25 February, 2018
Wellness screenings are essential for all children and can help healthcare providers identify potential health risks in a timely manner. Children should not only get a routine wellness screening but also have additional screenings as there are health conditions that can go undetected with standard wellness exams. Many fatalities in children can arise without warning and valuable time is wasted scrambling for a diagnosis. With proper health screenings, the hope is that these fatalities can decrease.
For example, let's take the occurrence of Pediatric Sudden Cardiac Arrest in children, which is rare, but may cause sudden death if not treated within minutes. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), "Each year, approximately 7,000 children age 18 or younger experience cardiac arrest outside a hospital with survival rates of less than 10 percent." Sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of death in young athletes. Since PSCA goes undetected, parents of athletes are met without warning when their child collapses on the playing field.
The big question is "How could this have been prevented?" With the help of a simple health screening, conditions like PSCA can be detected and treated, potentially saving thousands of lives.
Voluntary groups such as the Play for Jake (PFJ) foundation is one such example. PFJ has taken up the cause of conducting health screenings for middle and high school students. They have been successful in conducting routine screenings and identifying school students with heart conditions that were not diagnosed till then.
Schools can take the help of such groups or independent health service platforms to roll out a per child 30 seconds electrocardiogram screening that is painless, well documented and conducted in the school premises itself.
Wellness Screenings play a vital role in helping to identify abnormal risks in children. For example, newborn screenings help to identify a plethora of conditions such as:
For children in the school setting, specific wellness screenings need to be conducted. Vitals, behaviors, and conditions that predict sudden or gradual risks are critical records to help determine those at higher risk. Parents, school authorities, and healthcare providers need to ensure a system is in place that promotes these screenings at the right time among the pediatric population. Behaviors, family history, conditions in the family that lead to obesity, diabetes, and mental health problems may also be identified earlier on, and a true culture of health and wellbeing may be easily initiated in the growing years.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advocates that "Healthy students are better learners" and schools are the right place for a healthy start. Schools play a critical role in promoting the health and safety of young people and helping them establish lifelong healthy behaviors."
Wellness screenings will ensure the healthy long life of a child. It is increasingly encouraging to see institutions like schools and universities being involved in healthy pursuits. These institutions have the capability of making lasting impressions in the mind of young adults. Making such screenings available to students goes a long way in building a culture of health and wellbeing at an early age.
Early intervention for health and wellbeing goes a long way in adulthood, drastically cutting healthcare costs for chronic disease management. This takes a huge burden off for healthcare policymakers, employer insurance costs and of course - family budgets.