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042319 health fair cpr

Grace Simmons-Porter, RN, BSN, and Jeff Mitchum demonstrate how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the health fair. Notice that Porter's arms are not bent, which allows her to put more pressure on the heart as she does CPR.

Healthy, Wealthy & Wise, a health fair sponsored by Greater Faith Baptist Church and Alpha Omicron Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, offered the local community information on a variety of issues, including health care, finance and safety.

The program was planned and directed by the church’s Health Awareness Committee, including Chair Grace Simmons-Porter, RN, BSN, and Co-Chair Annie Fogle.

“We do this every year to educate the community on different health issues, especially chronic conditions like high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes,” Porter said.

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“Health care is a team effort between the patient, the doctor, the pharmacy and any other health resource that’s available,” she said.

But often, people have little idea of what aid is open to them. The health fair offers a place for pharmacies, home health care facilities and others to showcase the help they offer, Porter said.

A large number of people are on disability, including young people, because they don’t know help’s available. For example, diabetes, left untreated, can cause blindness and other issues. Jamison’s Pharmacy teaches people how to handle it, but few people are aware of that fact.

Pain management was one issue several presenters dealt with at the health fair.

Dr. Monnieque Singleton, owner of Singleton Health Center/Medical Center of Santee, spoke about using alternative pain management to avoid the use of narcotics. He talked about foods, such as sugar, red meats and processed foods, that can cause arthritis flare-ups and gout.

Dr. Margaret Grossman talked about physical exercise as an alternative to pain medication. Stretching exercises strengthen your muscles so that you’re more flexible and that relieves the pain of illnesses like arthritis, she said.

Norma Jordan attended the fair and said that it was “all good as a whole,” but the exercise session really benefited her.

“I enjoyed the exercises and all of that. I have trouble with my legs,” she said. “The part where they were telling you how just a little exercise would help you improve the stiffness in your joints was good. I have been doing that since then and I feel better already,” she said a few days after the fair. “They said to take little steps and increase it as you need to.”

Charles Williams, chief executive officer of the Regional Medical Center, spoke about the benefits of a financially successful hospital to the community.

He reported that the hospital was “hemorrhaging” millions of dollars when he took over late in 2017.

“The good news is we’ve been able to stop the hemorrhage and the hospital is ahead,” Williams said.

That means better financial health and better services for the community.

“We can reinvest in the community, reinvest in the hospital, reinvest in equipment,” he said. “Every two weeks we produce about $4 million in paychecks. You take that $4 million away and what happens to Walmart, Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell, BiLo – and what happens to the churches?”

Simmons-Porter and Officer Jeff Mitchum, who works with the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office, demonstrated the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Mitchum noted that the demonstration did not qualify the audience to perform CPR. He urged the group to contact the EMS or sheriff’s office to find out where to get certified in CPR.

The first thing you do is get someone to call 911 and make a quick assessment of the patient, he said. Get down where you can see their chest. Listen closely and watch to see if they’re breathing and their heart’s beating. If they’re not breathing, check their throat to see if they’re choking.

“Forget what you’ve seen on TV,” Mitchum said. The arms of the person performing CPR are not bent. He or she has to be over the patient and apply enough pressure that ribs can crack. But don’t worry about that, he said. Remember that ribs can heal.

Once CPR is started, don’t stop until the person starts breathing on his own, help gets there or the person doing CPR is completely exhausted, Mitchum said.

Patricia Funderburk of RMC was available to check blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

Other institutions presenting information to the group included Edisto Dental, Jamison’s Pharmacy, Grove Park Pharmacy, Crescent Hopsice, Planet Fitness, Kindred Home Health, Orangeburg Area Sickle Cell Anemia Foundations Inc., the Storks Nest – Healthy Mothers and Babies, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and a representative from CASA.

South State Bank presented a session on financial health, Brian Sistrunk talked about chair exercises and Jessica Kinsey spoke about hair and nail health.

A representative from the Middleton Agency talked about the dangers of texting and driving and Reggie Johnson spoke about road safety with trucks.

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A representative from DHEC spoke about some services it offers. DHEC will test for sexually transmitted diseases and provide the medication to treat them free of charge, Simmons-Porter said.

The church also offered a special session for the youth.

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Contact the writer: dlinderaltman@gmail.com.

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