It’s time for your little one’s annual check-up – nothing is obviously wrong, but it is always a good idea to have a fresh pair of eyes, take a look. Your well child visit, is an opportunity for milestones to be checked, shots to be given and issues to be discussed.
The trouble with well-child visits – they have a nasty habit of creating an un-well child. This is the finding of a group of researchers from the University of Iowa.
Trips to the doctor
The team scrutinized data that had been gathered as part of an initiative, to understand healthcare expenditures of 84 595 families between 1996 and 2008.
Using the codes recorded by the health care teams following a visit, the team drilled down into the data, pin-pointing well-child visits and visits for flu-like symptoms, for each family. They were able to identify 23 776 well child visits and 97 250 visits for “flu”.
Next the team looked for patterns.
Doctor’s visits a health risk
A pattern did emerge………..
Families who had a well child visit one week, often had a follow-up visit approx. 2 weeks later, for an episode of flu-like symptoms.
It didn’t happen every time, but it definitely happened more often than it should, suggesting, the well child visit and the flu-like symptoms visit were CONNECTED.
It makes sense…………..
“Germs” make people sick.
Sick people congregate at the doctor’s office.
So………. the doctor’s rooms are likely to have a lot of “germs”
Since “germs” are by definition seriously bad guys, capable of getting up to mischief
A visit to the doctor is potentially a health hazard.
How much of a hazard ?
Most people will come and go from the doctor’s office without incident, but the unlucky few, will pick up a germ and suffer the consequences.
So what does this mean ?
A costly exercise
The researchers crunched the numbers….. each year in America, these doctor’s room encounters, cause around 700 000 cases of “flu”.
Since “catching a cold” means
- time off work/school,
- trips to the doctor and
- meds, tissues and chicken soup.
this adds up…..
The team estimated the economic costs of well-child visits, is around 490 million dollars a year.
Well child visits are important, so you don’t want to skip it, just in case you’re UNLUCKY.
So what should you do ?
Show up in a HAZMAT suit, you could, although I think this would be overkill. That said, this is one of those times, when being germophobic is prudent.
Practical suggestions :
- Try to avoid a long waits in busy waiting rooms – this is not always easy, but consider the waiting room set up when choosing your physician
- Don’t allow your child to play with the communal toys in the waiting room, bring your own entertainment
- Discourage your child from interacting with other children in the waiting room area, insist they sit next to you, quietly i.e. be an uncool mother
- Be sure to wash everyone’s hands after the visit.
- Make sure you don’t sit next to anyone who looks visibly ill,
- Try not to schedule your well child visit during flu season
NB. Bacteria are good. Germs are bad. Avoid germs, not bacteria
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