Health fair answers questions

Skin cancer screenings, blood tests offered

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— Your husband is prescribed antibiotics in January, but starts to feel better before all the pills are gone.

Two months later, you get sick.

True or false: It's OK for you to save the money and just take your husband's leftover antibiotics.

At this morning's 9Health Fair, anyone with medication questions can participate in the new Ask a Pharmacist program.

By the way, it's not a good idea to take someone else's medication, 9Health Site Coordinator Lisa Bankard said.

"You also shouldn't take expired medications or stop taking medications without consulting you physician just because you start to feel better," she added. "And, more and more in Steamboat, people are going to specialists and are not always savvy to tell their doctor of the two or three other medications they are on. Mixing medications can cause allergic reactions that can be really scary."

The 9Heath Fair is an annual event held at the Steamboat Springs Middle School to provide free screenings and low-cost blood tests in one location.

"We take over the middle school cafeteria, gymnasium and a couple classrooms," Bankard said.

Blood tests for cholesterol, thyroid and liver problems will be offered for $30. Prostate cancer blood tests will be offered for $25 and take-home colorectal cancer kits will be offered for $5.

The health fair is organized by the Colorado nonprofit group, 9Health. It raises sponsorship money to hold fairs around the state.

"It's really amazing what they do," Bankard said. "They provide flyers, lab supplies, forms and basically set up the whole system. All we have to do is provide the 100 local volunteers."

The Yampa Valley Medical Center Hospital Auxiliary provides 60 to 70 volunteers for the fair.

The rest of the volunteers are hospital staff, members of Steamboat Springs Fire and Rescue and Colorado Mountain College emergency medical technician students.

Beyond blood tests, the 9Health Fair offers free skin cancer screenings, lung function tests, foot screenings by a podiatrist, dental screenings and alignment tests by physical therapists.

Because Steamboat residents spend a lot of time outdoors, skin cancer screening is one of the most popular booths at the fair, Bankard said. "Usually the line goes out of the gym. At altitude, we need to be aware of the affect of the sun all year round."

The health fair lasts from 8 to 11 a.m. and in that time more than 800 people walk through the doors.

"Usually, we will open the fair and 300 or 400 people will already be at the door," Bankard said. To avoid long waits, Bankard suggests coming a little later in the morning.

"But no matter when you come, there will be lines," she said.

After screenings and blood tests, visitors will also be able to collect information at several tables dedicated to diabetes, stress and depression, alcohol and tobacco, women's health and pain management.

Visitors must be at least 18 years old to participate and those coming in for blood tests should fast for 12 hours beforehand. People with diabetes should not fast.

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