Take a day to be well for Health Fair

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Not Christmas, but the time when Homer residents can access free and discounted health information and screening at the annual Rotary Health Fair.

Sponsored by the Homer Kachemak Bay Rotary Club in cooperation with South Peninsula Hospital, the fair is now in its 34th year and will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday at Homer High School. This year’s theme is “It’s Your Life … Take a Day to be Well,” according to a release from the hospital.

“The purpose of the fair is to set aside just one day of your life to take advantage of free and inexpensive health screenings and up-to-date information on relevant health topics,” the release states.

This year’s fair boasts more than 70 booths offering educational information and medical screenings including free flu shots and tests for vision, blood pressure, hearing and diabetes. There will also be comprehensive blood tests for $40. Appointments for these tests are encouraged, according to the release, and residents can make them by calling 399-3158 or visiting the hospital website at sphosp.org. Credit cards will not be accepted at the fair, according to the release, so visitors should bring cash or a check.

Of the 70 or so exhibitors, Hospital Spokesperson Derotha Ferraro said more than a dozen of them are new this year.

“The health fair really tries to address current health needs and offerings in the community,” she said. “And so with that in mind, there is a lot of … added focus this year on addiction and particularly in regards to the opioid crisis.”

Addiction Medicine Specialist Dr. Sarah Spencer will present “Science of Addiction” at 9 a.m. Saturday and follow that up with training for how to respond to an incidence of opioid overdose at 11 a.m. Participants can learn both how to recognize and overdose and how to respond to it, and can get a free Narcan response kit while they’re at it.

The Homer Police Department will also have its own booth for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, where people can bring and safely dispose of their expired or unneeded prescription medications.

Health-conscious fair-goers can also get a basic wellness test while at the fair, and can purchase additional tests including prostate, thyroid, cardiac, vitamin D and hemoglobin A1C tests.

For those not looking to spend to much money at the fair, there are several free educational presentations to attend as well.

Ferraro said that if people are on the fence about coming out to the fair, if nothing else they should come for the socialization and the opportunity to connect with services.

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” she said. “And the health fair is for people of all ages, and it’s not for sick people. It’s for prevention, it’s to stay well. It’s to learn about some of the hidden nuggets of resources in the community that might not show up in the phone book or might not show up on a Google search.”

The fair’s main organizer for the past 10 years, Sharon Minsch, will serve in that capacity for the last time this year before stepping down, Ferraro said.

The event will also include giveaways and door prizes. For more information, call the health fair hotline at 399-3158 or visit the hospital website.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@homernews.com.