By Heidi Zemach
The annual Alaska Health Fair took place at AVTEC in Seward on Saturday. Health professionals from throughout Alaska, many of them there as unpaid volunteers, helped educate residents about various aspects of their health. A variety of tests were offered including blood pressure screening, glaucoma testing, hearing testing, weight, height, and bodyfat analysis. There also were educational booths on mental health services, Autism resources, dental services, fatty foods, colon health, and on citizens taking action to clean up the environment. Blood screenings were offered at reduced rates, including screenings for thyroid, prostate, diabetes, and blood typing.
Unfortunately, attendance was considerably lower than in previous years, and there were practically no lines. That was good news for those who attended, but not for those who didn’t get to take advantage of the services provided.
Senate District N Incumbent candidate Cathy Giessel, a nurse, performed some of the blood draws and took people’s blood pressure, as her husband welcomed folks to the event. He had some hefty reading-material on hand for the slow times, including a five-volume compilation of supply-side economist Adam Smiths’ ideas, and another nonfiction book on Europe during WW II.
One Anchorage volunteer discovered that one of her tires was flat, and she did not have a reliable spare. She learned the hard way that no car repair places are open on the weekend in Seward, and that unfortunately, the town’s towing service also was busy. We sincerely hope she found a way to get herself home safely.
I learned from a wonderful Anchorage Phlebotomist named Skye that one should no longer open and close ones’ fist to help get a vein to appear, as it taints the results. She had me hold my hand under hot water in the rest room for several minutes, cover with a hot towel, and then run back to her as quickly as possible. It worked! She only had to stick me once. I also learned that regardless of my ongoing efforts to exercise often and eat well, I still gained a pound or more since last year’s health fair. Boo.
Alaska Health Fair, Inc. is a nonprofit agency founded in 1980 to meet the need for improved health screenings and health promotion. They coordinate over 100 health fairs in schools, worksites, senior centers, villages and urban communities throughout Alaska each year. The health screenings and education provided enables participants to take responsibility for their own health and well -being. Thousands of volunteers support the health fairs.