucy Ryan says routine vaccines help protect children and adolescents from serious diseases.

Well-child visits and vaccinations are essential services and help make sure children are healthy and protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Pediatrician Dr. Lucy Ryan says children who do not receive their vaccines may be more likely to get diseases like measles and whooping cough. Routine vaccines help protect children and adolescents from serious diseases.

In recent months, families have been doing their part by staying at home as much as possible to help stop the spread of COVID-19, Ryan said. As communities open up, it’s crucial that your child goes in for their well-child visit.

These visits are essential for many reasons, including:

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  • Tracking growth and development including developmental milestones, social behaviors, and learning
  • Discussing any concerns about your child’s health
  • Getting scheduled vaccinations to prevent vaccine preventable diseases
  • Discussing any concerns and evaluating your child or teenager for problems with stress, anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, etc.

Developmental Monitoring

Developmental monitoring observes how your child grows and changes over time and whether your child meets the typical developmental milestones in playing, learning, speaking, behaving, and moving. Parents, grandparents, early childhood providers, and other caregivers can participate in developmental monitoring. If you notice that your child is not meeting milestones, talk with your doctor or nurse about your concerns.

When you take your child to a well visit, your doctor or nurse will do developmental monitoring. The doctor or nurse might ask you questions about your child’s development or will talk and play with your child to see if he or she is developing and meeting milestones. A missed milestone could be a sign of a problem, so the doctor or another specialist will take a closer look by using a more thorough test or exam.

Developmental Evaluation

A brief test using a screening tool does not provide a diagnosis, but it indicates whether a child is
on the right developmental track or if a specialist should take a closer look. If the screening tool
identifies an area of concern, a formal developmental evaluation may be needed.

This formal evaluation is a more in-depth look at a child’s development, usually done by a
trained specialist, such as a developmental pediatrician, child psychologist, speech-language
pathologist, occupational therapist, or other specialist. The specialist may observe the child, give
the child a structured test, ask the parents or caregivers questions, or ask them to fill out
questionnaires. The results of this formal evaluation determine whether a child needs specialized treatment or early intervention services or both.

Importance of Vaccines

Did you know that there have been several outbreaks of measles and whooping cough in recent
years? These diseases are extremely contagious and can be very serious, especially for babies
and young children. With schools and daycares now open, protecting children against these and other diseases makes vaccinations particularly important. These vaccines protect your child against diseases such as Pertussis (whooping cough), Tetanus, Diphtheria, Meningitis, Rotavirus, Chickenpox, Measles,
Mumps, Rubella, Polio, Hepatitis A and B, and HPV (human papillomavirus). HPV is a viral
infection that can cause various types of cancers in males and females and can be prevented by
the HPV vaccine.

For information on well-child visits, talk to Pediatrician Dr. Lucy Ryan, left, and Pediatric
Nurse Practitioner Tammy Walker at the Pediatric Clinic of Sweetwater Memorial.

Not sure what vaccines are needed when? Call the Pediatric Clinic of Sweetwater Memorial at (307) 212-7717. Pediatrician Dr. Lucy Ryan and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Tammy Walker are here to help you and your child/children.

If you need help paying for vaccines, ask your child’s doctor or nurse about Vaccines for Children Program. This program provides free vaccines to children who are Medicaid-eligible, uninsured, underinsured, or American Indian/Alaska Native.

These are challenging times, but you have the power to help keep your child/teen healthy. Ensuring that your child/teen sees their doctor for well-child visits and vaccines is one of the best things you can do to protect your child and community.

MHSC is a non-profit, 99-bed, regional acute-care facility in southwestern Wyoming. The hospital has more than 500 employees, including more than 30 employed physicians providing care in more than two dozen specialty fields. MHSC offers care in ENT/Otolaryngology, Family Medicine, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Neurology, Nephrology, Obstetrics and Women’s Health, Oncology, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Urology, and Pulmonology. Services include Medical Imaging, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Cardiopulmonary, Diabetes Education, Dialysis, Emergency Care, Intensive Care, Laboratory Services, Medical and Surgical Unit, Nutrition Therapy, Rehabilitation, and Sleep Disorder Lab. Through its affiliation with University of Utah Health, dermatology, cardiology, vascular and maternal fetal medicine services are offered. Sweetwater Regional Cancer Center is an affiliate partner of the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute.

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