SOMC welcomes new Junior Volunteers

Jr VolunteersWebSouthern Ohio Medical Center welcomed a new team of Junior Volunteers recently.

SOMC’s Junior Volunteers are given the opportunity to create valuable contacts and skills while supporting the staff and patients at SOMC. All Junior Volunteers must be at least 15-years old. For more information, click here.

Summer Family Hours available at LIFE Centers

The SOMC LIFE Center is now offering summer “Family Hours” at all three locations. Family hours allow the children of Life Center members to use the facility for free, as long as they are accompanied by their parent.

Summer Family Hours at Portsmouth, Wheelersburg and Lucasville locations are from 1 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. These are in addition to regular Family Hours, which are on Friday nights from 7 to 10 p.m., as well as on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.

During Family Hours, children under the age of 14 may use the facility as long as they are provided by a parent, grandparent or legal guardian. Children 12 and under may use the gym, pool, track, weight room and machines. Children 11 and under may use the gym and pool areas with adult accompaniment.

Family Hours at the Wheelersburg and Lucasville locations, however, are only for children 12 and older.

If you have a child of the opposite sex that is over the age of five, you must use the family locker room.

For more information about the SOMC LIFE Center or Family Hours, call 740-356-7650.

UV system implemented for LIFE Center pool

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just a summer dabbler, anyone who has ever been around a swimming pool is bound to recognize the distinct smell of chlorine. Touted for its ability to sanitize, oxidize, and deter algae, the popular chemical ensures that swimming pools are bacteria free and ready for use during the warm summer months.

Unfortunately, there are also many health concerns associated with chlorine by-products, which commonly cause red, stinging eyes, skin irritations, asthma, coughing, and other allergy symptoms.

The LIFE Centers of Southern Ohio Medical Center are seeking to lessen these concerns through the installation of an ultraviolet (UV) pool sanitizer at its Portsmouth location (1202 18th Street).

“SOMC is constantly seeking innovative ways to improve the cleanliness of our facilities and continually meet and surpass national safety standards,” Wendi Waugh, director of the SOMC LIFE Centers and Community Health & Wellness, said. “The cleanliness of an environment can directly impact satisfaction, and we want to ensure that our patrons are receiving the most enjoyable experience possible. Our investment in this UV technology will help us meet that goal.”

SOMC’s new ultraviolet system uses a medium-pressure light to alter the DNA of targeted germs such as algae, bacteria, viruses, cysts and protozoa. This cutting-edge, non-chemical process is a safe way to sanitize water, air, and surfaces, and eliminates unwanted chlorine by-products (including that all-to-familiar chemical smell).

“The presence of this system will not only eliminate the allergic reactions that affect many of our patrons and staff members, but will also add another layer of disinfection to further decrease the outbreaks of Recreational Water-Borne Illnesses that have occurred over the past few years,” Suzie Hunter, aquatics supervisor for the LIFE Center, said. “These improvements are very substantial for our facility and we hope all of our customers will reap the benefits.”

For more information about memberships to the Portsmouth, Wheelersburg or Lucasville LIFE Center locations, please call 740-356-7650 or visit them online at

SOMC Unveils New Employee-Giving Program

Southern Ohio Medical Center is excited to announce the launch of its own community-giving program—the SOMC Make A Difference Fund. This new fund will take the place of SOMC’s annual United Way Campaign.

“Much like the United Way Campaign, the SOMC Make A Difference Fund will play an important role in helping our employees support the local community,” Kara Redoutey, director of SOMC Community Relations and Development, said.

The process to donate toward the SOMC Make a Difference Fund will operate the same as that of the United Way Campaign. Employees will still utilize payroll deduction to give a percentage of their paycheck to a designated local charity. However, instead of donating toward one charity encompassed by the United Way, employees will actually have the power to vote on which five organizations should be included in SOMC’s campaign for 2016.

“Because SOMC will oversee the program, we can also ensure that 100 percent of employee donations will go to the designated charities,” Redoutey explained. “This differs from the United Way, which subtracts a percentage of donations to cover their operating costs.”

The voting process for the Make A Difference Fund will launch via e-mail July ##. Employees will be asked to complete an online survey, where they will be able to vote for one local charity to be included among SOMC’s top five charities. Once the top five charities are established, employees will receive giving-cards that will allow them to donate a portion of their paycheck to the charity of their choice.

SOMC is able to manage the Make A Difference Fund in-house because of the continued growth of the SOMC Development Foundation. The Development Foundation raises funds from individual donations as well as corporate partners, and then uses those funds to address a variety of needs identified within the community.

“Having a team in place to manage programs like this affords us greater freedom in giving back,” Redoutey said. “It helps us empower local people to address local needs.”

Camp LIFE registration open

FigSouthern Ohio Medical Center’s annual Camp LIFE program, which encourages children to stay active and healthy over the summer, is set to take place June 8-12 and July 13-17 at the Portsmouth LIFE Center.

“Camp LIFE was developed as a way to combat occurrences of obesity and type 2 diabetes in children, but has attracted a wide variety of participants because of the enjoyable and educational activities it provides,” Brad Zieber, supervisor of PT, PEC and Special Projects at the SOMC LIFE Center, said.

“The program is really just a great way for kids to make new friends, get fit, and learn skills that will help them stay healthy long after camp is over.”

The camp sessions will last from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, which drop-off beginning at 8:45 a.m. The program is open to children ages 7 to 13, and parents can register for one or both of the week-long sessions being offered.

“During camp, we teach children the basic principles of nutrition and exercise through cooking and physical activities that keep them entertained,” Zieber said. “We prepare lunch and snacks together, play healthy games, and stress the importance of fitness through daily walks, swimming and other sports. The program is designed in a way that can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of physical condition or ability, and we always have a lot of fun.”

Cost to participate is $85 per child. For more information or to register, please visit the Portsmouth LIFE Center or call 740-356-7650.

Casino Night fundraiser set for July 11

PrintSouthern Ohio Medical Center’s annual Casino Night fundraiser will take place on Saturday, July 11 at the SOMC Friends Center.

The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. and include gaming, heavy hors d’oeuvres and prize drawings throughout the evening. Proceeds from Casino Night will go towards the SOMC Development Foundation’s Annual Fund.

“Casino Night is an opportunity to have a good time while supporting a good cause,” Director of Development and Community Relations Kara Redoutey said.

Individual tickets cost $50 each and come with $25,000 in funny money to be used for the event’s many games.

Sponsorships are also available: It is $500 to become a Silver Sponsor, which comes with four tickets, $25,000 in funny money per person and recognition at a gaming table. A Gold Sponsorship costs $1000, comes with ten tickets, $25,000 of funny money per person, recognition at a gaming table and recognition at the event.

Additional information is available by calling 740-356-2794 or emailing

Important bicycle safety tips

Flowers aren’t the only thing that come out in Spring – you’re likely to notice more bicyclists out and about as well. An estimated 30% of Americans own bicycles, and 45% of them ride at least occasionally.

If you’re behind the wheel of a car, it’s important to keep an eye out for bicyclists – but there are also several safety tips you should keep in mind if you’re the one actually on the bike.

First, you should check your bike before riding it. Make sure that there aren’t any issues that might prevent you from traveling safely. Once the bike checks out, put on a helmet. Wearing a properly fitted helmet can reduce your risk of head injury by 74-85%.

Don’t wear loose clothing when riding a bike. It can get caught in the bike’s chain, gears or breaks. In fact, you should consider clipping your pants to make them fit closer to your legs. If you’re riding at night, wearing reflective gear is highly recommended.

When riding on the road, stay on the right side and ride in a straight line. You should ride in the same direction as traffic and take less-traveled routes so you won’t have to compete with larger vehicles for a piece of the road. When riding past parked cars, keep a car door’s width of distance from them just in case somebody opens the door as you go by.

There are some rules that apply whether you’re in a car or on a bike, such as never assuming that other drivers can see you. When bicycling, you are also obligated to obey traffic signs and signals. This means stopping at stop signs and red lights. You should obey the two-second rule, as well. When a car in front of you passes a fixed object, begin counting. If you reach that same object in less than two seconds, you’re following too closely.

The number one safety tip no matter how you travel, though, is to be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for cars, bikers and pedestrians at all times – because you never know if they’re watching out for you.

How much do you know about your skin?

Skin is your body’s largest organ, but how much do you actually know about it? In recognition of skin cancer awareness month, here are some facts you may not realize.

• Your outer layer of skin is thinner than Saran Wrap.

• When it comes to skin, men and women were not created equal – a woman’s skin is thinner and less oily than that of a man. This means women also sweat less and, thus, are more likely to suffer heat stroke.

• The bottom of your feet has the thickest skin. Your eyelids have the thinnest.

• Between 30 and 40 thousand skin cells fall off your body every minute.

• Vitamin D (sun exposure) helps us absorb calcium for stronger, healthier bones

• Some researchers recommend that having up to 30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at least twice a week (without sunscreen) is enough to meet your body’s Vitamin D needs.

• Infants have thinner skin and underdeveloped melanin so their skin burns much easier than that of older children.

• The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that all children – regardless of skin tone – wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

• One bad sunburn in childhood increases your risk of developing melanoma later in life.

“Slip, Slip, Slap and Wrap” your way to healthy skin

Protecting yourself from the sun is about more than sunscreen and SPF. There are other steps you should take to make sure your relaxing day in the sun doesn’t become a health problem later in life.

• Babies under six months of age should avoid sun exposure. For children six months and older, try lotion formulas that are hypoallergenic and tear-free.

• For sensitive skin, we recommend that patients with conditions such as rosacea or acne choose sunscreen options that contain zinc oxide.

• For swimming or other “wet” or “sweaty” activities, choose a water-resistant formula. These products are resistant for 40 or 80 minutes, which means you’ll need to reapply at least every two hours.

• Layer your sun protection. Wear dark, tightly woven fabrics when possible, or opt for clothing with UPF.

• Remember to wear sun glasses, hats and to apply sun screen to your lips, ears and neck!

• Seek shade, especially during the sun’s peak intensity hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

• Remember that the sun’s rays bounces off concrete, snow and sand!

If this seems like a lot to remember, it can be boiled down to four words: “Slip! Slop! Slap! Wrap!” Every year, the Friday before Memorial Day is designated as National “Don’t Fry” Day. On this day, we encourage you to remember to: Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a wide-brimmed hat and wrap on some sun glasses.

For more information about how you can keep yourself healthy during the summer, “like” SOMC on Facebook at