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Tsaplina To Present Program October 19, 2017

The Department of Humanities at the Penn State College of Medicine, 500 University Drive, Hershey, will host a presentation on Friday, Nov. 3, at noon in Room C3621 on the third floor of the College of Medicine, above the George T. Harrell Library.

Marina Tsaplina, an artist, patient advocate, and Kienle Scholar in Medical Humanities, will present "Moral Imagination in Chronic Illness: Creativity, Risk, Illness as Teacher, Embracing Complexity, and the Unknown."

She will perform her theatrical piece "The Invisible Elephant," which explores negative effects of losing a part of oneself to diabetes. The performance will be followed by a 30-minute facilitated discussion aimed to help health care providers working in chronic illness focus on the therapeutic exchange in medicine.

The event is free and open to the public. No preregistration is required. For more information, readers may contact Claire de Boer at cdeboer@pennstatehealth.psu.edu or call the Department of Humanities at 717-531-8778.

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Health Center Posts Programs October 18, 2017

Byrnes Health Education Center, with locations at 515 S. George St., York, and inside The Candy Factory at the rear of 342 N. Queen St., Lancaster, will offer several programs. Unless otherwise noted, there is a per-person cost to attend. For more information or to register, readers may call 717-848-3064 or visit Byrneshec.org.

"Girls and Moms" will be offered in Lancaster on Tuesday, Nov. 7, and in York on Tuesday, Nov. 21, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. each day. The program for moms and their daughters ages 9 to 12, led by a health educator, will focus on puberty and the natural changes that occur during adolescence.

"The Talk 101" will be offered in York on Nov. 7 at 6:30 p.m. The two-hour presentation, for adults only, is designed to give parents support in discussing the subject of human development with their child.

"Puberty Programs for Special Learners" have been slated in York, with programming for boys on Tuesday, Nov. 28, and programming for girls on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Each program will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. The programs are designed for students with autism, Down syndrome, learning disabilities, and developmental delays and will be taught by experienced special education teachers. Adults must attend with their child.

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Health Tips Posted October 17, 2017

Keeping the whole family healthy can be as easy as A-B-C. The American Heart Association and Penn State Children's Hospital offer several tips for helping children to be healthy.

A - Add color, whole grains, and lean protein. An easy first step to eating healthy is to include colorful fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack. A variety of colors can make these healthy foods more appealing to children. Making sandwiches with whole grain bread instead of white bread will add protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Lean proteins like chicken, fish, and beans can give children the energy they need to power through their day at school without extra saturated fat to slow them down.

B - Be an example. Children's eating habits are influenced by what they see at home. Adults should review the American Heart Association's diet and lifestyle recommendations for children and adults to ensure they are offering appropriate nutritional guidance for their children and modeling healthy eating themselves.

C - Cut the sugar and sodium. Saying goodbye to sugar-sweetened beverages and excess sodium found in processed foods reduces risk for obesity and high blood pressure, even in children. Fruit juices with no added sugar and fruit-infused water are refreshing alternatives to sugary juice drinks and soda. Parents are encouraged to look for low or no sodium added breads, meats, soups, sauces, and condiments and reduce consumption of cheese and savory, salty snacks.

For the second year in a row, Penn State Children's Hospital and the American Heart Association are teaming up to encourage schools, students, and families throughout central Pennsylvania to take youth health to heart. Nearly 85,000 students at schools that participate in the American Heart Association's Jump Rope for Heart or Hoops for Heart programs throughout Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York counties will receive exclusive health education resources from physicians and health experts at Penn State Children's Hospital. Students at participating schools will have the opportunity to learn Hands-Only CPR thanks to the donation of the American Heart Association's CPR Anytime kits, enter the Penn State Healthy Community essay contest and art contest, and receive fun booklets and activities to encourage healthy eating.

Today, about one in three American children and teenagers is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate seen in the 1960s. The rise of obesity in childhood can cause a broad range of health problems that previously were not seen until adulthood, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and elevated blood cholesterol levels.

Excess weight at a young age has also been linked to earlier death rates in adulthood. The healthiest way to help children achieve a healthy weight is with gradual, permanent changes in eating habits, and physical activity that are shared by the entire family.

For more information on the American Heart Association's children-focused programs and resources, including healthy activities and child-friendly recipes, readers may visit www.heart.org/kids.

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Club Plans Health Screening Event October 16, 2017

The Manheim Lions Club will offer health screenings performed by a local company on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 7 to 9:30 a.m. at St. Paul's United Church of Christ, 50 N. Main St., Manheim. The screenings, which are designed to find current or potential health problems, include tests for anemia, diabetes, heart disease, gout, and liver and kidney diseases. They also include Complete Blood Count (CBC), HDL (good cholesterol), and LDL (bad cholesterol), as well as a health lifestyle evaluation. Optional tests, which may be added for additional fees, will include prostate-specific antigen for males, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and vitamin D.

Individuals must not eat or drink for 10 hours before testing, but they may have water and medication. There is a fee for the screenings.

To preregister, call 800-776-6342 on Mondays through Fridays between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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Teal Pumpkins Mean Allergy Alternatives October 16, 2017

Northwest EMS Joins Trick-Or-Treat Outreach

For children with food allergies, trick-or-treating can often lose its luster. That is why Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) launched a national effort for Halloween called the Teal Pumpkin Project, an initiative designed to offer options for youths with allergies and for children whose parents who may not want them to be overloaded with sugar.

Northwest Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will be participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project during countywide trick-or-treat hours from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Families are invited to stop in at the stations located at 60 W. Colebrook St., Manheim, and 380 W. Bainbridge St., Elizabethtown, to meet emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics and receive non-candy treats. All are welcome.

Northwest EMS community outreach manager Lori Shenk explained that FARE's mission is to help make sure all children will come home from trick-or-treating with something they can enjoy. "The key is to raise awareness," Shenk said.

Teal pumpkins are already set up outside of each station to indicate participation in the Teal Pumpkin Project, and Shenk encourages area residents to consider taking part in the initiative at their own homes. "Anybody can do the Teal Pumpkin Project," Shenk noted. By displaying a teal-painted pumpkin on Halloween, homeowners are saying that they will offer non-candy treats, such as glow sticks or small toys, to trick-or-treaters. "Lots of households give non-candy items anyway, but the pumpkins are a way for people to know for sure before they go to a house," said Shenk.

Thanks to donations from several area businesses, Northwest EMS will have a free coloring book and piggy bank for each trick-or-treater while supplies last. Each child may also select a few prize items from a large cauldron that will be filled with things like whistles, slime, sticky fingers, and other gadgets and toys. "We had a lot of support from the businesses," Shenk said, noting that Bainbridge farmer Ben Burkholder donated the pumpkins and straw that have been used to decorate the station porches.

Shenk also gave teal pumpkins to 25 local businesses to display during October in hopes of getting the word out to more people about what the project is and the fact that the Manheim and Elizabethtown stations will be open to trick-or-treaters. "I have had a lot of feedback from the businesses saying that people are asking about the pumpkins," Shenk shared. "We hope to do this every year on Trick or Treat, so you'll see pumpkins at our stations next year, too."

Northwest EMS serves more than 55,000 residents in 15 municipalities in Lancaster, Lebanon, and Dauphin counties, said Shenk. In addition to the Manheim and Elizabethtown stations, Northwest EMS operates stations in the East Donegal Township municipal building and the Brickerville Fire Department.

According to Shenk, Northwest EMS prioritizes community outreach by intentionally partnering with other groups that provide education, prevention, and wellness services. Aside from the Teal Pumpkin Project, some of the organization's other education partnerships include Cribs For Kids safe sleep education in partnership with Penn State Children's Hospital; Farm and Home Safety Education with Lancaster General Health Trauma Services and Penn State Extension Services; Concussion Awareness and Education with the American Trauma Society and PA Safe Kids; CPR, Hands-Only CPR, and first aid with the American Heart Association; Toys for Tots collection with the United States Marine Corps Reserve; Teen Safe Driving and Distracted Driving education with local emergency response agencies; and an annual food bank collection with local food banks.

To learn more, readers may call Shenk at 717-371-8282 or visit www.nwems86.org.

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Teal Pumpkins Mean Allergy Alternatives October 13, 2017

Northwest EMS Joins Trick-Or-Treat Outreach

For children with food allergies, trick-or-treating can often lose its luster. That is why Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) launched a national effort for Halloween called the Teal Pumpkin Project, an initiative designed to offer options for youths with allergies and for children whose parents who may not want them to be overloaded with sugar.

Northwest Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will be participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project during countywide trick-or-treat hours from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Families are invited to stop in at the stations located at 60 W. Colebrook St., Manheim, and 380 W. Bainbridge St., Elizabethtown, to meet emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics and receive non-candy treats. All are welcome.

Northwest EMS community outreach manager Lori Shenk explained that FARE's mission is to help make sure all children will come home from trick-or-treating with something they can enjoy. "The key is to raise awareness," Shenk said.

Teal pumpkins are already set up outside of each station to indicate participation in the Teal Pumpkin Project, and Shenk encourages area residents to consider taking part in the initiative at their own homes. "Anybody can do the Teal Pumpkin Project," Shenk noted. By displaying a teal-painted pumpkin on Halloween, homeowners are saying that they will offer non-candy treats, such as glow sticks or small toys, to trick-or-treaters. "Lots of households give non-candy items anyway, but the pumpkins are a way for people to know for sure before they go to a house," said Shenk.

Thanks to donations from several area businesses, Northwest EMS will have a free coloring book and piggy bank for each trick-or-treater while supplies last. Each child may also select a few prize items from a large cauldron that will be filled with things like whistles, slime, sticky fingers, and other gadgets and toys. "We had a lot of support from the businesses," Shenk said, noting that Bainbridge farmer Ben Burkholder donated the pumpkins and straw that have been used to decorate the station porches.

Shenk also gave teal pumpkins to 25 local businesses to display during October in hopes of getting the word out to more people about what the project is and the fact that the Manheim and Elizabethtown stations will be open to trick-or-treaters. "I have had a lot of feedback from the businesses saying that people are asking about the pumpkins," Shenk shared. "We hope to do this every year on trick-or-treat, so you'll see pumpkins at our stations next year, too."

Northwest EMS serves more than 55,000 residents in 15 municipalities in Lancaster, Lebanon, and Dauphin counties, said Shenk. In addition to the Manheim and Elizabethtown stations, Northwest EMS operates stations in the East Donegal Township municipal building and the Brickerville Fire Department.

According to Shenk, Northwest EMS prioritizes community outreach by intentionally partnering with other groups that provide education, prevention, and wellness services. Aside from the Teal Pumpkin Project, some of the organization's other education partnerships include Cribs For Kids safe sleep education in partnership with Penn State Children's Hospital; Farm and Home Safety Education with Lancaster General Health Trauma Services and Penn State Extension Services; Concussion Awareness and Education with the American Trauma Society and PA Safe Kids; CPR, Hands-Only CPR, and first-aid with the American Heart Association; Toys for Tots collection with the United States Marine Corps Reserve; Teen Safe Driving and Distracted Driving education with local emergency response agencies; and an annual food bank collection with local food banks.

To learn more, readers may call Shenk at 717-371-8282 or visit www.nwems86.org.

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Program To Focus On Stroke Recognition October 13, 2017

The Milanof-Schock Library, 1184 Anderson Ferry Road, Mount Joy, will hold a Lifelong Learners program on Monday, Oct. 23, at 10:30 a.m. The program will be "Stroke Recognition and Treatment: What's the Rush?"

Kathy Morrison, the Stroke Program manager for Penn State Hershey Medical Center, will provide information about the increasing incidence of stroke in young adults and why this is occurring. She will also show us the simple way to recognize stroke symptoms, discuss available treatment options, and more.

Morrison has more than 30 years of experience with various roles in nursing care and program management. Her published works have appeared in nursing journals and neuroscience course curricula. She has authored two books in support of nurses caring for stroke patients: "Fast Facts for Stroke Care Nursing" and "Stroke Certification Guide for Registered Nurses." She is a certified neuroscience nurse, a certified stroke nurse, and a Fellow of the American Heart Association. She and her husband, John, live in Mount Joy.

For more information or to register, readers may call the library at 717-653-1510 or visit www.mslibrary.org.

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Group Slates Educational Series October 12, 2017

Health by Choice Education and Research (HBCER) has announced its fall educational seminars. The sessions will be held on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Lancaster Farm and Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster.

The Integrative Healthcare (IH) seminars are focused on combining conventional medicine (what is recognized as the current medical model practiced in hospitals and clinics) to therapies that fall under "alternative," natural methods, and personal coaching systems.

IH provides the opportunity for patients to partner with caregivers and coaches in therapeutic and educational environments, which may also empower them to take charge of their health.

Sessions are open to the public for a minimum donation. Attendees will receive a binder with action items they can follow each month based on that month's topic. Seminars will act as a monthly check in to keep regular attendees on their personal path to wellness.

To view past sessions, readers may visit http://hbcer.org/events under Recent Posts. For more information on HBCER, readers may contact Jen Gehl at jen@hbcer.com.

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York Regional EMS Earns Award October 11, 2017

York Regional Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has received the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline EMS Silver Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate these patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. Mission: Lifeline's EMS recognition program recognizes emergency medical services for their efforts in improving systems of care and improving the quality of life for these patients.

EMS providers are vital to the success of Mission: Lifeline. They can help determine if a heart attack has occurred. They also follow protocols derived from American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines. These correct tools, training, and practices allow EMS providers to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify the medical center, and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Silver award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for one year. Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can shave precious minutes of life-saving treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals.

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Holiday Travel Tips Shared October 11, 2017

For many people, no holiday season is complete without traveling. While traveling might not be as fun a holiday tradition as decking the halls or exchanging gifts with loved ones, there are ways for travelers to make their Christmastime excursions more enjoyable and affordable.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 91 percent of holiday travel is done by personal vehicle, such as a car. College students driving home for semester holiday breaks can invite fellow students heading to the same area to share a ride home. Traveling in pairs or groups can make long trips less monotonous and more affordable, as drivers and their passengers can split the cost of fuel and tolls. People can offer to pick up relatives who live along the way to their destinations, so no one has to drive unnecessarily.

Travelers taking to the air or railways for their holiday traveling should try to book their plans as early as possible. The earlier travelers try to book, the more likely they are to get a favorable itinerary. Travel experts vary with regard to when is the best time to book a flight, but travelers who try to book early and are willing to book indirect flights might find the most affordable deals, regardless of how far away from their desired travel date they book their trips.

Drivers can save time and money by packing their own meals when traveling for the holidays. Rest stop eateries tend to be overcrowded during the busy holiday traveling season, and such restaurants may not provide many choices for health-conscious travelers. Bringing along their own meals allows drivers to adhere to their personal diets and eat foods that will not make them drowsy on the road. Drivers can simply eat in the car during stops to assuage hunger.

Traveling during off-peak hours is recommended. Drivers who can muster the energy to begin their trips before sunrise can get a head start on the millions of others heading home for the holidays. Children can sleep in the backseat during early morning hours, making the trips less taxing on youngsters. Less time spent in traffic can also conserve fuel, saving drivers money.

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Annual PLCB Poster Contest Slated October 11, 2017

In an effort to continue the dialogue about the dangers of underage drinking, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) is encouraging students from across the Commonwealth to participate in the 26th annual Alcohol Awareness Poster Contest. The contest is open to all Pennsylvania students in kindergarten through 12th grade, including those who are home-schooled or in private or parochial schools. Students may enter through their schools, clubs, Scout troops, or individually.

Data shows that alcohol exposure and trial are starting younger and younger, with children as young as age 8 trying a drink and even drinking on a somewhat regular basis. It is important for parents and educators to begin talking with children early and often about alcohol, and this poster contest is a fun and creative way to begin those conversations.

Entries must feature a clear no-use message about underage drinking and may be created using any artistic medium. Students are encouraged to use positive messages and images, such as the benefits of being alcohol free or alternatives to underage drinking.

Each year, approximately 50 posters are selected by a panel of judges for recognition. Each artist who creates a selected poster will be notified of his or her accomplishment and invited to attend a recognition ceremony in Harrisburg in April 2018, which is Alcohol Awareness Month.

Several students will receive $100, and one student from each grade (K-12) will receive $50. Some of the winning designs may be reproduced in various formats and distributed across Pennsylvania.

Entries must be postmarked no later than Friday, Nov. 17. For additional information about submission dates, guidelines, and prizes, readers may review the contest guidelines and entry form available at www.lcb.pa.gov under Education, then Poster Contest. Questions about the contest may be directed to 717-772-1432 or ra-lbeducation@pa.gov.

New this year, the PLCB is also providing a sample lesson plan, which educators are encouraged to use in guiding and teaching students about the dangers of underage drinking.

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Teal Pumpkin Project Posted October 11, 2017

If people see teal-colored pumpkins this Halloween, they are not just for decoration. They are a welcome sign for children with food allergies. Ghosts, goblins, and other trick-or-treaters can find safe, alternative treats at houses with a teal pumpkin.

The Teal Pumpkin Project is designed to raise awareness for children with food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters. Halloween can be a tricky time of the year for some children who deal with specific food allergies.

There is no way to guarantee a child will not come in contact with their allergen while trick-or-treating, making many candies off limits. The Teal Pumpkin Project aims to create a way for children who have allergies to also enjoy the holiday.

The color teal is bright and easily spotted. Teal is also the designated color of food allergy awareness. The color has brought awareness to food allergies for more than 20 years.

Fun, non-food treats may be enjoyed long after Halloween has passed. Options like Halloween pencils or erasers may be used at school or home long after the candy disappears. Glow sticks, small toys, spider rings, and stickers can also provide year-round fun.

People can support the Teal Pumpkin Project by placing a teal-colored pumpkin or Teal Pumpkin Project sign in their yard. The sign indicates that the resident will hand out non-food treats as an alternative to candy. People can still hand out candy, but they should just be sure to separate the treats and allow trick-or-treaters to choose which they would like.

The Teal Pumpkin Project has been organized by the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) organization since 2014. It offers free, printable Teal Pumpkin Project signs at www.foodallergy.org/education-awareness/teal-pumpkin-project/free-resources.

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County Residents Meet Billion-Step Goal October 10, 2017

The Chester County commissioners and the Chester County Health Department recently reached their goal of county residents walking 1 billion steps before the end of the year. In April, during National Public Health Week, Chester County launched a challenge, the WalkWorks ChesCo! program. County residents recorded more than 1 billion steps in just six months - three months earlier than the challenge deadline.

WalkWorks ChesCo! is a program intended to promote healthier lifestyles, educate county residents, and empower them to adopt healthier lifestyles one step at a time. The program aims to create more places for walking, support and promote walking groups, and coordinate walking challenges. It also features a website that has allowed participants to track their steps as they worked toward the countywide goal. The tracking system at www.chesco.org/walkworks syncs with most devices and mobile apps that already track steps, and it also allows users to convert other physical exercise into steps to be manually added.

During one of the commissioners' public sunshine meetings, county residents celebrated the fulfillment of their goal. Joining the commissioners and health department officials were community organizations and partners who contributed to the challenge, including staff and students from North Coventry Elementary School and a representative from Activate Phoenixville Area.

Chris Mitchell, health and physical education teacher at North Coventry Elementary School, was one of the many educators who took up the WalkWorks ChesCo! challenge by developing a program for students, teachers, and staff to walk many steps in the week leading up to Chester County Walks Day, Sept. 23. With the support of school principal Dr. Susan Lloyd, Mitchell led a team and set a school and community goal of walking 10 million steps in just one week.

By the end of the week, North Coventry Elementary School students, staff, parents, friends, and community first responders had surpassed the original goal, walking more than 14 million steps. In total, Chester County schools walked 25 million steps in the week leading up to Chester County Walks Day.

The WalkWorks ChesCo! program is Chester County's response to the national Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge, a two-year competition that encourages U.S. cities and counties to create a positive health impact. Chester County Commissioner Terence Farrell became aware of the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge in 2016 and tasked county staff to apply. The county was selected out of 400 applications as one of 50 members of the national HealthyCommunity50 and, as such, received $10,000 in community seed funds to establish the WalkWorks ChesCo! program.

Staff in the Chester County Health Department will assess the success of the program's first 1 billion steps and until December will review the methods for promoting more steps in 2018.

If judged the most successful Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge program, Chester County will receive $500,000, which will be used to further enhance health programs for all county residents. The Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge is a partnership established between the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association, and the National Association of Counties.

For more information about the WalkWorks ChesCo! program and to register, readers may visit www.chesco.org/walkworks.

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"Go-Live" To Encourage Healthful Lifestyles October 6, 2017

Hope Within Ministries is teaming up with several area businesses and organizations to present "Go-Live" to the community on Thursday, Oct. 26, at Cornerstone Youth Center, 95 S. Wilson Ave., Elizabethtown. The free, family-friendly wellness event will be open to the public from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Hope Within Ministries president Donita Sturgis said that the organization recently received a grant to use for intentional community health outreach and decided to team up with other area organizations in hopes of maximizing the efforts. "The whole point is to encourage people to go live life more healthfully," Sturgis explained. "That truly will bring people the most life enjoyment and satisfaction."

"Collectively as organizations we care about the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of individuals in our community," Sturgis shared. "We want to address physical health first, and relaxation ties into that with the ability to manage stress and anxiety." At "Go-Live," professional massage therapists will offer a relaxation station complete with free chair massages and information on additional relaxation techniques.

Registered dietitian Amy Mathew, along with nutrition interns from Penn State University, will present several food tasting stations where attendees may sample items such as fruit smoothies, vegetable smoothies, quinoa dishes, make-and-take trail mix, and more.

Children's activities will include entertainment by a clown, health and fitness games and challenges, and prizes.

Giveaways, including a brand-name blender/nutrition extractor, gift cards for a local farmers market and classes at GEARS, and a professional massage, will also be available for attendees to enter to win. Free cookbooks will also be available while supplies last.

Hope Within Ministries will also offer free flu shots for adults and children, as well as glycohemoglobin and random blood sugar tests. A variety of biofitness screenings will be offered by personal trainer Mark Mueller, including body fat percentages, blood pressure, and resting heart rate. Mueller and other trained individuals will explain what the numbers mean and how they can be improved, if need be.

Sturgis said that Hope Within and the other organizations would like to put a dent in the amount of chronic disease among area residents, thus improving quality of life and decreasing the high medical costs that accompany conditions such as obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. "If we can work at the root of the problem, hopefully we can take people to a healthier state," said Sturgis, noting that education is a crucial part of addressing and improving health issues.

"There's so much that we can do to impact our health," Sturgis commented. "We're coming together to promote an active and healthy lifestyle as children and adults."

Although the event is free, organizers do request that interested individuals sign up in advance by visiting www.facebook.com/hopewithinministries or by emailing annemarie.mcalester@hopewithin.org.

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Car Seat Safety Checks Available October 5, 2017

Wakefield Ambulance Association, 2272 Robert Fulton Highway, Peach Bottom, will offer free car seat safety inspections conducted by a certified child passenger safety technician. Inspections are available by appointment only.

To schedule an appointment, call 717-955-0153.

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Educators Attend Workshop October 5, 2017

More than 75 physical education and health educators from across Pennsylvania attended a free continuing education workshop on Sept. 21 in Grantville. The workshop was hosted by the American Heart Association and sponsored by Penn State Children's Hospital.

Dr. Thomas Chin, chief of pediatric cardiology at Penn State Children's Hospital and medical director of Children's Heart Group, introduced Dr. Leslie Walker-Harding, professor and chair of the department of pediatrics and pediatrician-in-chief at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and medical director of Children's Heart Group. Walker-Harding presented a session on the status of student and family health, highlighting statistics about youth obesity and cardiovascular disease risk. Dr. Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, associated professor at Penn State University College of Medicine, shared findings from his American Heart Association-funded research on the long-term effects of lack of sleep on cardiovascular health.

Youth program directors from the American Heart Association provided guidance for incorporating physical education, including the American Heart Association's own Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart youth programs, into curricula based on the Charlotte Danielson Model for teaching. Participants shared lesson plans, student activities, worksheets and parent engagement tools, and they learned new jump rope and basketball skills and games in a session led by Coleen McNamara and Colleen Weigmont from the Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Inc.

The Dubble family of Lebanon closed the program by sharing the story of their son, Carter. Born in 2008, Carter was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome. At just 12 days old, Carter underwent the first of several open-heart surgeries he would endure within the first few years of his life. Carter's parents, Courtney and Danny Dubble, thanked the educators for their commitment to the health of their students.

Carter's story highlights the advocacy work of the American Heart Association, which advocated for the passage of Act 94 of 2014, ensuring every newborn in Pennsylvania is screened for critical congenital heart defects using a pulse oximetry test before they leave the hospital. Also, the American Heart Association raises funds for heart disease research through programs like Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart.

For the second year in a row, Penn State Children's Hospital and the American Heart Association are teaming up to encourage schools, students and families throughout central Pennsylvania to take youth health to heart. Nearly 85,000 students at schools that participate in the American Heart Association's Jump Rope for Heart or Hoops for Heart programs throughout Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties will receive exclusive health education resources from physicians and health experts at Penn State Children's Hospital. Students at participating schools will have the opportunity to learn Hands-Only CPR thanks to a donation of the American Heart Association's CPR Anytime kits, enter the Penn State Healthy Community essay contest and art contest, and receive booklets and activities to encourage healthful eating.

For more information, readers may visit www.heart.org/kids.

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Flu Vaccination Clinics Posted October 4, 2017

The Chester County Health Department will offer flu vaccinations at various sites in southern Chester County.

The clinics will be offered at Octorara Senior High School, 226 Highland Road, Atglen, on Thursday, Oct. 12, from 2:30 to 6 p.m.; Avon Grove High School, 257 State Road, West Grove, on Monday, Oct. 23, from 2:30 to 6 p.m.; and Union Fire Company No. 1, 315 Market St., Oxford, on Friday, Nov. 3, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Individuals with private health insurance should bring their cards. The flu vaccine will be available at no charge to children with state medical insurance and for all people who do not have health insurance. For more information, visit www.chesco.org/flu or call 610-344-6252.

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Healthy Kids Series Will Conclude October 4, 2017

The New Cumberland location of the Healthy Kids Running Series will hold its final race of the fall season on Sunday, Oct. 15, at Roof Park along Lewisberry Road in New Cumberland.

A free one-mile fun run will be open to participants and their families. The program aims to help children build confidence and self-esteem.

Interested participants or volunteers may contact nchealthykids@gmail.com. For more information, readers may visit healthykidsrunningseries.org or search for "Healthy Kids Running Series - New Cumberland" on Facebook.

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Tips Offered To Avoid Flu October 4, 2017

The state Department of Health encourages all Pennsylvanians age 6 months and up to get a flu vaccine. Infants and children, seniors, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions are especially susceptible to developing flu-related complications.

Other steps people can take to protect against the flu include washing one's hands often with soap and warm water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; covering one's nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and throwing any used tissues in the trash; keeping one's hands away from their face, and not touching their eyes, nose or mouth; disinfecting frequently used surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, TV remotes or countertops; and avoiding contact with individuals who may have the flu. When sick, persons should stay home until at least 24 hours after their fever goes away on its own without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

To obtain a flu vaccine, readers may talk to their doctor or visit www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.

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Heating Season Tips Offered October 4, 2017

Now that the fall season has officially begun, here are some important items to consider as homeowners prepare their home for colder weather.

Have the heating system professionally serviced. Regularly cleaning and servicing of a home's heating system could reduce fuel costs by 10 percent or more during the heating season. Having the system professionally serviced now also reduces the likelihood of a heating system failure during cold weather.

When servicing natural gas fired equipment, the service technician should make sure the pilot light and thermostat are working correctly, check the fuel line and heat exchanger for cracks or leaks, and test the efficiency of the heating system.

Having a home's heating system checked is also a safety issue, since improperly-functioning systems can produce carbon monoxide. It is recommended that homeowners check their heating system as soon as possible if they have not already done so to ensure it is operating properly.

One of the simplest and most important ways to keep a heating system running efficiently is to clean or replace the filters as recommended. Filters that fit properly and are cleaned or replaced regularly can have a significant impact on energy costs and the quality of air in the home.

Filters should be replaced or cleaned, depending on the type of filter, about every three months. By properly maintaining heating system filters, it will not only make the home better prepared for winter, but it may benefit individuals who suffer from seasonal allergies.

Homeowners should ensure the exhaust flue or chimney is clear of obstructions and in good condition. Check for holes in the exhaust flue, particularly where the pipe meets the furnace. Small holes can be patched with foil tape, but corroded flues or those with large holes need to be replaced.

Homeowners should have their chimney inspected for any damage that may have occurred during summer storms. Cracked liners and other structural damage to chimneys can cause carbon monoxide to enter the home or creosote/soot to accumulate outside the liner, which can lead to a chimney fire.

Homeowners should check that appliances have proper air flow. If the furnace and the water heater are in an enclosed room or closet, homeowners should make sure they get plenty of air. Furnace rooms or closets should have door louvers or a duct directly to the outside to provide sufficient combustion air.

If homeowners recently renovated their home and enclosed the furnace or water heater in a small room or closet, they should inspect the work carefully to ensure the appliances have proper air flow. Lack of air flow will cause the system to function improperly and could create a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide in the home.

Small air leaks around windows, doors, pipes, recessed lighting, and electrical outlets can add up over time to a significant loss of heat. Sealing air leaks can reduce heating bills by 10 to 20 percent and possibly more depending on specific conditions in the home.

Homeowners should seal door leaks with weather-stripping or a door sweep. Window leaks can be sealed with caulking. Homeowners need to pay particular attention to the attic hatch or pull-down stairs and to any interior-wall top plates in the attic, as these areas are more prone to leak cold air into the home.

Homeowners should ensure that return air vents in the house allow air to flow. A home's return air vents make sure that the air inside the home can be circulated properly. If return air vents are obstructed, the heating system will work harder to heat the home, leading to higher energy bills. Homeowners should check return air vents to ensure that air can pass through. Clothes, toys and furniture should be removed from return air vents to ensure they work properly.

"Seal tight and ventilate right" should be the guiding principle when it comes to sealing air leaks and keeping return air vents unobstructed. The trick is to make sure the home does not lose valuable heat but provides enough fresh air to maintain good indoor air quality.

Homeowners should clean and unblock heat registers. Dirt, dust, and pet fur reduce the effectiveness of ducts and registers that distribute heat. Homeowners should make sure furniture, curtains and blankets are not near or resting on heat registers. Homeowners should clean these ducts and registers regularly and make sure furniture and drapes do not inhibit the air flow.

Homeowners should remove all flammable objects from around the furnace and water heater. Combustibles such as paper, books, blankets, decorations, etc., that may have piled up over the summer, should be moved away from heat sources. These materials should be at least 36 inches away from the furnace or water heater.

Check to ensure all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in the home are working properly. Make sure detectors have fresh batteries. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be located on every floor of the home and near bedroom areas. Old or damaged detectors should be replaced with new equipment. A small dollar investment can save a life.

As homeowners start to use electric blankets, decorations and room lights with earlier nightfall and cooler temperatures, they should be careful not overload extension cords. Cords that are overloaded or coiled when in use can overheat and cause a fire. Inspect cords for damage (cracked/frayed/bare wires, loose connections, etc.) before plugging them in and never use a cord that feels hot to the touch. Do not nail or staple a cord to the wall or floor. In addition, do not pinch cords in windows, doors or under heavy furniture, or through walls or ceilings. Make sure the cord is rated for its intended use and meets the needs of the appliance or device being used.

Homeowners should consider a new heating system if their furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old. Homeowners should consider replacing it with a new ENERGY STAR-qualified heating system. These models use six to 15 percent less fuel than non-ENERGY STAR systems. To see if homeowners qualify for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation program, which could save money on new equipment, readers may visit www.ugi.com.

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