Westminster community fair to provide head-to-toe testing Hospital lab offers 'executive profile' CARROLL COUNTY HEALTH

September 29, 1992|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

The fourth annual Westminster community health fair, scheduled Saturday, Oct. 17, at Cranberry Mall, will provide head-to-toe tests for disorders ranging from glaucoma to foot problems.

Carroll County General Hospital's laboratory will offer an "executive profile" blood screening including three tests that can affect individuals' lives: cholesterol levels, which can indicate potential heart problems; fecal blood tests that provide early indications of colon cancer; and, for men over 50, tests for an antigen that occurs in higher-than-normal levels where prostate cancer is present.

Children will be able to learn what germs look like and why washing their hands is important. Prospective mothers can see a demonstration of exercises for pregnant women. Women of all ** ages can "ask a doctor," a panel of obstetricians and gynecologists who will answer questions on breast cancer, infertility, childbirth and menopause.

The fair will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. More than 50 physicians and organizations have signed up to participate. Most services are free, although a $25 fee will be charged for the blood screening, $40 less than the hospital lab's usual fee. The approximately $35 cost of the prostate cancer test is being underwritten by a pharmaceutical company.

Health fair visitors who want the blood screening are required to fast from midnight until the test. Laboratory director Gilliam B. Conley plans to have three phlebotomists on duty and estimates that each can take about 15 blood samples an hour. Blood screening is to close at 11 a.m., but individuals in line at that time will be tested, said Fran Miller, CCGH community health education coordinator.

The blood screening will provide about 40 test results, but the cholesterol, colon and prostate cancer are the most important, Mr. Conley said.

He stressed that people who receive results indicating possible problems should see their physicians. "We're very dependent on people to follow up," he said. "If they don't follow up, we might as well never have done the test. But I don't want them to get the idea [that a positive result means] 'Oh, my God, I've got cancer.' "

Eating red meat, for example, can produce blood in the stool that would give a false positive result on the colon cancer test, Mr. Conley said.

Those who take the colon cancer test will be given a take-home packet to mail back to the hospital with smears from three bowel movements. Participants are asked to return the packets within a week to allow the lab staff to complete the blood screening and return results to the individuals in three weeks.

At the booth of the Maryland chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, visitors will be able to test whether their lung function is normal by blowing a quick burst of breath into a tube called a peak flow meter.

Parents will also be able to obtain "student asthma action cards" for their asthmatic children. The cards have space for the child's medications, how to control the school environment and what to do in emergencies.

"We think that's a pretty important piece of information for people to have," said Maria Hammontree, public education director for the foundation. The foundation advises giving the cards to the child's care-giver, teacher and school nurse.

The fair will include face painting, clowns to entertain children, and karate and exercise demonstrations.

The Office on Aging, Rape Crisis Center, American Red Cross, American Diabetes Society, YMCA, Meals On Wheels and University of Maryland Extension Service will provide information and materials about their services.

Additional information about the health fair can be obtained by calling 857-6935.

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