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BHS students learn healthy habits at health fair

BHS students received a hands-on health education from first and second-year University of New England medical students during the first BHS student health fair

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BHS students were given the opportunity to participate in different types of medical and health simulations on April 14th brought to the school by The University of New England Medical School.

First and second year students at UNE med school set up multiple booths giving BHS students the opportunity to participate in learning activities ranging from how to properly suture a wound to yoga techniques. The purpose of the event is to inform the community of useful medical procedures and practices that any person can use in time of a crisis and to promote healthy lifestyle practices.

UNE medical student James Brazdzionis ran the CPR booth teaching students how to give hands-only CPR. During this process they actually practiced on CPR dummies pumping on the chest wall to the beat of the song “Staying Alive.”

Paige Lessard

“What we are trying to do is expand the knowledge to you guys because it can really make a difference, and people who have been exposed to it tend to do it more than those who haven’t,” said Brazdzionis. “I’ve had some students actually come back with friends and say ‘I’m going to teach you CPR’ and showed their friends how to do this.”

Another popular booth at the health fair was where students learned to suture deep cuts on a real pig’s hip. One ninth grader, Ryan Brown learned this technique and enjoyed the experience.

“It was kind of fun, it’s actually easy” said Brown. “I’ll use this technique because when I’m skateboarding I’m going to need to know how to stitch myself.”

Angela Jacavone, a volunteer at the relationship booth shared with students her opinion on high school relationships and the knowledge of abuse within relationships.

“In high school, a lot of people are in relationships or thinking about becoming in a relationship and I feel like everyone knows about physical abuse, but they might not necessarily know about emotional abuse or digital abuse,” said Jacavone. “This [healthy relationships packet] outlines it and also goes over what goes on in a healthy relationship because that’s really important.”

Jacavone said that the booth’s literature and quizzes were quite popular with students.

“I think that when people go over the ‘Am I a Good Partner Quiz’ they realize ‘maybe I’m doing some things that are actually hurting my partner’,” said Jacavone. “They can identify that and try to work on it.”

Next door, Health Club members Brianna Barbosa-Angles and Santiago Castro tried to make students aware of STI [Sexually Transmissible Infection].

“We figured just focusing on STIs in general, it’s super common and it’s a risk you are taking when you are sexually active,” Castro said.

Freshman Jamie Pineda learned all about the dangers of STDs and STIs and sexual safety.

“I see these myths that I thought were actually true, but I guess they’re not,” said Pineda. “I see these pictures and stuff and I don’t want that.”

Another table at the health fair gave students information on the importance of locally grown food and its health benefits. Tying in with the theme of food and how it affects the body, the blood pressure booth run by medical student Mae Clampa taught students how common high blood pressure is throughout the country.

“The purpose of our booth is to talk about blood pressure, which is a big problem in the United States,” Clampa said.

One of the things they did was give blood pressure screenings.

“We just check what the pressure on your arteries is when your heart is beating, and then the pressure on your arteries between beats,” Clampa said.

The organizer and manager of the event, Allison Hockman said that the public health club at UNE was comprised of first and second year medical students prepared and planned the entire event.

“We wanted to have an opportunity for our med students to come out and teach people in the community about health,” said Hockman.

Students like Melody Michaud enjoyed the experience of the activities and learned a few things while participating.

“I learned how to take my blood pressure and somebody elses,” said Michaud. “I tried yoga which was my favorite booth so far.”

Every booth had something interactive for the students to take part in. Rachel Sluder ran the arthritis booth and ran the simulation that made students wear gloves with cotton balls in the fingertips and attempt to zip a zipper.

“As students begin to try on the medical gloves, you see as there are cotton balls at the tip of each finger, blocking the ability to feel your finger and what you are physically touching,” Sluder said.

Making students aware of the dangers of drunk driving was the main focus of UNE’s  Addiction Medicine Club member, Cristen Nash’s booth.

Paige Lessard

“They have homemade beer goggles and [the students] put them on and then they have to sort of simulate being drunk by spinning them around and then having them walking in a straight line,” Nash said.

The drunk driving booth made students like freshman Katie Monson more aware of the dangers of drinking and driving.

“The beer goggles were kinda gross because there was vaseline in them and it was tough,” said Monson. “I couldnt see anything and I kept falling over and you shouldn’t drink and drive.”

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The student news site of Biddeford High School in Biddeford, Maine
BHS students learn healthy habits at health fair