As we enter the dog days of summer, vacation season is heating up with more activities and social gatherings. But while you're busy having fun, don't neglect your health. Even if your doctor takes the summer off, there's a way to get quick and free health checks.
Roslyn-based St. Francis Hospital operates a health-screening van that rolls out to Long Island communities on most days of the year.
The van typically makes one stop a day, usually at libraries, community centers and health fairs.
"This is immediate, no appointment necessary, you can come on a regular basis," says Pamela Cruz-Ford, St. Francis's manager of community outreach.
Among the services offered are blood-pressure tests, screenings for diabetes and a simple blood test for cholesterol. You will get your results while you are there. The van is staffed by registered nurses who will help you understand the results and offer guidance if the numbers are outside the normal range.
The diabetes test can be especially indicative of potential health problems. Blood will be drawn, but don't be afraid. "It's a tiny little pinprick," Cruz-Ford says. In about seven minutes, you will get your blood-sugar results. The screening for cholesterol is a "simple" test, meaning it will be the total number and not separate numbers for the so-called good and bad cholesterol.
Below is a list of upcoming dates and places where the van will be.
July 15 -- Bethpage Skating Center, Cherry and Stewart avenues
July 16 -- Bethel AME Church, 420 N. Main Street, Freeport
July 17 -- Long Beach Library, 11 W. Park Ave.
July 18 -- Elmont Public Library, 700 Hempstead Tpke.
July 21 -- Williston Park Library, 494 Willis Ave.
July 22 -- St. Hugh of Lincoln Roman Catholic Church, 1 E. Ninth St., Huntington Station
July 23 -- Island Park Public Library, 76 Long Beach Rd.
July 24 -- Plainview-Old Bethpage Community Park, 175 Washington Ave., Plainview
July 28 -- Bar Beach Health Fair, West Shore Road, Port Washington
The services are available to anyone 18 and older. Times for the health screenings at each site are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Check the hospital's continually updated website (nwsdy.li/stfrancisvan) as more sites are added, or call 516-629-2013. If you are an official of a community center or religious institution, you can call that number to schedule the van at your organization.