Weeks lefts for back-to-school check ups

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Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013 12:00 am

With less than a month left before students of Gretna Public Schools begin the 2013-14 school year, now is the time to prepare children of all ages for school.

To give parents and family some direction, Gretna’s Alegent Health Clinic northwest of the Highway 370 and Highway 6 intersection is getting a new pediatrician, Dr. Katie Vollmuth, on Aug. 1.

“I see kids from birth to about college age,” Vollmuth said.

Vollmuth received her doctorate of medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and completed her residency at the UNMC/Creighton University Medical Center Children’s Hospital Joint Residency Training Program.

While growing up in Omaha, she said she saw a need in Gretna as it lacked a pediatrician. Additionally, she said its location and community feel attracted her to the clinic.

“It’s a small-town feel, and I really like that,” she said.

For families with elementary school students, Vollmuth said she recommends annual check ups in addition to required physicals, such as kindergarten years, where children must receive certain vaccines.

“When they go to kindergarten, they need their tetanus shot,” she said.

These shots also contain the pertussis, or whooping cough, vaccine.

“That’s important as there has been a big outbreak of pertussis,” Vollmuth added.

The tetanus shot is again required for students going into seventh grade, she said, where students will also receive a meningitis booster.

It is also recommended seventh grade students get the HPV vaccine Gardasil, which Vollmuth said is a series of three shots.

In students’ high school years, Vollmuth again recommended teenagers receive the meningitis booster as they approach college or military service years. Meningitis is a bacterial infection that causes the inflammation of membranes protecting the brain and spinal chord and can be life threatening. The bacteria can be found in military barracks or college dorms where there is a high population of new and unfamiliar people.

Beyond these required and recommended shots, Vollmuth said annual check ups are recommended to track the child’s growth as well as to teach a healthy lifestyle as well as check on other health issues, from physical needs like diet and exercise to mental health issues such as bullying and peer pressure.

“Those are the issues we address as they get older in between those required visits,” she said.

Vollmuth said that while not required, these annual visits are important, especially in keeping with the mental health as students become teenagers.

“We tend to see children less as they get older,” she said.

Vollmuth said she will likely begin seeing patients on Aug. 5, and is excited to meet and serve the Gretna community.

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Dr. Katie Vollmuth of Alegent Creighton Clinic in Gretna wrote this blog for momaha.com. Vollmuth is an Omaha native who enjoys reading, photography, baking, home improvement projects an spending time with her children.

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