Monthly Archives: April 2014

How to deal with sunburnPosted on April 30, 2014

As the weather begins to warm and the sun reappears, it can be very tempting to go outside and finally enjoy the comforts of spring. However, as pleasant as the sun’s rays may feel, it’s important to remember that they can be dangerous if you fail to take the proper precautions.

Sunburns look bad, hurt, peel and inflict long-lasting, wrinkle-inducing damage. It can more serious consequences, too – it can increase your risk of developing skin cancer.

In fact, a person’s risk for melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer – doubles if you have five or more sunburns. This statistic is even more troubling when combined with the fact that 42% of people report getting sunburn at least once a year.

If you begin feeling the tale-tell tingling of a burn, or see any sign of skin reddening, get out of the sun and begin treatment. Remember, it can take up to six hours for the symptoms of a sunburn to develop so what may not seem like a big deal now could easily become one later.

After a cool shower or bath, slather on a moisturizing cream or lotion to soothe the skin. Repeat frequently to make peeling and flaking less noticeable, and consider a product containing vitamin C and vitamin E. This could help limit skin damage. It’s okay to use a hydrocortisone cream for a day or two to relieve discomfort, but it’s not okay to scrub, pic, or peel your skin or to break the blisters.

Burns of all natures draw fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body, so you’ll need to drink extra water, juice or sports drinks for a couple of days.

For the most part, you’ll be able to treat your sunburn at home, but if a blistering burn covers 20% or more of your body then you should seek medical attention. Anyone suffering from fevers and chills should also seek medical help.

Following these steps may help reduce the damage of a sunburn, but the best way to combat its dangers remains to avoid burns themselves.

Getting the most out of your sunscreenPosted on April 29, 2014

Sunscreen can, literally, be a life saver – but only if selected and applied correctly.

In general, it is advisable to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. To ensure you get the full effect, however, you need to apply about one ounce (or the amount of a full shot glass). Studies show that most people only apply a quarter to a half of that amount, meaning that they’re actually getting much less of the SPF than what is advertised on the bottle.

During a long day at the beach, one person should use one quarter to one half of an eight-ounce bottle.

You’ll also need to apply sunscreen thirty minutes before going into the sun, and reapply it every two hours. You should also reapply immediately after swimming, toweling off or sweating a great deal. Always apply just as much sunscreen when reapplying as you did initially.

Sunscreen is essential, regardless of age or how cloudy the sky may appear. It is a common misconception that sunscreen isn’t necessary on cloudy days. In reality, 40% of the sun’s UV radiation reaches the earth on a completely cloudy day. Those who assume that most of our exposure to the sun comes as children, meaning that it is too late to make a difference later in life, are also mistaken. In fact, it is men over the age of 40 who spend the most time outdoors and get the highest annual doses of UV rays.

Additional information about sunscreen and skin cancer be found at

Hike for Hospice t-shirts on salePosted on April 27, 2014

The 28th annual Hike for Hospice will take place at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 17 at the SOMC Hospice Center. Check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m.

“Hike for Hospice is a significant fundraiser for SOMC Hospice. The Hike provides an opportunity for community members to gather together, honor their loved ones and support an amazing organization,” Hospice Relations Coordinator Scott Hilbert said. “We are looking forward to this year’s hike. It always generates a large crowd and a lot of fun.”

Participants of the hike raise funds by asking friends to sponsor an amount per kilometer walked or by giving an outright donation. Participants also can join in groups of three or more, presenting banners, shirts or other forms of team-promotion.

Each team will receive one complimentary 8×10 photo and all hikers and supporters will be eligible for various prizes, which will be presented at the end of the hike.

Hike for Hospice T-shirts are available and can be purchased from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 28 – May 1 in the Lobby on the Main Campus or from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 28 – May 17 in the Gibson Building on the East Campus. Cost per shirt is $12 for sizes S—XL or $13 for sizes XXL—XXXL. Shirts can be purchased in bright pink, safety yellow or white. Cash and check will be accepted.

Early registration is encouraged but hikers can also register the day of the event. For more information, please call 740-356-2651.

How to recognize and avoid skin cancerPosted on April 26, 2014

Skin cancer is, by far, the most common type of cancer. In fact, it accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States. Every year, there are more than 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer diagnosed. The most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma, will account for more than 76,000 cases in 2014.

Skin cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells that occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations or genetic defects.

While there are various types of skin cancer, many are caused by excess exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Fortunately, it is entirely possible to prevent and avoid this type of damaging exposure. Simple steps you can take to protect your skin include:

  • Seeking the shade, especially between 10 am and 4 pm;
  • Avoiding tanning and UV tanning booths;
  • Using a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended activity, use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher;
  • Apply 1 ounce of sunscreen to your entire body thirty minutes before going outside – then reapply every two hours, and;
  • Keep newborns out of the sun, and make sure you use sunscreen on babies over the age of six months

Avoiding sunburns is also pivotal to avoiding skin cancer, especially for children. Even one blistering sunburn can double a child’s lifetime risk of melanoma. Five or more sunburns will double the rates of melanoma even in adults.

Exposure to UV rays is not the only risk factor for skin cancer, however. Other risk factors include having a family history, multiple or unusual moles, pale skin or workplace exposure to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds or radium.

The signs and symptoms of skin cancer include any change on your skin, especially in the size or color of a mole. Having a sore that doesn’t heal or the spread of pigmentation (color) beyond its border, such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark, are also signs.

For additional information about skin cancer, visit or

Physical therapy assistant receives APTA honorPosted on April 15, 2014

Ryan Hickman, a physical therapy assistant (PTA) at Southern Ohio Medical Center, recently obtained Recognition of Advanced Proficiency for Physical Therapy Assistants by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

The distinction is given to PTAs who go above and beyond entry-level education in their field. In the past five years, only 15 PTAs in the state of Ohio have received this honor.

“We are very proud of Ryan for committing to becoming such a skilled and talented member of our team,” Kevin Stimpert, director of Rehabilitation at SOMC, said. “This distinction demonstrates Ryan’s dedication to providing exceptional treatment interventions and continued advancement in the profession of physical therapy.”

The minimum requirements for receiving this recognition includes:

  • Five years of experience as a PTA;
  • 2,000 total hours in one specific category (500 of which must have been in the past year);
  • 60 contact hours of continuing education – 75% of which must be in the specified area of study;
  • Above-average job performance within the PT/PTA team, and;
  • Evidence of involvement in at least three activities that demonstrate the applicant’s leadership and contributions to the community

In addition to this most recent achievement, Hickman was also voted as Shawnee State University’s Clinical Instructor of the Year.

Portsmouth Ambulance, Dr. Jessa give ambulance to Nigerian health missionPosted on April 10, 2014

The relationship between a patient and an ambulance is a simple one. The ambulance delivers the patient to a doctor. Less common is the process for which the physician delivers the ambulance to the patients.  Nonetheless, that is part of what Dr. Jessa did on a recent trip to Nigeria.

She delivered a well-equipped ambulance, which was donated by Portsmouth Ambulance to Grace Project International, a nonprofit organization based in the USA that conducts medical missions to rural areas in Nigeria.

The donation was important because of how rare ambulance services are in the area.  In Nigeria, it is common for those in need of medical care to simply be loaded into the backseat of a car and transported to a medical facility.

“Sometimes, they are even taken in wheelbarrows, motorcycles or bicycles especially in the rural areas,” Dr. Jessa said.

Every year in Nigeria nearly one million children under the age of five die from preventable diseases. The level of need in the rural areas is remarkable and the ambulance donation will save lives – not only by transporting patients to hospitals and healthcare facilities, but also moving and delivering supplies. The ambulance can even be used as an examination room.

“I am fortunate to have had the support of so many wonderful people,” Dr. Jessa said. “I cannot express enough how much this means to me, and I am deeply grateful to Mike and Trina Adkins at Portsmouth Ambulance, Southern Ohio Medical Center, Heartland of Portsmouth, Genesis HealthCare of Portsmouth and numerous others who donated generously to make the mission trip possible.”

Dr. Peace Jessa is board certified in Occupational-Environmental Medicine. To schedule an appointment, call 740-356-7685. For more information, visit or like SOMC on Facebook at


SOMC providing free breast cancer screeningsPosted on April 2, 2014

Southern Ohio Medical Center will be providing free clinical breast exams in the months of April and May. The exams are provided for women who are uninsured or underinsured through the Hands of Hope program, which is funded by the Columbus Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The screenings will take place at the SOMC Breast Center from 9am until noon on April 24, May 19 and May 22.

Screenings conducted at the SOMC Breast Center will offer same-day mammography if needed. If you are age 40 or older, or younger with a family history of breast cancer, or have an abnormal finding on a self-breast exam, you can register by calling the SOMC Volunteer Office at 740-356-8234. To learn more, visit

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