Tag Archives: immunization

Early pediatric intervention improves outcomes

Pediatrician Tabitha Wilson, M.D.

Parents gazing into the face of a baby often only see perfection. As the babies grow into toddlers, they can amaze and amuse their caregivers with their antics. But alongside all the cuteness, children’s development needs to be monitored to make sure they’re on track. “Well-child checkups are so important,” says pediatrician Tabitha Wilson, MD. “If a developmental issue is discovered, the earlier the intervention, the better the outcome.”

Dr. Wilson recommends well checks starting at 3-5 days, and then regularly until the child is two years old. After that, annual checkups are important. “Every child is different. But the key is early intervention. If we can catch a speech difficulty when they’re age two, we can have it fixed before they even start school.” She added that the most common cause of language issues is hearing loss which parents may not be aware of, but that can be discovered by a doctor.

“We can check a child’s vision as early as age three,” said Dr. Wilson. “It seems young, but we can make a big difference if we find a problem early.” Along with hearing and vision, it’s important to keep an eye on dental health as well. “Babies should see a dentist as soon as they have their first tooth! Believe it or not, some preschoolers have dental issues.”

Most parents are aware of the need for immunizations along with developmental screenings. “Babies need some immunization during every visit for their first 18 months,” she said. “If the immunizations get off schedule, it is a problem. There needs to be a certain amount of time between doses to be effective. Some vaccines, like for Rota virus, can’t be given after eight months.”

Iowa has some of the highest lead levels of any state in the US. So Iowa Public Health recommends all children be tested for lead. “It’s a simple finger prick to get enough blood for a test. But if high lead levels are found, it can cause brain damage and lower the child’s IQ if not treated. So, here in Iowa, it’s important.”

Obesity is a nationwide problem, and increasingly children have high cholesterol and high lipid levels. “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening children for high cholesterol. If it’s elevated, we start with diet and exercise changes before putting them on medication. Over the past year, kids have gained weight. They’re getting less exercise than normal due to Covid restrictions.”

It’s not just weight Dr. Wilson checks on. She makes sure that weight and growth are appropriate. Neither overweight nor underweight are healthy. “Kids should grow around two inches a year. The right balance is critical for brain development.”

“Parents may think their child is healthy and wonder why they should bring him to the doctor. But there are subtle things that I can see that parents don’t. It’s worth the small effort!”

Dr. Tabitha Wilson is available every Monday & Thursday. Call (641) 464-4470 to schedule an appointment at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic

Vaccinations prevent disease

Diseases like polio, measles, mumps, and chickenpox have almost been eradicated by parents choosing to vaccinate their children and prevent them from getting sick.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States earlier this year, it’s been easy to dismiss the other illnesses that can affect ourselves and our children. Because of vaccines, diseases like polio, measles, mumps, and chickenpox are no longer the health threats they once were. But the reason they’ve been almost eradicated is because parents have made sure to vaccinate their children and prevent them from getting sick. According to Katie Willcox, D.O., both the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have noticed a decline in vaccinations this year, primarily due to fears of COVID-19. “It’s understandable. Parents don’t want to bring their children into a doctor’s office or clinic. But it’s critical that we stick to the recommended immunization schedule,” she said. Dr. Willcox explained that the schedules are set so the immunizations are received when they are most effective. “It’s really important not to delay.”

Newborn babies get the Hepatitis B vaccine at birth. Then, beginning at two months old, they start getting routine vaccines including: Hib (Hemophilus influenza), Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR); chicken pox, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, among others. “Some parents worry that we give their babies too many vaccines at once,” said Dr. Willcox. “But there is no data to support any issues related to giving multiple vaccines at one time, and in fact it has been shown to improve immunity when certain vaccines are administered together.

Most children receive their vaccines in the first year of life and continue through preschool at the age of four or five. At that point, they’re all set until they reach the age of 11 or 12. “We’ve started recommending Gardasil to prevent the Human Papillomavirus and the meningococcal vaccine for meningitis, with a booster again at age 16,” she said. “Our nurses here at the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic do a good job of keeping up with our patients’ immunizations. As children get older, they often get the vaccines during sports physicals when they’re needed.” Dr. Willcox emphasized the importance of 100% participation in a community when it comes to vaccinating children. “We have a way to prevent these communicable diseases that are transmitted from person to person. If we don’t have enough people participating, it doesn’t work. Vaccines protect our children.”

For more information, contact your medical professional, or schedule an appointment at the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic: 641-464-4470.

Recommended Early Childhood Immunizations

Some vaccines may be given as part of a combination vaccine so that a child gets fewer shots. Talk with your medical provider at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic about which vaccines your children should receive.

Birth
Hepatitis B vaccine

2 months
HepB, DTaP (Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis), Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b), IPV (Inactivated poliovirus), PCV (Pneumococcal conjugate), RV (Rotavirus)

4 months
DTaP, Hib, IPV, PCV, RV

6 months
DTaP, IPV, HepB, PCV, RV

6 months and annually
Influenza (Flu): The flu vaccine is recommended every year for children 6 months and older (two doses needed first year only)

12 months
HepA, Hib, MMR (Measles, mumps, and rubella), PCV, Varicella (chickenpox)

18 months
DTaP, HepA

4–6 years
DTaP, MMR, IPV, Varicella

Coaches Corner: Protecting Your Children

VaccinationYou want to do what is best for your children. You know about the importance of car seats, baby gates, and other ways to keep them safe. But, did you know that one of the best ways to protect your children is to make sure they have all of their vaccinations? Because of advances in medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before.

Vaccination is safe and effective. All vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent.

Immunization also protects future generations. Vaccines have reduced, and in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations before. For example, your children don’t have to get smallpox shots anymore because the disease no longer exists!

For information about vaccinating your children, see your family practice practitioner at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic 641-464-4470.