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Due for a Check-up?

Hospital news | Thursday, March 3, 2016

Contact: Thomas Hottman

Jim Harris, director of the Sky Lakes Cardio-pulmonary department, demonstrates a spirometry machine that measure lung capacity, one of the free screenings that will be Saturday's fair.

The 18th annual Living Well Community Health Fair this weekend is a one-stop shop to get a quick check-up of your health. And it's all free.

All it takes is a few hours of your time to run the gauntlet of health care screenings; everything from cholesterol counts to blood pressure to lung function screenings. Doors are open from 8 .m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, at the Klamath County Fairgrounds.

"It's been growing every year and this year we expect about 2,300 people to sample the free screenings and pick up good information at one of the numerous booths," said Sky Lakes Medical Center spokesman Tom Hottman.

Take a deep breath ...

Of particular interest will be the Cardio Pulmonary testing, or lung function screening. If you plan to participate in the screening, be prepared to do some heavy breathing.

Sky Lakes technicians will be on hand to measure your lung capacity, but it's up to you to provide the breath, both inhaling and exhaling. And it requires some push on your part.

Using what is known as a spirometry device, technicians will be able to measure how much air one takes in and how much one exhales and see if there may be any decreased lung capacity due to smoking or other health issues.

Jim Harris, director of the Cardio Pulmonary Center at Sky Lakes, said his technicians will take average weight, height and age and match that with what should be the norm for a person's lung capacity.

"We get kind of loud at the booth because we're coaching people to really push out their breath and inhale as long as possible. So you'll hear us shouting 'breathe, breathe, breathe'" a lot. Participants will walk away with a small chart on their lung capacity, something they can share with their medical doctor as part of their overall health.

Smoking cessation classes

The hospital has been a long-time proponent of smoking cessation and is offering a host of classes all year long on it; a first this year.

"In the early years of the health fair, if we talked to a smoker, we really didn't have a lot of resources where we could help them out," Harris said. It was a struggle to find a way to convince smokers to take action.

"Now we're seeing people genuinely interested in quitting. We have flyers and counselors that people can talk to about ways to quit. And we have the classes," he said. (Classes cost about $25 for materials, but the hospital can waive that fee for those who cannot afford it).

"Of course, it's all about the prevention," Harris said, "getting people to not start smoking or finding a way to help them quit."