It’s hard to think about flu season with temperatures hovering in the 80s as October comes to a close. It’s coming though. According to the Centers for Disease Control, as of Oct. 18, sporadic flu activity has been reported in several surrounding states — California, Colorado and Utah. It has also been reported in the District of Columbia, Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Texas, Washington and West Virginia.
The busy travel season of the holidays means chances are good some Rim Country residents will get the flu as a souvenir of their celebrations.
So, getting the flu vaccine when it becomes available is always a good idea. The protection you get from vaccination will last throughout the flu season.
Flu shots offered
The flu vaccine will be offered at the 10th annual Community Health and Care Fair Saturday for only $20. The health fair is from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Nov. 1 at the old gym at Payson High School.
In addition to the flu vaccine, presenters will also have pneumonia shots available for $40 and tetanus shots for $35.
The flu is caused by a virus and affects the nose, throat and lungs. It is transmitted through tiny aerosol droplets that fly through the air when an infected person talks, sneezes or coughs.
Touching surfaces, such as door handles, the telephone, remote controls, faucets, the refrigerator door handle, etc., which have been touched by someone with the flu, can also spread the illness.
The flu can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications in some people. Every year in the U.S., more than 200,000 people are hospitalized because of the flu.
It takes about two weeks after a vaccination for the body to develop sufficient antibodies to protect against the flu virus infection.
If you have questions regarding whether you should get a flu vaccine or other methods of fighting the flu, contact your physician.
In addition to flu vaccinations, pneumonia and tetanus shots, participants — both adults and children — can have a number of health screenings and tests done at the Nov. 1 Community Health and Care Fair, all for little or no cost.
It is requested that participants donate eyeglasses, hearing aids and/or nonperishable food items. Old cell phones will also be collected.
Heart and lung screenings will be provided for free at the health fair.
Dr. Khalid Naqi, cardiologist with Payson Healthcare Specialists, will provide the screening at the health fair.
Naqi is board-certified in interventional cardiology and cardiovascular diseases and nuclear cardiology. His practice in Payson opened Aug. 18 under Payson Healthcare Management, Inc.
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease includes two categories of risk factors: those that can improve a person’s chances and those that can’t.
Statistics show four out of five people who die of coronary heart disease are 65 years of age or older. Heredity also plays a major role in heart disease, and chances of developing heart disease increase if your parents were victims of the disease.
Other free screenings
Among the other free screenings to be offered are those for hearing, vision, blood pressure, dental health, spine health, dermatology, nutrition, oxygen saturation, lower extremity circulation and diabetes.
The Payson Lions Club and Dr. Christian Risser will be providing the vision screenings. The Lions will do the eye screenings and Risser, using the Lions’ Eye Mobile, will screen for glaucoma.
A dental screening can help determine if there is a problem with tooth decay, gum disease or cancer of the lips, tongue and other soft tissue of the mouth.
A blood pressure test will help indicate an elevated risk for a variety of health issues including heart attack, stroke, heart and kidney damage.
The low-cost screenings include: comprehensive blood panels, glucose and Complete Metabolic Panel with PSA for men. The cost for men is $15; for women the fee is $10. Bone density testing will be done for $20.
Lab tests are important instruments in evaluating the status of one’s health. While it is not always possible to diagnose or treat a disease or problem with a single blood test, even just a few tests can help detect potential diseases or health issues in the early stages.
The coordinators of the 10th Annual Community Health and Care Fair suggest two tests be performed on a regular basis: the glucose test to measure the sugar level in the body; and cholesterol levels, starting in your 20s and done about every five years.
The normal glucose range is 60 to 109. A high value, which is anything more than 126, is associated with diabetes.
Although an estimated 18 million Americans suffer from diabetes, only two-thirds have been diagnosed. Currently, physicians can easily detect diabetes through a simple blood test, and testing may soon be even simpler.
The symptoms of diabetes vary depending on age, weight and eating habits. Symptoms indicating diabetes may include excessive thirst, urination or hunger.
Diabetics may also suffer from blurred vision, tingling and cramping of the legs and feet, weakness or fatigue.
The two main types of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent) usually affects people who are over 45 and overweight.
Type 2 is the most prominent form of diabetes, accounting for 90-95 percent of diabetes patients. It is caused by long-term and consistent overeating, failure to make enough insulin or the inability to correctly use it. This results in a high level of glucose in the bloodstream.
Physicians recommend testing for diabetes before the age of 45 if any of the following conditions exist: being overweight, family history of diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, low HDL (the “good” cholesterol) or high triglycerides, impaired glucose tolerance on a previous blood sugar test.
If none of these conditions exist, one should start getting tested every three years, beginning at age 45.
If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of diabetes or have a family history of diabetes, ask your physician about being tested.
If a cholesterol test shows high levels, an individual is at risk of developing heart disease and/or having a heart attack. The test evaluates: low density lipoprotein (LDL), which is also known as “bad” cholesterol; high density lipoprotein (HDL), known as “good” cholesterol; triglycerides; and total cholesterol levels.
Learn about drug interactions
In addition to screenings and tests, participants may also bring in their medications to learn about drug interactions.
The theme of the 10th Annual Community Health and Care Fair is “Getting and staying healthy has never been so much fun ... Gear up for winter with healthy living information and screenings from Payson’s health and community service providers.
Among the providers at the health fair are: Big Brothers Big Sisters; Discovery Hospital; Habitat for Humanity; Kiwanis of Zane Grey Country; Payson Lions; Payson Senior Circle/Healthy Woman/Tiny Toes programs; Soroptimists; and many other medical and service providers.
The Gracie Lee Haught Children’s Memorial Fund is donating bike helmets and car seats for the event.
The 10th Community Health and Care Fair is presented by Mogollon Health Alliance, Payson Regional Medical Center, RTA Hospice & Palliative Care, Eastern Arizona Area Health Education, and ERA Community Fund. For information, call (928) 472-2588.