Health fair will offer screenings, diet tips Immunizations also will be available

October 26, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

If you've been putting off going to the doctor, you could go to Cranberry Mall.

More than 50 area physicians and health care organizations will be there Saturday for the fifth annual Family Health Festival.

Between shopping trips, you can have a diabetes screening, get your child immunized and pick up some diet tips from a nutritionist.

The festival, open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., was organized by Carroll County General Hospital's health education coordinator, Fran Miller.

"I think it gives people an opportunity to check in on their health and have some fun," Ms. Miller said. "You get some people who won't take the time to see a doctor, but they'll go to a health fair."

Doctors, nurses and other health providers will do free vision and hearing testing and screenings for lung disease, oral and skin cancer, anemia and diabetes.

New additions to the health festival include flu shots given by the county Health Department for a $5 donation and scoliosis screenings by a private physician.

The yearly county health festival was first organized by the Carroll County Health Promotion Task Force. The group, which includes health care providers in the county, meets quarterly to assess the county's health needs, said Barbara Rodgers, director of health education with the county Health Department.

After having smaller health fairs in separate communities in the county, the task force decided to have one large fair, easily accessible to people.

"It's a good mechanism to help people know more about their own health," Ms. Rodgers said.

"Unfortunately, so many of us only decide to seek help when we feel bad."

Following the health festival, a subcommittee of the task force will review the tests and screenings to determine people who need follow-up care. Those people will be contacted.

"If a dental problem was discovered, we can try and tie the person into a program at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry," Ms. Rodgers said.

Home Call, a local home health agency and health festival participant for the past three years, will be doing anemia and diabetes testing at this year's fair.

Karen Feroli, the branch director of Home Call's Westminster office, said the festival is an effective health education tool.

"It's an excellent way for us to educate the community in a convenient way," she said.

"A lot of what they'll receive is free, and there's so much expertise in one place."

Ms. Rodgers recalls a man who came to one of the first health festivals and was being treated for back pain. A blood test taken at the festival showed that the man's problems were related to kidney failure.

"We called him right up and said, 'Look, this is the problem,' " Ms. Rodgers said.

Attendance at the health festival has increased steadily over the past five years, Ms. Miller said.

Last year 200 people attended the fair, half of them between ages 46 and 65, she said.

One of the most popular tests was the executive blood profile offered by Carroll County General Hospital. The blood chemistry analysis, which costs $25, measures liver and kidney function and cholesterol levels, assesses the risk of cardiac disease and diagnoses other serious conditions.

Those interested in taking the test must fast after midnight and skip breakfast before the test.

For information about advance registration for the executive blood profile, call 857-6935.

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