Children in Jack County and other communities in our area will be heading back to school soon. The occasion marks the perfect opportunity for you and your loved ones to schedule your annual wellness exams.

July and August are commonly a popular time for back-to-school physicals and wellness exams, since many school programs require that students undergo health physicals to ensure that they are healthy enough to participate in various activities.

“No matter your age or medical condition, everyone should have a wellness exam every year to make sure there are no underlying health issues,” says Jessica Coker, FNP-C, Family Nurse Practitioner at FCHS. “Wellness exams are a way to ensure that your children are developing properly, especially teenagers, and can also be a way to detect underlying health conditions. For adults, wellness exams are an important preventive measure to monitor the state of their health and watch for any conditions that could develop into serious cancers or diseases.”

During a wellness exam, a medical provider will typically review the patient’s medical and family history; check height, weight and blood pressure; look for any cognitive impairment; and check for any physical complications. Some individuals may be asked to undergo additional screening.

Wellness exams also present a fantastic opportunity to discuss vaccinations to ensure that children are up to date on many important immunizations.

Coker says that elementary and secondary school students are not the only ones who should schedule wellness exams. Teenagers preparing to enter college should also see a physician.

Like local school districts, some colleges and universities have vaccination requirements to prevent the spread of many common viruses and diseases. Discussing your vaccination history during a wellness exam is important.

Children in kindergarten through college should talk with a medical provider each year to ensure that

they are up to date on immunizations, including diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis b, varicella (chickenpox), meningococcal (bacterial meningitis) and hepatitis a.

Wellness exams are generally covered by Medicaid, Medicare and most private insurance. Though copays are sometimes required, most insurance plans cover physicals at no cost to patients.

For more information about wellness exams and to schedule an appointment, please call the clinic at 940-567-5528.