Well Visits/Checkups/Health Maintenance Exams/ Annual Wellness Visits (AWV)/Physicals/Well Child Visits
What Are These?
As Primary Care Physicians, we have always stressed the importance of regular visits with your physician to keep you healthy. These visits go by a variety of names, depending on your age and depending on with whom you speak. These well visits may be called a Well Child Visit, a Physical, a Checkup, a Health Maintenance Exam, or if you are of Medicare age (over 65)- An Annual Wellness Visit. As of January 1, 2014, because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare,” every patient is entitled to at least one yearly well visit with his or her primary care physician. Women can have one well visit with their primary physician and a separate exam with a gynecologist for a PAP smear if they see separate providers for these. Infants and children less than 3 years of age need more frequent visits. These visits DO NOT REQUIRE A COPAY and DO NOT COUNT TOWARD YOUR INSURANCE DEDUCTIBLE.
Why do we recommend these visits?
We recommend Well Child Visits according to that recommended by the Bright Futures Guidelines developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
For young infants and children, these well visits provide a time for parents to discuss their child’s feeding habits, growth, and developmental skills. These visits provide a time for the physician to show you your child’s growth on a growth chart, counsel you as to whether your child’s development is “on track,” and discuss the recommended immunizations needed to keep your child healthy. Infants are seen at birth, 2 weeks of age, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 2 years and 2.5 years.
As your child becomes older, visits with your physician may help to sort through school and peer related issues. Vision Screens, Hearing Screens, and Developmental Screens are recommended at certain ages. Children 3-12 years of age should be seen once every year for a well visit.
For adolescents, these annual visits provide a time for the teenager to learn how to express their concerns to their doctor; this will help them to develop the skills needed to successfully navigate a visit with a physician as a young adult. Medical and psychosocial concerns can be discussed with the adolescent patients at the time of these visits. Teenagers should be seen once every year for a well visit.
Illinois State Law requires a specific healthcare form to be completed by a physician before entrance into licensed daycare, preschool, kindergarten, 6th grade, 9th grade or when changing to a new school. In addition, any teen that plays high school sports in Illinois needs the IESA sports form completed yearly. We have both forms in our office.
Over time, these visits provide the opportunity for parents, children, and teens to develop a trusting, longitudinal relationship in order to provide high quality medical care on an ongoing basis.
Most women, ages 21-64 years, should have an annual well woman check, even if a PAP smear isn’t done every year.
Healthy Adults, ages 21-64 years, should have a well visit/checkup which would include evaluation of weight, Blood Pressure, and Cholesterol testing at least every 2-3 years.
If you are an adult with ongoing medical problems, please discuss your visit schedule with your physician.
Adults who have Medicare need to have an Annual Wellness Visit. The Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) exam is a once per year Medicare visit that is dedicated to wellness and prevention. It allows the physician and the patient time to discuss issues that we often do not have time to explore during the regular office visit. These issues include topics such fall prevention, hearing and vision screening, depression screening, family and social history, a review of other treating physician’s notes and care plans, and a discussion about Healthcare Power of Attorney (also called Advanced Directives.) All of these issues take time to evaluate and are an important part of keeping you well. Often, there may not be a physical exam done at this visit. If you need to address other medical problems at the time of the AWV, the physician may make time to discuss these as well.
What is Influenza and Why You Should Get Vaccinated?
Influenza ("flu") is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every winter, usually between October and May.
Flu is caused by the influenza virus, and can be spread by coughing, sneezing, and close contact.
Anyone can get flu, but the risk of getting flu is highest among children. Symptoms come on suddenly and may last several days. They can include:
- sore throat
- muscle aches
- runny or stuffy nose
Flu can make some people much sicker than others. These people include young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions - such as heart, lung or kidney disease, or a weakened immune system. Flu vaccine is especially important for these people, and anyone in close contact with them.
Flu can also lead to pneumonia, and make existing medical conditions worse. Influenza can cause diarrhea and seizures in children.
Each year thousands of people in the United States die from flu, and many more are hospitalized.
Flu vaccine is the best protection we have from flu and its complications. Flu vaccine also helps prevent spreading flu from person to person.
Types of Influenza Vaccines:
There are two types of influenza vaccine.
1. Inactivated flu vaccine, which does not contain any live influenza virus, is given by injection with a needle and is known as the "flu shot." Getting the flu from the "flu shot" is not possible as the vaccine doesn't contain live virus particles.The injectable influenza vaccines that we have at Primary Care Associates are all thimerosol free.
- We stock the new QIV (quadrivalent) influenza vaccine in formuations for patients older than 6 months of age.
- We stock Intradermal Influenza vaccine. The intradermal flu vaccine uses a very fine needle that is 90% smaller than the needles used for regular flu shots. This may be helpful for people who don’t like needles.
- We stock High Dose Influenza Vaccine for our patients over 65 years of age.
2. A different, live, attenuated (weakened) influenza vaccine is sprayed into the nostrils. This vaccine is called Flumist. Patients who are eligible for Flumist include HEALTHY children and adults between 2-49 years of age. Pregnant women and patients with asthma, diabetes, immunosuppression due to medications or malignancies, or egg allergies are not candidates to receive Flumist.
Who Should Not Receive Influenza Vaccine at Primary Care Associates:
- Patients with who have had any life threatening allergic reaction to influenza vaccine.
- Some patients with anaphylactic reactions to eggs (as the type of vaccine that we stock containes a small amount of egg.)
- Some patients with a prior history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (a severe paralyzing illness) should not receive this vaccine.
Please contact your physician by portal or phone with additional questions that you may have about vaccination against influenza. The Physicians at Primary Care Associates recommend influenza vaccine for you and your family.
Welcome to Our Blog!
Primary Care Associates would like to welcome you to our blog. Here you will find informative and useful postings about adult and child health care and our practice.
At Primary Care Associates we believe that educated patients are better prepared to make decisions regarding their health and their child’s health and wellbeing. Our blog was designed to provide you with valuable health care information, the latest medical developments and medicalhealth care advice from our dedicated team.
Primary Care Associates hopes you find our blog to be a great resource for keeping up to date with current healthcare issues and treatments.
We welcome all comments and questions.
-- Primary Care Associates
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