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Published: July, 2020; Vol 17, Num 2

 

Staying on Top of Your Health Without Health Fairs

 

Under normal circumstances, the Fund’s Health Promotion Division spends the summer months coordinating health fairs for LIUNA Local Unions, signatory contractors and other LIUNA affiliates. Even though the LHSFNA has not been able to provide our in-person health fair services during the coronavirus pandemic, there are still steps we can all take to monitor and improve our health.

What Is a Health Fair?

LHSFNA-sponsored health fairs introduce LIUNA members and their families to health and wellness information and screening services. Registered nurses or other medical professionals staff the event and conduct the following health screenings: blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose. Health fair staff also answer participants’ questions about their results and may recommend certain lifestyle changes; they also distribute health and well-being educational materials. 

What Can Members Do Until Health Fairs Resume?

Members who rely on their Local’s annual health fair to find out what their blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose numbers are will need to find an alternative method. 

Contacting their doctor for a complete physical is one option, but there are other options. If high blood pressure runs in your family or if you have a personal history of high blood pressure, home monitoring may be worth considering. High blood pressure often has no symptoms and is often referred to as “the silent killer.” Being aware of your blood pressure and discussing what you can do to maintain or improve your blood pressure with your doctor is vital for your health. 

Measuring your glucose and cholesterol aren’t as simple as ordering a blood pressure cuff online – they require a medical professional to find out your results. If you opt not to visit your doctor in the short-tem, take good care of your health by making the lifestyle modifications below. However, don’t go too long without knowing your numbers – lifestyle modifications can only take you so far if you have a family history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol or elevated glucose.

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. A healthy weight is different for everyone; talk with your health care provider to determine your healthy weight and how to achieve it.
  • Eat a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, beans and lean cuts of meat and poultry; limit saturated fat (fatty cuts of meat, full-fat dairy) and trans fats (deep-fried foods, processed foods and baked goods).
  • Be physically active. Aim for 150 minutes of aerobic activity and two days of muscle-strengthening activity each week.
  • Quit tobacco. Using tobacco lowers your HDL and increases your LDL and triglycerides. 
  • Reduce alcohol intake. Moderate drinking is up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

When Will Health Fairs Resume?

Please note, the LHSFNA will not contract medical professionals to conduct onsite COVID-19 screenings and assessments. COVID-19 screenings and assessments can be performed by an employee wearing the appropriate PPE. Please refer to the Fund’s Guidance for Conducting Workplace COVID-19 Screenings and Assessments for more information. 

Phased reopening guidelines based on meeting specific COVID-19 benchmarks, in combination with employer and individual responsibilities, all play a role in determining if and when LIUNA-affiliated, LHSFNA-sponsored health fair events can be conducted safely. The exact criteria may vary from state to state but typically involves three key areas: decline in the number of COVID-19 cases reported, expansion of COVID-19 testing capacity and adequate health system capacity. 

The National Governors Association Roadmap to Recovery includes more information about the gating criteria and recommended steps for each state. Refer to the Fund’s Health Fair Program Recommendations During COVID-19 for additional details on how the phased reopening impacts whether we believe it will be safe for a health fair to be conducted.

Health Promotion Programs, Services and Publications

In the absence of health fairs, the Fund continues to provide programs, services and publications to meet the health and well-being needs of the LIUNA community. The following publications, available for order at www.lhsfna.org, provide more information on blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose. 

  • Atherosclerosis: Hardening of the Arteries health alert
  • Diabetes health alert
  • Health Screenings and Exam Recommendations for Laborers health alert
  • High Blood Pressure health alert
  • High Cholesterol health alert
  • Laborers’ Health & Wellness: Diabetes pamphlet 
  • Laborers’ Health & Wellness: Heart Disease pamphlet 
  • Laborers’ Health & Wellness: Stroke pamphlet 
  • Smart Medicine pamphlet
  • Triglycerides health alert

[Emily Smith is the LHSFNA’s Health Promotion Manager.]