Pediatrician urges parents to not skip check-up appointments

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Pediatricians across the country have seen a huge decline in children going to their checkups.

"It’s just been a very difficult, very challenging year, and we all need to work together to try to get kids back on track," Presbyterian Pediatrician Dr. Alex Cvijanovich said.

Doctors will look at weight, blood pressure, nutrition, exercise, even school and home life to assess if a child is healthy.

"Are they happy? Are they sad? Are they anxious? And I think that those are things that we see issues with those across the board, across socioeconomic status across the ages," Dr. Cvijanovich explained. "I think, you know, we’re seeing problems with anxiety, even in the younger children."

Dr. Cvijanovich said some of that has to do with younger kids not being able to get vaccinated yet while seeing their older siblings get the vaccine. Overall, this last year has been tough on everyone.

After a year of virtual learning, pediatricians are noticing weight gain and changes in vision in their patients.

"Sometimes with parents, they may not notice subtle changes in their children, especially these days with COVID, when everybody’s together 24/7," Dr. Cvijanovich said. "Sometimes it’s a little bit harder to notice subtle changes in their children."

That’s where the doctor comes in. There’s also a push to get children vaccinated for diseases that vaccines have been around for for a long time, like measles. With kids being out and about, it’s a good idea to make sure their tetanus shot is also updated.

"If we had a big measles outbreak right now on top of what’s going on with COVID, I think it would be devastating to deal with these vaccine-preventable diseases," Dr. Cvijanovich said.

Another concern is getting sports physicals before getting on the field.

"Sometimes we do find that kids have elevated blood pressure, and that’s something that is not only important for us to know about and to treat, but that could pose risks with if they play sports, if they have high blood pressure, they could be at risk for some severe events during sports you know even something like a heart attack, kids can get heart attacks," Dr. Cvijanovich said.

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