Free farmer respiratory checks a lifesaver

SAM Hines counts himself as one of the lucky ones. 

Since being diagnosed with diabetes, kidney failure and a chronic blocked artery, Mr Hines understands the value of regular health check-ups. 

It was not surprising then that Mr Hines lauded the free respiratory health check screenings at the National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) and GMHBA Health insurance stall at the Sungold Field Days. 

A farmer for many years Mr Hines said that he had seen too many fellow farmers take their health for granted.

“Too many people die around the age of 50, even though they thought they were as healthy as can be.”

Health professional at the NCFH Adrian Calvano, said that there was a strong connection between farming and the occurrence of respiratory diseases. 

“Farmers spend their careers in the elements. They are exposed to dust, fungi, bacteria and minerals constantly,” he said. 

“Unfortunately, respiratory diseases are also often left off the map. They’re not frequently screened for and that’s why we’re here — to provide screening accessibility to farming communities.”

The screening test is simple, requiring the person to blow into a small tube for five seconds. The test measures respiratory volume and determines if their might be any blockage in the airways. 

“We hope that by providing this we can help people catch any issues early so we can prevent lung diseases from developing,” Mr Calvano said. 

Mr Calvano said the field days stall had screened ‘heaps’ of people who wouldn’t have otherwise been checked. 

After Mr Hines’ screening he thanked the stall for the service. 

“If they find just one person with a health problem and can assist them, then they’ve done a good job,” he said.

The stall, at the A. J. Rea Pavilion, is offering the screenings throughout the field days.

Mr Calvano also recommended that farmers buy P2-approved masks to help reduce the risk of developing respiratory problems. 

They are available from the Farmer Health website http://www.farmerhealth.org.au

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