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Health fair educates and protects
Health fair 2
Richmond Hill Pharmacy pharmacist Laura Briscoe applies a bandage to a customer who received a vaccination. - photo by Photo by Emily C. Harris

Who should get flu vaccine?

Everyone who is at least 6 months old should get a flu vaccine this season. It’s especially important for these people to get vaccinated:

• People who are at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia if they get the flu.
• People who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
• Pregnant women.
• People 65 years and older
• People who live with or care for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications.
• Household contacts and caregivers of people with certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.


Area residents kept Richmond Hill Pharmacy staff busy Oct. 26 during its annual health fair.  
Patrons had the opportunity to receive their annual flu shot and other free services such as glucose screenings, blood-pressure tests and consultations with a pharmacist about the results.
In its ninth year, the event stressed the importance of receiving a flu shot and getting blood pressure and glucose screenings as early detection measures, said pharmacist Laura Briscoe of Richmond Hill Pharmacy.
“October is the prime time to receive the flu vaccine, which is why we typically hold our health fairs around this time each year,” she said.  
Briscoe added that the fair’s first day, Oct. 12, was successful, as fair workers held a considerable amount of vaccinations and other tests. Several customers initially only came in for vaccinations, but opted to receive the additional screenings. Others took part in the screenings while they waited for their prescriptions, she said.
“It’s not every day that we offer the in-store glucose screenings. These are only available during our health fair. The screenings are important in the early detection of Type 2 diabetes,” she said.  
Glucose testing is considered quick and relatively painless. Blood is retrieved from a pin-prick in a finger and put on a testing strip. The test typically yields results in seconds after insertion of the strip into the reader.
Briscoe provided consultations on the test’s findings.
If blood sugar is elevated, she suggests scheduling an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible.
“Just one glucose test is not enough to diagnose, so it is important that they follow-up with their doctor for further tests,” said Briscoe, who recommends three to four glucose tests a year to stay ahead of diabetes. “Most people don’t know something is out of whack until it is too late. Early detection is key.”
Briscoe had assistance from Renata Boatwright, a pharmacy student from the University of Georgia who volunteered her time to work the event. The duo was busy throughout the day as available seats often all were taken and lines formed at peak times. Briscoe remarked that the turnout was much better on the second day than on the first.
Vaccinations for shingles and pneumonia also were available for those with prescriptions. These vaccinations are important for those older than 65.  Briscoe said vaccinations are available at all Coastal Pharmacy locations for those who missed the health-fair events. She added that most major insurance plans, including Medicare Part B, cover the shots at no cost to patrons, while other plans offer low-cost copays. For those without insurance, the cost is $25 for a flu shot and $35 for shingles or pneumonia vaccines.  
Briscoe added that free blood-pressure monitoring is available year-round at stores through their electronic cuff stations.
“Regular blood-pressure monitoring is key in detecting hypertension,” she said.
Other Coastal Pharmacy Inc. locations include Hinesville Pharmacy on E.G. Miles Parkway and Medical Center Pharmacy at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah. 

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