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Health Screening - Why It Matters! Dr. Peter J. Rice

Health Screening – Why It Matters! Dr. Peter J. Rice

Health Screening Adventures at the National Western Stock Show

The National Western Stock Show comes to Denver each year in January. And what a great show it is!  The NWSS has – in addition to stock shows – rodeos, vendors and wild west shows. The Denver Broncos cheerleaders are there and displays Colorado wildlife, like bald eagles and hawks. Vendors sell farm equipment, clothing, art, food and more. There are also health screenings.

It is an exciting place to be during a cold month.

One of the health highlights of the NWSS is our University of Colorado health screening booth.  Our medical campus is built on a foundation of interprofessional education, and our schools (medicine, pharmacy, nursing, physical therapy, physician assistants) collaborate at the stock show to offer health screening, counseling and flu shots. A colleague and I showed up on a Saturday evening and had a busy time providing flu shots to patients from 5 years old up.

Health Screening Matters!

Health Screening Matters!

It is still not too late to get your flu shot this year at your health screening, pharmacy or doctor’s office.

We were busy giving free flu shots and had several large families that we worked our way through. It surprised me how many people were afraid of their flu shot, and how many brought their family members and friends after they had their shot and it didn’t hurt.

I gave a flu shot to one woman who said she could not even feel it, and then she brought her 5-year old over. The poor little thing whined, cried and squirmed throughout the ordeal; when it was done she admitted that it did not hurt at all. Another 6-year old fearfully came for her shot. We were giving out free bandanas after the flu shots, so I told her if it hurt at all that she should take TWO bandanas; when the time came, she took just one.

If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, your pharmacist is waiting for you. And it probably won’t hurt at all.

Each year during the health screening, we also encounter patients who come with questions about their medicines.

Pharmacists love medicine questions!

Usually patients have something more on their mind than what they ask and that makes it all the more interesting.

A woman stopped by our health screening to ask me if her amlodipine is a blood pressure medicine; I responded that it is.  “And why do you ask?’.  It turned out that she had her blood pressure measured at 175/85 (normal is 120/80) and she was concerned. So, one of our medical students took her blood pressure and talked with her. She should be taking her blood pressure medicine regularly and checking in with her family doc to make sure that it is working.

During the health screening, a woman stopped by to ask about diabetes after we found a very high blood sugar. She had been diagnosed with diabetes and knew that she had it, but was not treating it. She figured that it was just a death sentence and instead of treating it she would live out her allotted time as best she could. WHAT?!! I was so glad that she asked her question, because it gave me the chance to explain that treating her diabetes would not hurt at all, but would likely provide her a longer life with her grandchildren.

The National Western Stock Show is a hit with me because I get to interact with patients. Unfortunately, we have to wait until next January in Denver for the 2017 NWSS.

In the meantime, your community pharmacist is waiting to help you. Stop by and let her or him answer your questions. Take care of yourself.



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Dr. Peter J. Rice

Dr. Peter J. Rice is a professor of Pharmacology emeritus at the East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine and Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He received his BS in pharmacy from Northeastern University, PhD in pharmacology from the Ohio State University and PharmD from the University of Kentucky. He is a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist and practices in the ambulatory care and community pharmacy settings. Professor Rice is the author of Understanding Drug Action: An introduction to pharmacology (APhA, 2014) and is a fellow of the American Pharmacists Association.




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