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Keeping Families Healthy - with Dr. Deeanne Engle

As a family practice physician, Memorial Hospital of Converse County's Dr. Deeanne Engle sees a wide variety of patients. As her practice has grown, so has her work with children. As a mother herself, Dr. Engle understands the importance of finding a physician for your child's wellness check-ups, but also for those day-to-day parenting dilemmas, illness concerns and development questions. Dr. Engle shares a little about her nine years of experience at Memorial Hospital of Converse County and her work in pediatric care.

What made you want to become a family practitioner, specifically working with children?

I love children's innocence, candidness and I try to make their experience in the doctor's office fun and relaxed so they aren't afraid to seek health care as they get older.

For new parents, what is the biggest piece of advice you offer?

Relax and have fun! Kids don't stay kids long and the long nights that occur when they are babies are really small nuggets in the course of their life. Take things in stride!

What are some of the most important things parents can do to ensure their child's health and well-being?

Make sure that they are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, get outside and be active and see your doctor for regular check-ups.

How important are regular developmental checkups for children?

Developmental checkups are very important for all children. For a lot of developmental issues, the earlier they are caught and addressed, the better the outcome will be in the end.

What is important to you in building a relationship with your younger patients and their parents?

Any time that a child comes into my office, I want the experience to be positive, relaxed and fun because we don't want an appointment to evoke emotions of fear or anxiety. I like to think of myself as a health care "partner" — here to help guide parents and their kids along the way to good health.

What are some of the big ailments children experience and what can parents do to prevent their children from getting them or prepare for when they do?

The things that I see most often are colds and coughs and stomach ailments. It is very important to wash hands for at least 10-15 seconds several times daily and for kids to cover their mouths when sneezing or coughing to avoid infecting other kids. Things like a healthy diet, a multivitamin daily and plenty of rest will help keep kids healthy.

As children move into pre-teen and teen years, what should their health care routine look like?

A pre-teen and teen should take part in healthy eating and lots of activity, as well as minimizing "screen time," such as television, computers, video games and phones to not more than two hours per day. And, I would recommend that they be allowed to play electronic devices only AFTER they have cleaned up their room, cleaned another room in the house, read for at least 20 minutes and all chores are done.

What do you enjoy most about working with your younger patients?

Their sense of humor and way of seeing the world. Not a day goes by that a child doesn't say something that is funny and makes their visit a little lighter. Joking around with them but still having serious conversations is a challenge but kids generally respond well to this.