Doctors urge families to keep up with wellness visits ahead of school


NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, (KNWA/KFTA) — With more COVID-19 cases now impacting children, local doctors are urging parents not to delay those annual checkups.

The start of a new school year is just weeks away and you want to make sure your kids are in tip-top shape. Regular checkups are part of maintaining good health.

Dr. Mark Lovell is a pediatrician for Northwest Health Systems. He says that it is important that school-age kids get their annual well visits with full physical exams and stay on top of their vaccinations.

That’s is how doctors know that your child is growing and their bodies are developing the way they are supposed to. It’s also a time to answer any questions parents may have and in the rare cases that there are any health issues doctors can catch those early on.

He says it is all about creating good habits.

“If we can keep kids immunized, we can keep our kids learning how to eat healthy nutritious foods then what we will see is a generation that is healthier, lives longer, and enjoy good health in that later part of their lives,” said Lovell.

He adds that at this time they are seeing more sick kids coming in and he expects that to continue through the winter. He says in the last month there has been an increase in kids particularly sick with RSV, a respiratory virus that typically shows up in the winter.

He says most cases are mild, with fever, runny nose and a loose cough and in those cases, he recommends checking in with your primary doctor.

However, if your child is having a really tough time breathing they need urgent care.

“Sometimes with RSV because the virus can give viral bronchitis or pneumonia, kids can get quite sick with it… they can work really hard to breathe. Their oxygen level can be below and they can be admitted to the hospital and have to be in the intensive care unit,” said Lovell.

He adds last winter from flu to RSV the volume of sick kids was pretty low.

He says that may be because folks were more strict with following good hygiene habits like washing their hands, social distancing, keeping their kids away from others when sick, and wearing face coverings.

His advice as we get into another school season is to get back into those good hygiene habits.

Doctor Lovell says the increase of sick kids could have an impact on appointments in the future.

So he is urging parents to schedule those well-visits sooner than later.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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