The school nurse at Harrisburg Middle School had a good idea last year.
Tina Henson thought a health fair aimed for middle school students would go a long way toward educating the students about their health care options.
Last year's fair proved successful so this year Henson repeated the successful program, enlisting the help of 16 exhibitors from the health care industry.
"Prevention is the goal," said Henson.
She organized hospitals, doctors, Illinois State Police, chiropractors, healthy food providers, Shawnee National Forest, Project Connect and Egyptian Health Department to make presentations from booths set up in the school gym.
The booths were designed to teach lessons at the middle school level.
One booth, sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension, taught how to identify poisons. Many products in the market look like products that are outright dangerous.
Medicines look like candy, household cleaners look like apple juice — the list goes on.
The U of I booth offered many examples of these look alike products with their dangerous alternatives. The students had to identify the "poisons."
Another presentation, sponsored by the Illinois State Police, employed special goggles that mimic the effects of alcohol on one's vision. The goggles duplicate the visual impairment of a 1.6 alcohol blood level (twice the legal limit). The students were asked to put on the goggles, walk a straight line and try to shoot a basketball through the hoop. None succeeded.
"I see a lot of different kids with different needs," said Henson. "I want to show them what is available to help them in the community. We have had some students helped through Project Connect since last year."
The Fair was held in the school gym Wednesday during school hours.
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