Preventive care is the preventive medicine and public health practice of avoiding, preventing, or reducing the incidence of diseases in populations. It aims to maintain health and well-being by detecting and treating disease before it becomes severe. The importance of preventive care in child development is often overlooked. The preventive care that your child receives can help to ensure that they are developing properly, experience fewer health problems, and learn healthy habits.
What Are the Elements of Preventive Care for Children?
The primary goal of preventive care is to prevent disease or detect it early so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. All children should receive preventive care to increase the likelihood that they will grow and develop normally, experience fewer illnesses or injuries, and have a greater opportunity to lead productive lives as adults.
In children, preventive care has three main elements:
One of the main elements of preventive care is regular checkups at a clinic or hospital to assess your child's general health and detect any signs of diseases early on. A preventive care checkup can be done by your primary care physician, pediatrician, family doctor, or internist.
During preventive care checkups for children, the health care provider may measure weight and height to see how much the child has grown since the last visit, test blood pressure, take pulse rate, listen to heartbeat and breathing, check vision and hearing, and examine neck, torso, arms, legs, and feet for any abnormal growths or lumps. Also, they may feel the neck glands for any enlarged lymph nodes, which might be a sign of a problem from within.
A preventive care visit can also include checking your child's immunization record to ensure that they have received the right number of preventive vaccinations, determining if they need preventive medicine (such as fluoride), or preventive procedures (such as ear tube insertion for middle-ear infections), and looking for dental problems.
Immunizations (shots) protect children from getting serious illnesses caused by germs, viruses, or bacteria. Immunizations have been shown to be very safe and effective in preventing diseases. The preventive vaccines routinely recommended for children are a flu vaccine, a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, a polio vaccine, a hepatitis B vaccine, and an MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine.
3. Screening Tests
Another preventive service is screening tests for abnormalities. Screening tests are medical tests that can be done to find diseases or health problems in people who have no symptoms. For instance, children are often screened for vitamin D deficiency because it helps make bones and teeth stronger and increases the body's absorption of calcium and phosphorus.
Preventive care is preventive medicine, preventive screening, and preventive procedures that are used to help children stay healthy. Regular preventive care is a much better approach to your child's health care than visiting a doctor only when you notice a sign of illness or disease.