Category Archives: Parish Nurse

Who Do You Call When There Is Nowhere Else To Turn? DIAL 2-1-1

United Way funds 2-1-1 , an information and referral line that connects Quad Citians to the services they need, including help with childcare, food, rent, or any other health and human services need.  <!–split–>

Representatives are trained information and referral professionals who can answer your questions and will direct you to the best resources in the Quad Cities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential.

In the last year, call specialists fielded over 12,000 calls, connecting people to a wide variety of programs. Simply dial 2-1-1 to get connected.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara 

Make Healthy Holiday Choices

The holiday season brings thoughts of family, friends, fun and food. However, each year millions of Americans struggle to maintain their waistlines during the holidays while surrounded by tempting treats. Consider the following healthy tips to enjoy all your holiday parties – while also staying in control of your eating:   <!–split–>

  • Do not leave the house on an empty stomach – this promotes overeating.
  • Make socializing your top priority; conversation will keep you occupied and away from the food table.
  • Abstain from or limit your drinking, as alcohol increases hunger and lowers willpower.
  • Reduce your portion sizes and stop eating when you feel satisfied rather than stuffed.
  • If you are the one hosting a holiday event, use this to your advantage.

Substitute high-fat or calorie-laden ingredients with more healthy choices. Remember… the holidays are no time to abandon your healthy habits or feel pressured to eat and drink more than usual. Make sure you get plenty of sleep, exercise and plan your meals ahead of time.

Instant Energizer

What if I told you that I had the secret to one of the greatest relaxation techniques available today? Something that not only relaxes the body, but also refreshes and invigorates it! Great men throughout history have known the secret, and yet not many people take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to sharpen our minds and improve our spirits. It’s something that comes naturally and we all learned it as infants, practiced it as toddlers, and fight the urge as adults. <!–split–>

The answer is: napping!

There is new respect for the notion of an afternoon nap. The list of famous nappers goes on and on, including Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison. Not a bad club to join! The most common response in America to that mid-afternoon droop is to fight it with caffeine. But your brain is telling you that it needs a rest. And a rest is what will really jump start your system. Studies have shown  napping reduces accidents and mistakes, and actually increases productivity. One NASA study showed a pilot’s alertness and performance was greatly improved after a 42-minute nap. Research shows that humans need 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Those who receive less than 6 hours of nighttime sleep triple their chances of having an accident. Your internal clock is programmed to make you feel sleepy twice a day—usually between 1-3 pm, and again at night.

Napping is one way to avoid that lethargy in the afternoon. In some cultures, a nap after lunch is a way of life. Timing for your nap is very important. The time to schedule your nap is about 8 hours after you wake up. A nap too late in the day may make it difficult to fall asleep that night. Listen to your body. When you start to feel tired or sleepy, that is the perfect time to take your power nap.   The length of your nap is very important too—20 minutes seems to be the magic number. Any longer, and you tend to feel groggy instead of refreshed. Whether you are at home or at work, find a quiet place to stretch out, and just relax. A small blanket may make you more comfortable. Be sure you set either an alarm or ask someone to wake you at the end of 20 minutes. Cell phones have alarms that can be set too.  Pick your spot—peaceful, dim surroundings work best. Plan your nap for the time you usually feel sleepy during the afternoon. Don’t worry about falling asleep, try to direct your thoughts to non-work ideas. The more you practice falling asleep for a nap, the easier it becomes. Give yourself a few minutes to really wake up afterward—a good stretch and a drink of water can help.

If you are not in an environment where a nap is possible, or you just cannot turn your brain off and rest, there are other ways to boost your energy.

  • Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night
  • Eat a moderately sized lunch, and later eat a snack with a protein and complex carbohydrates (ex: cheese and wheat crackers) instead of a sugary snack or caffeine. Your energy boost will last much longer
  • Take a brisk 10-20 minute walk to increase your energy
  • Change your activities from passive to active if you can—even if it means walking down the hall to deliver a message instead of an e-mail

The thought that you can rejuvenate your body with something so simple is really quite amazing. So be good to yourself, and you may find a whole new world of energy and creativity opening up to you.

More info:

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Toy Safety

The safety of our children and the toys they play with is of concern to all parents. It is inconceivable that a toy maker would produce a product that might injure or kill a child, but this is the sad truth. While there are far more watch dogs and parent groups these days who evaluate the risk different toys pose, it is still up to those who care for children to make educated decisions regarding what toys end up in their homes. <!–split–>

Hospital emergency rooms treat about 217,000 toy-related injuries each year. An average of 15 children under the age of 14 die each year from one of these injuries. By following some simple guidelines, we can help prevent a tragic injury or death from something meant to be innocent and fun.

Balloons have been banned from pediatric wings of hospitals because they are the leading cause of suffocation deaths in children. This can happen while the child is trying to blow up a balloon, or from sucking or chewing on it. The un-inflated balloon gets stuck in the child’s small throat when he takes in a breath. While most deaths occurred in children under six years of age, some older children have also suffocated.

Crib toys that are strung across a crib or play pen must be removed when the baby is about five months old. Once they can pull themselves up, they can get tangled in the toy and strangle.

Necklaces, straps, and cords can also become wrapped around a child’s neck. Any toy with a string, cord, or strap should be kept out of the reach of a young child. The straps on toy guitars have been known to strangle youngsters.

The most frequent cause of a toy related death is choking on a small part. There are “small parts testers” available to help you determine what size is dangerous. You can also use an empty toilet paper roll. If a part fits inside the roll, it is too small for little children to safety play with it.

Select appropriate toys for the child’s age. There are written guidelines on most toys, and any toy store can guide your selection. Here are some general tips:

  • Under age 1: activity quilts, stuffed animals without button noses, bath toys, cloth books
  • Age 1-3: musical toys, large balls, shape toys, books, push and pull toys, blocks
  • Age 3-5: simple art supplies, dolls, musical instruments, tricycles, swings, slides
  • Age 5-9: crafts, jump ropes, puppets, books, trains, sports equipment, learning toys
  • Age 9-14: pick-up sticks, board games, outdoor and sports equipment, computers, marbles

To keep the toys of older children away from younger children, teach the older kids to put their things away after playing with them. Keep the toys for different age groups separated. Toy chests must have safety hinges to prevent them from accidentally closing on a child. If your toy chest doesn’t have these special hinges, take the lid off the chest. Actively supervise children who are playing with a toy that has small parts, electric or battery power, moving parts, or any potentially dangerous parts. Active supervision does not mean just looking in on the kids, but keeping them within sight and reach.

Follow these safety tips, and keep our kids safe.

  • Consider the child’s age before buying a toy
  • Read labels and follow safety guidelines
  • Keep small parts away from kids under 3
  • Throw away a toy’s packaging before giving it to a small child
  • Be sure caregivers and grandparents are aware of safety concerns
  • Store toys according to their age level
  • Check all toys (old and new) for small parts and sharp edges

For more information:  OR

Kara Ade, Parish Nurse

Cutting Down On Sweets Can Help Kid’s Heart

Risk Factors Improved After Just 10 Days Of Sugar Restriction, Study Finds

“Tuesday, July 19, 2016 (HealthDay News) – Cutting sugar – not calories – is the key to reducing the risk of heart disease among obese children, a new study suggests.  <!–split–>

Curbing the kids’ sugar intake improved their triglyceride levels (a type of blood fat, or “lipid”) as well as levels of a protein associated with heart disease, known as ApoC-III, researchers found.

” ‘The blood lipid responses of these children is nothing short of astounding, and unrelated to calories or weight change,’ said study second author Dr. Robert Lustig. He is a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco.

” ‘In order to get this degree of lipid and protein reduction by just eating less, a patient would need to lose…one-fifth of their body weight,’ Lustig explained in a university news release.

“The study involved 43 obese children aged 9 to 18 who had at least one chronic metabolic disorder, such as high blood pressure, high triglycerides, or a marker for fatty liver. For 9 days, the children ate and drank as they normally would with one exception: All sugary foods, such as sweetened yogurt and cake, were replaced with starchy items, including bagels and pizz. Overall, the kids’ dietary sugar fell from 28% to just 10% of their total calories, and fructose dropped from 12% to 4% of their total calories the findings showed.

“Blood tests before and after the study period found that cutting kids’ sugar intake resulted in a 33% drop in triglycerides and a 49% drop in ApoC-III.

“The study’s first author, Dr. Alejandro Gugliucci, said ‘While statins are effective in lowering LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) they only reduce heart disease risk by 50%. The other villain is blood lipid triglycerides and the associated protein ApoC-iII.’

“Gugliucci, a professor and associate dean for research at Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine, added that the new study found ‘that just reducing sugar consumption did a wonderful job in lowering these 2 key risk factors by 30-50%.’

“The researchers noted small dense LDL, a type of cholesterol tied to heart disease, also disappeared. ‘Many researchers now believe that high LDL is bad only when is packaged in small containers – so-called small dense LDL. In our study we found that small LDL which is not normally seen in children, disappeared. We also discovered that the HDL (‘good’ cholesterol) particle got bigger, which is consistent with cardiovascular protection,’ Gugliucci said in the new release.

“Sugar calories are simply different from other calories, the study authors suggested.

“Lustig explained that ‘sugar is uniquely metabolized to fat in the liver, which leads to fat accumulation in the bloodstream, driving heart disease. As long as we focus on total calories rather than on what those calories are and how they are metabolized, the obesity, diabetes, and heart disease epidemics will continue.’

“The study finds were published on-line, July 19th in the journal Atherosclerosis. For more information, the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about risk factors for heart disease.”

SOURCE: UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, news release, July 19, 2016.

Your Parish Nurse,


10 Essentials For Eating Well On The Road

  1. Small containers of a favorite yogurt. Perfect for a quick breakfast with some berries and whole grain and pumpkin seed granolafor crunch.
  2. No-fuss fruit. Things like organic grapes, berries, cherries and stone fruit like nectarines, peaches or plums are easy to eat with one hand on the wheel.  <!–split–>
  3. Pre-cut veggies and dips. For example, eggplant “bacon”makes for a great dipper. And  hummus with toasted sunflower seeds is just delicious.
  4. A few servings of pre-cooked grains.
  5. A selection of cheeses plus crackers or some crusty bread.
  6. A few bags of crunchy snacks like popcorn, tortilla chips and pretzels. Throw in a few jars of salsa and some hot mustard (for dipping the pretzels) and you’ll have a few really good snack options at the ready.
  7. Miniature cookies for when you just need a little something sweet.
  8. Ice cold drinks…plus a few for back up. Keep a few bottles of lemonade or ice tea on hand for when the afternoon drowsiness hits. Extra bottles are easy to stash and then add to the cooler when the cold ones are gone!
  9. Jerky! Turkey, tofu, salmon, beef, bison – there are so many types to choose from. It’s the perfect road trip snack when you need a protein fix.
  10. Hand wipes. They’re obviously not road food but they’re essential for cleaning up your hands (and other stuff) after a meal in the car or dining al fresco.

Recipes and more can be found at

Enjoy your summer travels!

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Men’s Health – Take Control!

There is a crisis in men’s health. Because of poor health habits, lack of health insurance, failure to seek medical attention and dangerous occupations, men live sicker and die younger than women. Men die at higher rates for 9 of the top 10 causes of death. This includes deaths from cancer, diabetes, suicide and accidents; and diseases of the heart, kidney and liver.  <!–split–>

Take control of your health by getting a yearly check-up from your healthcare provider. Your best chance of avoiding health problems that afflict men are prevention, self-examination and regular physician visits. Regular screening can catch many health problems in an early stage, when treatment is most likely to be successful.

If you do not have a healthcare provider or cannot afford one, look for health fairs, free clinics and free screening events in your area. Ask your employer, fraternal organizations or place of worship to establish a yearly health fair or screening event. Men’s Health network can provide advice and guidance for these events.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Why Is It So Difficult To Get Good Sleep As We Age?

Not sleeping well? Age-related insomnia is not something you should ignore. <!–split–>

If you are having trouble sleeping, don’t stay in bed. Leave the room until you feel drowsy. Key takeaways:

  • Not getting enough sleep as an older adult has been linked to long-term memory problems. Many seniors’ circadian rhythms change as they get older, which can lead to insomnia and poor quality sleep. Sticking to a strict bedtime and waking time is the first step to better rest.
  • It’s a myth that older adults need less sleep than young adults: Seniors still need between 7-9 hours of sleep according to the National Institute on Aging. And it’s no secret we need adequate rest to stay healthy. After years of studying what happens to our bodies and brains while we’re asleep, neurologists and other scientists have established a link between consistent, refreshing sleep and physical and emotional wellbeing. This connection intensifies with age, and can result in memory problems, being more prone to falls, and feeling depressed.
  • Sleep problems are more than an annoyance, they’re a threat to health and longevity. Several studies, including a small 2012 study published in the Annuals of Internal Medicine have found a link between sleep deprivation and insulin resistance. Another study, published in 2013 in Nature Neuroscience, found poor deep sleep in older adults is directly linked to brain deterioration and memory problems.

Related: The Health Risks Of Long-Term Sleep Deprivation

As people grow older, they tend to have more trouble falling asleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. In fact, the National Institutes of Health report that almost half of adults age 60 and over are affected by insomnia.

Sleep deprivation in older adults may result from one or more factors, including:

  1. Biological. Circadian rhythms – our natural sleep-wake cycles that last roughly 24 hours – determine the times we fall asleep and wake up. As we age, our sleeping patterns can change. Older adults tend to get sleepier earlier in the evening, which means they usually wake earlier in the morning: a circadian rhythm sleep disorder known as advanced sleep phase disorder (ASP), according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. For some, this change is inconsequential: They still get 7-8 hours of sleep, just at an earlier time than they used to. But for others, their internal clocks go haywire, and they struggle to fall or stay asleep. For older people especially, that can become a vicious circle. The longer the sleep problems persist, the harder it is to readjust to normal patterns.
  2. Medical. Many older adults develop chronic health conditions that impair the quality of their sleep. Prominent among these are diabetes, gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), heart disease and depression, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arthritis and other chronic pain can also wreak havoc on sleep and hot flashes and hormonal fluctuations during menopause can interfere as well. Sleep apnea, a condition marked y repeatedly interrupted breathing a night often prevents individuals from getting sufficient rest. Medications can disturb sleep too; for example, diuretics for treating high blood pressure and heart disease may require numerous trips to the bathroom.
  3. Emotional. Anxiety and depression arising from situations such as an empty nest, retirement, the loss of a close friend, and financial or health challenges can seriously curtail sleep. Even worrying about not getting enough sleep can result in poor or less sleep. Clearly going to bed with a lot on your mind isn’t conducive for a good night’s rest.
  4. Environmental. People who have recently moved to a nursing home or an assisted-living facility often miss the comforts they enjoyed when they were on their own. As a result, their quality of sleep may decline.

How To Get A Good Night’s Rest

Although some aspects of aging are out of your control, there are steps you can take to improve your quality of sleep, which in turn can improve your mental and physical health. The National Institute on Aging suggests taking these steps to get better rest.

  • Stick To A Schedule. Monitoring and controlling your circadian rhythm is key to proper sleep. Go to sleep and wake at the same time every day – even weekends. If you take a nap, do it at least 3 hours before your bedtime in order to avoid being kept up late.
  • Make A Routine. Make it a habit to do whatever relaxes you, such as reading, writing, or soaking in the tub before bed. Try to avoid computer screens in the hour prior to sleep, as the blue light has shown to effect the hormone closely tied to sleep.
  • Enhance The Bedroom. The bedroom should ideally be for 2 things only: sleep and sex. So keep your television out of the bedroom. The room should also be dark, cool, and quiet.
  • Embrace Exercise. Being active can greatly improve your sleep quality. Just be fure not to exercise within 3 hours of bedtime as it can keep you awake.
  • Be Smart About What You Eat And Drink. Eating large meals close to bedtime or drinking caffeine and alcohol will make it much harder for you to fall or stay asleep. A small snack before bedtime can be helpful. Also try not to drink as many beverages as it gets later into the evening as it increases the likelihood that you will need to the restroom in the middle of the night.

Sleep has a profound effect on our physical and emotional wellbeing, which is why it’s imperative to take sleep problems seriously. A talk with your doctor can help you determine why you’re having trouble sleeping and take steps to solve the problem.

By Dana Rasso

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Probiotics: A Few More Reasons To Go Pro

Probiotics are taking center stage these days. You’ll find them at the grocery store, health food store, and even in your doctor’s office. But what are those creatures in a spoonful of yogurt, or tiny capsule? Probiotics are a variety of microorganisms that help to maintain healthy bacteria in the gut. They help to “keep the peace” in our stomach and intestines by promoting the growth of good bacteria. This aids our digestion while protecting the lining of the gut from infection and damage. <!–split–>

Probiotics are commonly recommended when antibiotics are prescribed. They should be taken in conjunction with the medication, and can alleviate some of the gastrointestinal symptoms associated with antibiotic use. In fact, in a recent study published in the Journal Of The American Medical Association, those individuals taking probiotics were found to have a significantly reduced risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

If you think probiotics are only helpful for your GI tract, you may want to reconsider. These microorganisms have also shown benefit in individuals with chronic infections, allergies, eczema, and acne.

The healthy bacteria can be found in a variety of foods that undergo fermentation. Most popularly, these are foods like yogurt, kefir (a yogurt-drink), sourdough bread, and even pickles.

When deciding on a probiotic, it is important to take a few things into consideration. Take a look at how many colony-forming units or CFU’s your probiotic contains. Generally numbers in the billions (at least 10-20 billion) are a safe and effective amount. Additionally, look for the expiration date and potency of the product at the time of expiration, rather than the time of manufacturing. Many products are manufactured with billions of CFU, but by the time they actually reach your gut, many of these bacteria will not survive. You may only be ingesting a fraction of what is stated on the label.

Finally, ensure your probiotic contains Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. These are two bacterial strains that have been well studied and discussed in medical literature. Probiotics may also contain other organism strains in addition to these two, which is common and generally it is safe to take a supplement with more than one bacterial strain. When possible, aim to consume foods with high amounts of probiotics, such as yogurt, and sauerkraut. If you need to take a pill or supplement, there are capsules, gels, and liquids forms available.

Your Parish Nurse,  Kara


The Spoon River District was asked to pledge $100,000 to help the IGRC Africa University Scholarship Endowment attain a total conference pledge is $1,000,000.  To date they have received $36,000 in pledges from churches and individuals and an additional $3,000 from events  in the District. Each church in the District is being asked to participate in a crusade to accomplish our goal called “Give Up For Lent”.  <!–split–>

They are asking that during the six weeks of Lent every member of each congregation think of one or two items that they would be willing to sacrifice or give up for six weeks.  Every time you would have consumed that item, pray and place a monetary gift aside.  Then bring that loose offering to church and place it in a designated container.  On April 2, 2016 at 3:30 p.m. a celebration worship service will be held at Galesburg 1st UMC featuring Bishop Johnathan Keaton preaching.  There will be a district choir as well as a praise and worship team providing music.   At this service each church is to bring their container, a check with their Lenten offering in it, to be placed on the altar. After the worship celebration at 5:00 pm, four members from every Charge will be treated to a Taste of Africa featuring foods from Africa.  Everyone who has been to Africa or has  African attire is asked to wear it at the worship celebration.