Sunscreen matters, even when it snowsPosted on November 30, 2015

No matter what time of year it is, it’s important to wear sunscreen — but it’s only really effective if you’re using the right kind. Here’s a crash course to help you better understand what you’re getting when you purchase your next bottle.

SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor,” and the higher the number the stronger the protection. SPF 15, for example, indicates that it will take 15 hours in the sun for you to receive the same amount of sun damage as you would by spending one hour in the sun unprotected. It blocks about 93% of UV rays. That sounds impressive, but it’s far from the most effective sunblock you could purchase: SPF 50 lets you spend 50 hours in the sun before receiving the equivalent of one unprotected hour in the sun, and it blocks 98% of UV rays.

Whatever sunscreen you wear, though, you should reapply every two hours. You should also make sure it is water-resistant and non-comedogenic. Water-resistant sunscreen means you’ll stay protected even if you decide to take a dip in the pool, while non-comedogenic sunscreen doesn’t block pours, which reduces the chance for pimples and blemishes.

You should apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside to allow the active ingredients time to bind to your skin. The ideal amount to cover your entire body is one to two ounces, which is equal to the size of a ping pong ball or an egg. Make sure you apply it to commonly missed spots, like behind the ears, the back of the neck and on top of your feet.

And, don’t assume that you only need protection from the sun on sunny days. The reality is that the sun’s UV rays can penetrate your skin when it’s cloudy – or even when it’s snowing! In fact, snow and sand increase the need for sunscreen because snow reflects 80% of the sun’s rays, while sand reflects 25%.

How to make sweet treats a little healthierPosted on November 26, 2015

What if you could eat healthier over the holidays without sacrificing sweet treats? It may seem unbelievable, but you can. All you have to do is swap out processed ingredients with more nutritious, lower-calorie alternatives.

Here are some examples.

Instead of using sugar for baking, try using:

  • 1 cup of applesauce (for cakes, cookies and muffins)
  • 6 dates or prunes (for cookies and sweet breads)
  • 1/2 cup raw honey (for cookies, cakes and sweet breads)
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup

Instead of using butter, oil or shortening, you can use:

  • 1 cup of pureed avocado
  • 3/4 cup of mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce, plus 1/2 cup of fat
  • 1 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons of chia seeds, plus one cup of water

Instead of eggs, you can use:

  • 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup of egg substitute
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, plus one cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of pureed silken tofu
  • You can also replace one cup of chocolate chips with one cup of cacao nibs, one cup of Rice Krispies with one cup of brown rice cereal plus two tablespoons of flax meal and one cup of all-natural, whole-grain graham crackers for one cup of crushed cookies.

This kind of creativity is important during the holidays, and not just when it comes to gift giving. By thinking outside the box, you can find ways to cut calories and make this holiday season your healthiest yet!

SOMC Earns An “A” Rating for SafetyPosted on November 20, 2015

Southern Ohio Medical Center recently received a Hospital Safety Score of “A,” based on information obtained by The Leapfrog Group as well as publicly reported data.

The Leapfrog Hospital Survey is the gold standard for comparing a hospital’s performance on national standards, and assigns “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” or “F” grades to more than 2,500 hospitals in the United States.

“We are pleased to have maintained our ‘A’ Hospital Safety Score,” Christy Aeh, director of SOMC Safety Services, said. “Safety is one of SOMC’s strategic values, and something we take very seriously. It is rewarding to see our efforts recognized by such a highly respected organization.”

In addition to earning a Hospital Safety Score of “A,” SOMC also received scores that surpassed state and national averages in 13 quality measures, including those for surgery and medication safety, readmissions, patient falls, and more.

“We hold ourselves to a very high standard in everything that we do,” Vice President of Safety and Support Services Ben Gill said. “It means a lot for our efforts to be recognized in this way.”

For more information about Southern Ohio Medical Center, visit or like SOMC on Facebook at

SOMC offering Holiday Grief Support GroupPosted on November 15, 2015

The holidays can be a difficult time of year for those still grieving the loss of a loved one. That’s why SOMC is offering a five-week “Surviving the Holidays” support group.

The group will show those suffering from loss how they can still enjoy the holidays, while also helping them cope with their sadness. Participants in the group will have the opportunity to share holiday memories and make a keepsake ornament to honor their loved one. They will also have the chance to ask questions and offer support for others who are also dealing with loss.

“Surviving the Holidays” will begin Tuesday, November 24, at 5 p.m. The support group will meet in the conference room of SOMC’s Gibson Building, located on the East Campus.

Space is limited, so registration is necessary. To register, or for more information, call Susan Goins at 740-356-2676.

Ash Dash participants prove they’re up to the challengePosted on November 14, 2015

AshDashWebParticipants in this year’s Raven Rock Ash Dash showed their commitment to healthy living by completing a 5k like no other.

The Ash Dash, which included several challenging obstacles, is designed to push competitors while providing a unique and enjoyable experience. The Ash Dash encourages the community to give up unhealthy habits, such as smoking, and replace them with healthier past-times like physical activity.

To see more photos from this year’s Ash Dash, visit the SOMC LIFE Center Facebook page.

SOMC offering lung cancer screeningsPosted on November 10, 2015

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in our community and in the United States – but with early detection, patients are able to live longer, healthier lives.

In fact, CT screenings have proven to reduce lung cancer deaths by up to 20 percent for qualifying high-risk lung patients.

Southern Ohio Medical Center has developed a lung cancer screening program to meet the needs of this high-risk lung-patient population. Screenings are available to patients who meet the following criteria:

• Age 55-77

• Tobacco smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (which means, on average, you’ve smoked one pack a day for 30 years, or two packs a day for 15 years)

• Current smoker or one who has quit smoking within the last 15 years

• No diagnostic CT scan of the chest in the past 18 months

• No history of lung cancer

• No signs or symptoms of lung cancer

To refer yourself, or for more information, please contact SOMC Lung Health Navigator Jenny Woodyard at 740-356-LUNG.

Ash Dash registration openPosted on November 9, 2015

The Raven Rock Ash Dash will take place on November 14, but would-be participants can begin signing up now.

The Ash Dash is a 5K with obstacles that encourages people to replace a negative habit, like smoking, with a positive one, like running.

“The Ash Dash is one of the more unique 5Ks you’ll ever run,” Community Health and Wellness Director Wendi Waugh said. “It’s a great way to get your adrenaline pumping and test your limits, but most importantly it’s a fun and exciting way to commit yourself to better physical health.”

All participants must sign a waiver in order to participate. Children under the age of 18 are permitted, but must have a waiver signed by a parent or guardian.

All participants will receive an Ash Dash t-shirt. More information can be obtained by calling the SOMC LIFE Center at 740-356-7650. To register, visit

SOMC Named 12th on Modern Healthcare’s “Best Places to Work” ListPosted on November 8, 2015

Southern Ohio Medical Center is proud to announce it has once again been selected as one of the Best Places to Work in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare Magazine.

Winners were ranked on one of two lists for either healthcare provider/insurer or healthcare supplier. SOMC ranked 12th overall and 6th among providers/insurers nationwide. This is the sixth consecutive year that SOMC has been featured on the list.

“We are honored to be recognized as one of the best healthcare facilities to work for by Modern Healthcare,” SOMC President and CEO Randy Arnett said. “Being named to this list is a tremendous accomplishment and says a lot about both the quality of people and care you can expect to find at SOMC.”

The Best Places to Work in Healthcare award recognizes employers for creating workplaces that enable employees to perform at their optimum level while providing the best possible patient care and services.

“It’s all about our employees,” Arnett said. “Our employees love what they do, and sustaining a great place to work allows them to continue providing exceptional care to our patients and their families.”

To achieve this designation, SOMC completed a culture audit questionnaire. The Best Places Group then surveyed SOMC employees regarding policies, practices, benefits, leadership and planning, training and development, and overall satisfaction.

Modern Healthcare revealed the ranked order of the 2015 Best Places to Work in Healthcare at an awards gala in Nashville on Oct. 14.

“SOMC is a great place to work and people want to be a part of that. This distinction, as well as our Magnet designation, VPP Star status, and FORTUNE Best Places to Work award, shows that there is something special at SOMC,” Ken Applegate, director of SOMC Human Resources, said. “These accolades are a great source of pride for our employees and our community and we are honored to be featured among some of the most impressive healthcare providers in the country.”

Heal your mind and body through restorative yogaPosted on November 7, 2015

The SOMC Portsmouth LIFE Center will host a Restorative Yoga class from 4 to 5:45 p.m. Sunday. Nov. 22.

Restorative yoga seeks to achieve physical, mental, and emotional relaxation with the aid of props. While some restorative yoga poses are beneficial to the entire body,
others target specific areas, such as the heart or the lungs.

Restorative Yoga provides healing for the mind and body. It is especially useful when you need to eliminate fatigue and stress that result from daily activities. It can also help you recover from illness and injury, or overcome emotional depression and anxiety that are caused by traumatic events such as divorce, loss of job and death of a beloved.

Participants must bring a Yoga mat, blanket, pillow and two Yoga blocks. Some Yoga mats and blocks are available at the LIFE Center. Participants should stay through the whole session and not leave the room early, as the final relaxation is very important and should be completed without interruptions in the room.

The event is open to ages 14-18 if accompanied by a parent/guardian. Cost is $5 for members and $10 for non-members. The class is limited to 16 people. To register, please call 740-356-7650.

  • More information
  • (740) 356-5000