Packing your child a healthy lunch

Studies have shown that children who eat a well-balanced lunch often do better in school and are more alert. So if you’re a parent who packs their child’s lunch, how do you make sure they’re getting the most out of it? Try these:

First, buy your child a lunchbox that is age appropriate and fits their personality. Make it something fun. They may be more apt to enjoy their lunch if it’s all about them.

Second, remember that you’re not packing a lunch for you. You’re packing a lunch for your child. If you pack things you like but your child hates (like broccoli), you’ll find those foods still sitting in that lunchbox when it comes back home. Offer your child a few healthy choices and let them weigh in on what they want. This way, you can give them a healthy lunch while still letting them feel like they’re in control.

Avoid pre-packaged, processed foods. Sure, they’re convenient and their sizes are kid-friendly, but they’re also expensive and loaded with sodium and preservatives.

Protein will keep your child fuller longer, so make sure it’s a staple of their lunch. If they’re not a fan of meat, you can still give them protein in nuts (as long as there are no allergy concerns). Peanut butter is an excellent option. You could also include a hard-boiled egg or make a tuna salad.

Leftovers can offer a nice change of pace, and give you an opportunity to take a little taste of home with them to the lunchroom. Pack leftover meatballs into a whole-grain hotdog bun for a sandwich. Mix leftover rice and vegetables and top with chunks of pork or chicken.

Instead of chips, try packing something healthier like cheese sticks, whole-grain snack crackers, dried fruit or low-fat yogurt.

But no matter what you pack, make sure its packing keeps it safe. Invest in a reusable ice pack to keep perishables cool, a thermos to hold warm foods and a variety of different sized containers.

Avoiding the “back-to-school” germs

When school starts, it’s not just homework that young students can bring home. They can also bring germs and disease.

School-aged children average five or six colds a year, whereas adolescents average approximately four. Part of that is because of how easily germs can be spread through a school. Touching an object that has been contaminated, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth is a quick way that many children end up sick. The spread of germs can be avoided, however, by following a few simple tips.

First and foremost, make sure you practice good hand hygiene. Simply washing your hands is the most effective way to prevent the spread of colds, the flu and viruses. You should wash your hands after using the bathroom, blowing your nose, handling trash, touching animals and prior to touching food. Just 20 seconds of soap and water can wash away most germs, and using alcohol-based hand cleaners can also work.

Consider buying an alcohol-based hand cleanser for your child’s classroom – it could be put right next to the tissue box. For college students, pack some Clorox wipes so they can wipe bathroom surfaces quickly.

Boosting your immune system can also increase your resistance to illness. Poor nutrition and not getting enough rest – common problems, especially for college students – can weaken your immune system. Instead, eat fruits and vegetables and make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Exercise is also good for your immune system. It will reduce anxiety, stress and help you sleep better. It also gives you a higher energy level, which promotes better concentration.

And finally, stay home if you’re sick. Taking the day off is not only important for your own recovery, but it can prevent the spread of disease and keep your classmates from falling sick as well. A rule of thumb is to stay home until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours.

SOMC’s Tropical Casino Night brings in $28,000

With approximately 200 guests in attendance, it was a full house at the Tropical Casino Night, held July 26 at the SOMC Friends Center.

Hosted by the Southern Ohio Medical Center Development Foundation, guests at Tropical Casino Night put on their poker faces to help raise a total of over $28,000 to benefit the SOMC Development Foundation and the SOMC Nursery Project.

The night was filled with delicious food, fun games and great entertainment that were provided to allow guests to kick back and enjoy an evening dedicated to a good cause. Upon arrival, they received $25,000 in funny money to play games on authentic casino tables hosted by professional dealers. When they weren’t winning big at the tables, people were on their feet and dancing throughout the night.

“Tropical Casino Night offered a chance for guests to relax and have a wonderful time while also supporting the SOMC Nursery Project,” Kara Redoutey, Director of Development, said.

The Newborn Nursery is equipped to care for healthy newborns and also newborns with complications. It offers a variety of services including infection control, prematurity, growth needs, resuscitation, stabilization and preparation for transfer to a Children’s Hospital.

“SOMC strives to provide the latest technology and equipment to ensure the health and safety of patients,” Redoutey said. “Proceeds from Tropical Casino Night will help make a difference within our community and the Newborn Nursery at SOMC.”

For pictures from Tropical Casino Night, like SOMC on Facebook. To learn more about the SOMC Development Foundation and how to make a difference, visit


SOMC offering dementia in-service

Southern Ohio Medical Center is offering a way to help community members learn more about dementia with a free in-service called Improving Communications with Dementia Patients.

Melissa Dever from the Alzheimer’s Association will be presenting at the in-service on August 19 at 1:00pm in the East Campus downstairs conference room at the Gibson Building. 1 free CEU will be given for nursing and social work at this event.

“We encourage the public to attend the in-service to improve relationships with dementia patients through communication,” Erica Kegley, SOMC’s Community Education Manager, said.

The in-service will be free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Boilermakers Local 105 Donates $7,000 to SOMC Hospice

Officers of Boilermakers Local 105 recently presented a check for $7,000 to members of SOMC Hospice. The funds were raised as part of the Boilermakers Local 105 Charity Golf Outing held June 28, and will benefit patients and families who utilize Hospice services in the community. Pictured at the presentation are Teresa Ruby, director of SOMC Hospice; Scott Hammond, business manager and financial secretary of Boilermakers Local 105; Sheila Riggs, claims and information systems coordinator of SOMC Hospice; and Kenny Sturgill, president of Boilermakers Local 105.

SOMC improving lives through corporate wellness

Corporate wellness is a way that employers can help both employees and their families improve their overall health.

Corporate wellness is designed to promote and support healthy behavior in the workplace and home. The corporate wellness programs promote activities in the workplace such as allowing flex time for exercise, providing on-site kitchen and eating areas and offering incentives for participation and more.

The SOMC Healthy Partners corporate program also focuses on healthy habits such as increasing activity, managing chronic conditions, eating healthy and managing emotional health. To help maintain these healthier life choices, SOMC has a dedicated Wellness Specialist that will support and consult employees with their goals.

To test overall health, a corporate wellness program may offer a Health Risk Assessment, lab testings and biometric measurements.

Corporate wellness improves the workplace by making it a more inviting and relaxing environment for the employees. Whether it’s keeping fresh fruit in the cafeteria or installing bike racks, a successful wellness program inspires individuals to make life-altering changes to become healthier.

Through the Community Health and Wellness department, SOMC offers a corporate wellness package to businesses in the community. SOMC partners with employers to help develop, implement and sustain a wellness program that provides a multitude of services such as health screenings, on-site exercise classes, educational offerings and guest lecturers.

For more information about SOMC’s Corporate Wellness program, contact Wendi Waugh at 740-356-7557.

Scarpinato donates $13,000 to Breast Cancer Compassion Fund

Dr. Vincent Scarpinato has spent his career caring for breast cancer patients at Southern Ohio Medical Center. He recently took that commitment even one step further by turning his wedding into an opportunity to raise additional funds for the Breast Cancer Compassion Fund.

By asking friends to make contributions in lieu of gifts, Dr. Scarpinato and Mr. Eric Armstrong were able to donate more than $13,000 to the fund, which supports breast cancer patients by helping cover common necessities such as utilities, medication and transportation.

“The Breast Cancer Compassion Fund is very important to our patients, and it means a lot to me personally,” Dr. Scarpinato said. “I was thrilled to be able to raise this much money for the cause.”

In addition to supporting the Breast Cancer Compassion Fund, Dr. Scarpinato is also a member of the SOMC Development Foundation. The Development Foundation encompasses fundraising efforts for a wide variety of SOMC causes, including Hospice, Heart and Vascular, Pediatrics, Community Health and Wellness, The Endowment Fund and other areas of need.

To find out how you can support the SOMC Breast Cancer Compassion Fund, call 740-356-7490. For more information about the SOMC Development Foundation, call 740-356-2506.

SOMC announces annual Tri for your LIFE triathlon

Southern Ohio Medical Center will host its annual Tri for your LIFE sprint triathlon this August.

This year’s Kids Tri for your LIFE is scheduled for Saturday, August 9. Start time for children between the ages of 11 and 14 is at 9:00am, while children between 7 and 10 will begin at 9:45am.

Prior to the competitive Kids Tri, there will be a Little Bear Run.  Children of all ages are encouraged to come out and run a non-competitive 50 yard dash.  As they cross the finish line, all youth will receive a medal.

The Kids Tri will begin in the Shawnee State University pool, and then transition to a bike ride along the floodwall and finishing with a run through the college campus.

“The Kids Tri for your LIFE gives our youth a chance to experience a variety of healthy activities,” Wendi Waugh, director of Community Health and Wellness said. “Whether you enjoy running, biking or swimming, there’s something for everyone.”

Start time for the adults’ Tri for your LIFE will be 8am on Sunday, August 10. The event will begin with a 200 meter swim in the SOMC LIFE Center pool, a 10 mile bike course and a 5k run through the city of Portsmouth.

“Tri for your LIFE is a great opportunity for athletes of all ages to improve their health and experience the community in a new way,” Waugh said.

Both triathlons can be ran individually or by relay. A duathlon (run, bike, run) is also an option.

Registration for the kids’ triathlon is $25 through July 15 and $35 between July 16 and August 7. Relay registration is $35 through July 15 and $45 between July 16 and August 7.

Registration for the adults’ triathlon is $45 through July 15 and $55 between July 16 and August 7. Relay registration is $55 through July 15 and $65 between July 16 and August 7.

Online registration closes August 7 at 11:59pm and there is no race day registration. For more information or to register, visit

Waverly Urgent Care again named Top Performer by PRC

For the second year in a row, the Waverly Urgent Care and Specialty Center of Southern Ohio Medical Center has been presented with the Top Performer Award by Professional Research Consultants, Inc. for achieving the highest scoring overall quality of care survey results in the PRC 2013 National Patient Database.

The Top Performer Award is annually given to each healthcare facility, healthcare provider, outpatient service line, and inpatient unit that scores at or above the 100th percentile for overall quality of care. The Waverly Urgent Care scored the highest of 125 urgent care centers across the country, and has scored at or near 100 percent for overall quality of care since its opening in June 2012.

The center was also recognized with a 5-Star Award for scoring in the top 10 percent of PRC’s national client database for the prior calendar year.

“Our team is very proud to serve Pike County and the patients of this community,” Elvis Walters, nurse manager of the SOMC Waverly Urgent Care and Specialty Center, said. “We look forward to continuing our commitment to service and quality excellence.”

Pictured at the award presentation are SOMC Waverly Urgent Care and Specialty Center employees (left to right) Teresa Wright-Hiles, Judy Chandler, Amy Shepherd, Stacey Paugh, Elvis Walters, and Andrea Tackett.