Up to 80% of Arizona’s children are not seeing their pediatrician right now, according to findings released by the Arizona chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AzAAP. As a result, AzAAP is launching its “Back to the Office” campaign to boost the number of children checking in with their local pediatrician, even if it is done virtually. The American Academy of Pediatrics launched its own “Call Your Pediatrician!” campaign earlier this week.
The outbreak of COVID-19 in Arizona has not only disrupted immunization schedules but also delayed children from receiving the care they need for ongoing health problems. Doctors are seeing flare-ups of asthma, diabetes, and other chronic conditions because of missed visits, says Dr. Sean Elliott, a Tucson pediatrician and member of the academy. Delayed or skipped newborn health checkups, which might include screenings for jaundice and failure to thrive, can pose life-or-death risks for an infant.
Elliott, an infectious-disease specialist, says pediatricians are also seeing an increase in the number of children and teens needing professional help for pandemic-related mental-health problems brought on by stress, fear, and social isolation.
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