Chatham Hosts Community Health Fair Saturday

By: Tim Wood

Topics: Health

Flu shot.

CHATHAM – Curious about whether your skin has been damaged by the sun? Want to know more about tick-borne diseases, nutrition, or Alzheimer's disease? Maybe you'd just like to get a flu shot.

If so, the board of health-sponsored Community Health Fair is the place for you. On Oct. 5 from 1 to 3 p.m., the community center will be turned into a one-stop shop for information, with participation from more than a half dozen human and health services agencies. Now in its seventh year, next month's event will have some new elements, said Health Agent Judith Giorgio.

After the council on aging changed the format of its annual fall health fair, some of the vendors who usually attend that event were invited to the community health fair, said Giorgio, including Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands, the Cape Cod Vet Center and the Massachusetts Senior Medicare Patrol.

Most of the health screenings at the Oct. 5 event will be conducted by the Visiting Nurse Association, which has participated in all of the past health fairs.

“It's just a way to get people together to get information on different health topics,” Giorgio said.

The timing of this year's event was also changed from the morning to the afternoon. Feedback from previous years indicated many families are involved in sports activities on Saturday mornings, according to Giorgio.

“Having it in the afternoon allows families to get there after their morning activities,” she said.

The VNA will be providing flu shots for folks of all ages, with no appointment necessary. The agency will also provide screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose, bone density and hearing and vision. In the past, those have been the most popular screenings provided at the health fair, Giorgio said.

This year there will also be sun damage skin screenings, and Larry Dapsis, Barnstable County entomologist and the deer tick project coordinator for the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, will provide information about tick protection. Tick-borne diseases are a growing problem on the Cape, and Dapsis has good tips to offer for fending off the parasite.

Elder Services of the Cape and Islands will provide information about its programs, as will representatives of the Cape Cod Vet Center and members of the Massachusetts Senior Medicare Patrol. The latter organization is a

statewide partnership between community-based organizations and mainstream agencies whose objective is to reach and educate Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, family members, caregivers, and professionals to prevent healthcare errors, fraud and abuse, according to its website.

KI pills, used to combat exposure to radioactivity, will be available, and Overeaters Anonymous will provide nutrition and weight loss information. Those who are looking for information on Alzheimer's disease will find resources, and the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod—another new addition to the health fair this year—will have information about opioid addition and the availability and use of Narcan, used to counteract overdoses. Giorgio said the group recently gave a presentation to area health agents that provided “a lot of great information on how to support people with opioid issues.”

Attendees will also find free reusable bags and reusable water bottles as well as popcorn, snacks and more.

Along with the Chatham Board of Health, sponsors of the community health fair include the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, the Medical Resource Corps, Cape Cod Healthcare and the Chatham Village Market.