shutterstock_379214668.jpeg (shutterstock_379214668.webp)The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on families in many ways, some unexpected. With stay-at-home orders in place for all of 2020, many parents opted to keep their children at home instead of taking their children to the doctor for routine check-ups. Unfortunately, this resulted in a measurable drop in children receiving standard immunizations. 

Children and teenagers who have not received their standard vaccines are at a higher risk for contracting preventable diseases, and missing out on routine visits and/or physicals can lead to more serious health consequences in the long-run. As social distancing restrictions begin to lift and more children are put back in social settings, it’s more important now than ever to make sure your child is receiving routine well child care, immunizations, and sports physicals. 

Why Routine Well-Care Matters For Physical & Mental Health

Well child visits are the best way to ensure your child’s health, both physically and mentally. A pediatrician is trained to diagnose and treat medical concerns, and make referrals to specialists as needed for more complex issues.  

Well child visits are essential for:

  • Tracking growth and developmental milestones
  • Addressing concerns about your child's physical/mental health 
  • Getting scheduled vaccinations 
  • Creating a trustworthy, long-term relationship with a healthcare provider

Capital Area Pediatrics located in Northern Virginia is a safe space for you and your family to visit. Our dedicated team of board-certified providers are committed to providing exceptional, comprehensive pediatric care to infants, children and adolescents

If you are unsure of how often your child needs to see their pediatrician, refer to this Periodicity Schedule developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP.) If your child is currently a patient at Capital Area Pediatrics (or you think you would like to be with our practice), here are our Well Visit Guidelines, which explain age-appropriate risk screens, vaccines, and procedures that are necessary for your child during a check-up.

Get Sports Physicals With Your Family Pediatrician

Sports physicals are check-ups specifically geared towards making sure your child is healthy enough to participate in sports, camp, and other physically-demanding activities. While it may be tempting to get your child’s sports physical out of the way quickly at a walk-in clinic, it’s not the best option. Walk-in clinics do not have access to your child’s health history or their vaccination records, so they will not be able to pick up on the nuances of your child’s health, and how it could affect their experience with sports or summer camp. 

At Capital Area Pediatrics, our providers offer sports physicals to children and teens. There are two parts to this physical: the medical portion and the physical exam itself. Your child’s pediatrician will start by asking questions about your family medical history, current medications, allergies, and any past injuries or illnesses. During the physical exam, your child’s strength and flexibility will be evaluated, and their height, weight, pulse and blood pressure will be recorded. 

The pediatricians at Capital Area Pediatrics are happy to accommodate busy schedules to ensure that your child gets their sports physical in a timely manner, and we will fill out your child’s sports form at the time of their visit. Additionally, we can provide well-informed advice to young athletes on ways they can have a safe season. 

Keep Up With Vaccinations 

According to the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), a high number of children missed important vaccinations against deadly diseases like whooping cough, meningitis, and measles. Many families in 2020 chose to keep their kids at home instead of taking them to routine checkups, resulting in lots of children missing their regular childhood vaccines. 

It is critical for babies, children and adolescents to receive these immunizations to protect them against fatal illnesses. This is especially true for children with heart or lung problems, as they face a higher risk of respiratory illness like the measles and influenza. Similarly, infants in daycare benefit greatly from timely protection against rotavirus, a virus that spreads very quickly through daycares. 

The CDC published a Catch-up Schedule for parents whose children started their vaccinations late, or who are more than 1 month behind. 

If your child is late on any immunizations or has not received them yet, make a list of the following questions before you head to the pediatrician:

  • Which vaccines is my child missing?
  • Is my child still within the recommended age range for vaccines they missed?
  • Are any illnesses currently circulating in my community? 
  • Does my child have any medical conditions?
  • Does my family have plans to travel to high-risk areas?

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is now available for children ages 12 and up. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe to co-administer with other vaccines, and is safe to give to your child at any time interval related to other vaccines. The team at Capital Area Pediatrics encourages you and your family members to get the vaccine at any location in the community that is available to you. We are currently in the process of obtaining the vaccine and setting up the clinics

If you have any further concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, please discuss it with your provider. 

The team at Capital Area Pediatrics offers exceptional care to families throughout Northern Virginia.  We are currently offering touchless check-in to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Our dedicated care team is committed to ensuring the safety and health of children of all ages, from specialty and chronic care services to sick visits. All of our providers and locations are accepting new patients, and would be happy to reconnect with our existing families. Request an appointment online, or find a location near you today.