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Health fair offers a wealth of aid

March 10, 2003|by BONNIE HELLUM BRECHBILL

Visitors to the Waynesboro Health Fair could be screened for glaucoma, diabetes, and high cholesterol, receive information on childbirth and breast-feeding, and pick up information on food and nutrition, nursing homes, human services and many diseases.

They could even experience what is feels like to be under the influence of alcohol.

Officer Stuart Hannah of the Waynesboro Police Department put Fatal Vision goggles on participants to simulate a blood alcohol count of .07 to .10, the legal limit in Pennsylvania.

"The goggles show people how a little bit of alcohol can impair their vision and their judgment," Hannah said.

While wearing the goggles, participants had to walk a white line, the standard field sobriety test given to motorists.

Ryan Roberts, 7, of Waynesboro walked unsteadily beside the white line while wearing the goggles.

"It was weird," said Ryan, who attended the fair with his mother, Chris Roberts.

Dozens of area health-related agencies manned 64 booths in the Waynesboro Area Senior High School gymnasium Saturday.

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Sponsored by the Guyton Fund, the Health Fair is in its 20th year.

"Dr. William Guyton, a surgeon in Waynesboro, thought this was worthwhile, and he sponsors it every year," said Sheran A. White, director of public relations for Waynesboro Hospital.

White added that about 2,000 people attend the event each year.

"It's truly a community event," she said. "People come year to year."

Doug Fisher, a physical therapy assistant in the Physical Medicine Department of Waynesboro Hospital, was there to "make people aware of the services we offer, and give them information about conditions such as arthritis. We offer speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy to all ages."

In keeping with current events, the Red Cross table dispensed information on disaster plans, anthrax and helping children cope with disaster.

Waynesboro Hospital Surgical Services displayed a pacemaker, a chest catheter for the administration of chemotherapy or antibiotics, an eye implant used in cataract surgery and the hardware used in knee and hip replacements.

In a new display, Dr. Greg Lyon-Loftus talked to visitors about vaccinations. Franklin County is reasonably well-covered, in that by age 6, almost 98 percent of local children have been completely immunized or have declared a religious exemption, he said.

"There are some communities (locally) that do that, and unfortunately, there have been more cases of meningitis in that community than anywhere in the U.S.," he said.

Only 70 to 80 percent of local children have completed the necessary series of vaccines by age 2, Lyon-Loftus said.

"Immunization is the most cost-effective medical care that we know of," he said. "Nothing is more efficient at preventing disease."

On the opposite side of the gym, another doctor, Lawrence Rogina of Potomac Ob/Gyn in Waynesboro, handed out information about Save Sex: It's Worth the Wait, a nationally-known program which "explains the consequences of early sex in detail," Rogina said.

He has seen HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, Human Papillomavirus, cervical pre-cancers and cancers in teenagers.

"We believe cervical cancer is sexually transmitted - delaying the sex act can prevent cervical cancer," he said.

Rogina emphasized that the program is called "Save Sex," not "Safe Sex."

"Safe sex doesn't exist except between monogamous partners who have never had sex with anyone else," he said. Condoms, often recommended as a way to have safe sex, "are extremely inefficient at preventing the transmission of sexually transmitted viral diseases," he said.

Carol Ann M. Baran, a registered nurse at the Rhonda Brake Shreiner Women's Center in Chambersburg, showed visitors test tubes containing varying amounts of fat, salt and sugar. One large, full tube of sugar represented the amount in a can of soda; a full tube of fat was the amount found in a serving of pepperoni pizza. Displayed beside them was a model of a clogged coronary artery.

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