Category Archives: Parish Nurse

Hot Weather!

Elderly people (that is, people aged 65 years and older) are more prone to heat stress than younger people for several reasons: Elderly people do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature. They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat. They are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration. <!–split–>

Heat Stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the body loses its ability to sweat, and it is unable to cool down. Body temperatures rise to 106F or higher within 10-15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

What YOU Can Do To Protect Yourself – You can follow these prevention tips to protect yourself from heat-related stress:

  • Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages. (If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink when the weather is hot. Also, avoid extremely cold liquids because they can cause cramps.)
  • Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath. If possible, seek an air-conditioned environment. (If you don’t have air conditioning, consider visiting an air-conditioned shopping mall or public library, with social distancing, to cool off).
  • Wear lightweight clothing.
  • If possible, remain indoors in the heat of the day.
  • Do not engage in strenuous activities.

Kids Corner: Heat stroke is among the leading causes of death in young adults and teens. This is largely due to heat strokes occurring during practices and sporting events outdoors. Most cases of heat stroke can be prevented in this age group.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

COVID-19: Self-Care as a Form of Mental Health PPE

As we address the COVID-19 pandemic, we have adopted practices that support our safety and help reduce the potential for contracting the infection. While we have made our physical health a priority, it is equally important that we attend to our emotional health and wellness. With an influx of information about COVID-19 shared through multiple media outlets, coupled with drastic changes to our daily living, our worry and anxiety can be heightened. The American Psychological Association suggests several activities that help promote positive mental health during extremely stressful times. Please consider the following information as Mental Health PPE that can help prevent acute stressors from becoming long-term, chronic problems. <!–split–>

 Strategies to Help Manage Stress and CENTER Yourself During the COVID-19 Pandemic

C – CONNECT: While face-to-face contact is limited, staying connected with family and friends through phone calls and video chat can help promote emotional support and resilience during times of stress.

E – EXERCISE: Take time to integrate exercise into your routine. In-home workouts or going outside to walk or run can be beneficial. Moderate aerobic activity has shown to help improve mood and reduce stress.

N – NOTICE: Monitor yourself to notice any signs of growing fatigue or stress. Prolonged changes in mood and behavior can be a sign that we need to seek additional help.

T – TAKE BREAKS: Taking mini breaks to go for a walk, perform mindful breathing, or meditation can help improve energy and renew focus.

E – EDUCATE: Rely on trusted sources of information to educate yourself and others about COVID-19. Place time limits on your media intake as it can increase stress and anxiety.

R – ROUTINE: Many of us have experienced a disruption to our daily living. Establishing a consistent routine is important for our overall wellness. It’s important to maintain a regular sleep schedule, maximize healthy eating, and limit alcohol consumption.

When to Seek Help – Know the Warning Signs

Not all people respond to stress in the same way. Some common signs to watch for include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lack of appetite
  • Unable to stop thinking about the COVID-19 virus
  • Unable to stop think-ing about patients
  • Feeling more anxious than usual
  • Feeling more depressed than usual
  • Feeling more irritable than usual
  • Feeling more angry than usual
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating more than usual
  • Memory difficulties more than usual
  • Difficulty relaxing more than usual
How and Where to Seek Help:
  • UnityPoint Health – Robert Young Center. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms listed above, there is help out there. Please ask about our video and telephone care options by calling (309) 779-3000.
  • UnityPoint Health – Robert Young Center Crisis Hotline If you believe you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the 24/7 crisis hotline at (309) 779-2999.
  • NAMI Iowa is offering a free and confidential mental health resource line for children and adults. The NAMI Iowa non-crisis resource line is available by calling (515) 254-0417.
  • Additional Resources:


Your Parish Nurse,   Kara


What is Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes the Coronavirus is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.  <!–split–>


How does the Coronavirus spread? The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. The virus spreads by droplets made when people with the Coronavirus cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby or be inhaled into their lungs. It may be possible that a person can get the Coronavirus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

For confirmed Coronavirus disease cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death.

Symptoms can include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of the Coronavirus may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of Coronavirus.

  • Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., diculty breathing). Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you may have, or are being evaluated for, the Coronavirus. Put on a facemask before you enter the facility. Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department.
  • Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.
  • Patients with confirmed Coronavirus should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.


  • Avoid close contact: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, keep your distance from others.
  • Stay home when you are sick: Stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick to prevent spreading your illness to others.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth: Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing to prevent those around you from getting sick.
  • Clean your hands: Washing your hands often for 20 seconds will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand rub with at least 60% Ethyl Alcohol.
  • Practice other good health habits: Use regular household cleaning spray or wipe to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces at home, work or school.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask: CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of the Coronavirus to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.


Your Parish Nurse,   Kara

Prevention is the New Healthcare

The phrase that seems to be everywhere these days: 60 is the new 40, 70 is the new 50, and so on. But what does that really mean? Well, from my perspective, it means more people are choosing to age in healthy ways, by being more active both physically and mentally. I remember that when I was small people looked and acted older than they do now. My paternal grandparents died at ages 50- and 65-years-old. They were ill and had many health issues.

What has changed? Lifestyle choices!  <!–split–>

In this current youth-obsessed culture, the individual concept of aging has changed. And in response to this concept, the focus of healthcare has changed from treating illness to preventing illness.

According to, “Preventive health care refers to actions and lifestyle choices that serve to prevent future health complications or reduce the likelihood of serious illness and disease”…”…saving a great deal of time and money by reducing the need for expensive treatment.”

Preventive health care is in each individual’s hands. Just the practice of regularly washing your hands and decreasing exposure to people who show signs of obvious illness can reduce illness. Other choices, such as healthy eating, incorporating more exercise into each day, and having regular screenings and checkups, greatly reduce the role illness plays in our lives.

While living a healthy lifestyle may seem time-consuming, it actually provides great savings in time and money. This statement says so much and bears repeating!

If you do not make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness!

How often have you heard someone say that they don’t have time to be sick? I think most of us have said something like this at one time or another. If there were a magic formula for preventing illness as well as promoting a vibrant aging process, wouldn’t you like to know more about it?

You already have that formula! Preventive health, while taking many different forms, has one basic goal: prevent disease and illness before they occur, rather than fighting to effectively treat illness after it has negatively impacted your health and lifestyle.

Healthy lifestyle changes will not completely prevent illness and disease, but by making good choices, you can decrease the risks of poor health. Here are 10 basic preventive health care steps:

* Frequent Hand Washing

* Cover Your Face with Your Elbow when You Cough/Sneeze

* Eat a Healthy Diet: avoid sugar and processed foods

* Exercise Daily

* Get Restorative Amounts of Sleep

* Stimulate Your Brain

* Avoid Alcohol

* Avoid Tobacco Use/Vaping

* See Your Doctor Regularly

* Strengthen Your Relationships with God, Family, and Friends

I can’t think of a single person who desires illness or disease. The power is in your hands. We can change our habits into healthy lifestyles. And you don’t have to do it alone. As your parish nurse, I am happy to talk with you and help you live a healthy, vibrant life in 2020 and beyond!

Blessings, Kara Ade, RN – Parish Nurse

Never Too Late

If there was just one word that would frighten any person, I think that word would be “Dementia”. Many of us have witnessed family members or friends afflicted by dementia in one of its many forms, including Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, recent research is showing that adopting healthy lifestyle habits can reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. <!–split–>

It is now recommended that DAILY:

  • Break a Sweat: Daily exercise that raises the heart rate increases blood flow to the brain and body.
  • Hit the Books: Daily work at learning new things. It keeps your brain active.
  • Butt Out: Smoking increases risk of dementia. By quitting, the risk for dementia decreases to levels of non -smokers.
  • Follow Your Heart: Risk factors for heart disease and stroke, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes increase the risk of dementia. Be proactive in caring for your heart and body.
  • Heads Up: Brain injury can raise your risk of dementia. Protect yourself, wear your seat belt, use a helmet for sports and cycling, and take steps to prevent falls.
  • Fuel Up Right: Eat a healthy balanced diet, with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit to reduce the risk of dementia.
  • Catch Some Zzzzzz’s: Poor sleep, such as sleep apnea, insomnia, or just not having a regular sleep schedule can result in problems with thinking and memory.
  • Take Care of Your Mental Health: Depression is linked to dementia. If you are anxious, depressed or overwhelmed by stress, seek medical attention.
  • Buddy Up: Staying socially connected supports brain health. Become a volunteer, participate in social activities, attend church functions (as well as worship), call your friends, and spend time with your family.
  • Stump Yourself: Challenge your brain by trying a new hobby, assembling furniture or children’s toys, do a jigsaw puzzle, create art, do word puzzles, and play games such as bridge and trivia. Keeping your brain active has short- and long-term benefits for cognitive health.

Today and every day, start (or continue) adopting these healthy habits for your brain and body.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara Ade

Little Drummer Boy: A Precious Gift Of Inspiration

[By Barry Bittman, MD   Permission granted for use of article by author]

I played my drum for him, pa rum pum pum pum

I played my best for him, pa rum pum pum pum,

Rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then he smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum

Me and my drum.

We know the melody, we know the story, we know the song. Yet do we remember the message?

The little drummer boy apologized, “I am a poor boy too …I have no gift to bring …that’s fit to give a king. Shall I play for you …on my drum?”

When the time comes, what will you bring? Will it be your prized possessions, the things you’ve accumulated over the years?

I think not. For these are not worthy. The car you drive, the riches you’ve accumulated and the money you’ve saved are insignificant in the overall scheme of things.

Will you bring your accomplishments, your awards, your trophies? I think not. For these are not worthy either. They are a testimony to a time long gone, mere memories of prior triumphs and successes.  <!–split–>

So what’s left of value you’re asking yourself? The answer is simple. Deep within the essence of who you are there’s a sound, a vibration, an emanation that expresses life from every cell. It resonates in harmony with all living creatures, an inner voice ready to emerge as a vital heartbeat that inscribes a personal signature. The rhythm of life is a symphony, the expression of your soul revealed by the Conductor within.

With humility the Little Drummer Boy simply allowed his greatest gift to emerge. For his drumming, the rhythmic expression of his soul brought a smile to the face of the child in the manger. He set an example for all of us, revealing that one’s greatest offering is the wondrous connection that’s possible when we share the music of our hearts and the rhythms of our soul. It is the courage to stand before God in reverence knowing that what’s inside is our most sacred gift.

So as you ponder this holiday season, why not decide what you would bring? Ye don’t save it for the day of reckoning. Your gift is to be shared now with those you love. It is your soul revealed through your personal expression, a unique and extraordinary rhythm that enables the gift of healing and inspires others to do the same. For when you share that which is deeply heart-felt, the Light within you glows brighter and your drumming resounds throughout the universe reverberating the true and ecstatic message revealed by the Little Drummer Boy.

As Mark Twain once said, “An ecstasy is a thing that will not go into words; it feels like music.” It’s time to let your unique rhythm and your precious melody emerge as an everlasting celebration of the Conductor within. Then He will smile at you too, pa rum pum pum pum – Mind Over Matter!

Your Parish Nurse, Kara Ade


What Is CBD?  It’s short for cannabidiol, and it’s a natural compound found in both marijuana and hemp plants. There’s some evidence that it might help treat pain, seizures, and some other health problems. But much more research is needed for doctors to know for sure what it can do.  <!–split–>

How Do You Take It?   You can take CBD oil by itself by mouth, or use one of many products that has it as an ingredient. These include pills, chewable gels, “tinctures” you drop under your tongue, vape cartridges you breathe in, creams on your skin, and foods like chocolate bars. The amount and quality of CBD in these products can be very different.

Does It Make You High?  CBD doesn’t — another substance in marijuana called THC does that. If you use a CBD product, check the label and make sure that’s the only cannabinoid listed. In states where marijuana is legal, some companies put product information online that lists the amount of each ingredient.

Is It Addictive?  CBD oil by itself is not. But CBD products that also have THC can be. The key again is to know the source and check the ingredients and the amounts so you know exactly what you’re using.

Where Is It Legal?  Forty-seven states now allow some form of CBD. Only Idaho, South Dakota, and Nebraska ban all marijuana use. Legal details are different by state, so do your research to make sure you’re on the right side of the law.

Can CBD Help With Seizures?  The FDA has approved only one CBD-based drug, and it’s used to treat two rare types of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. It’s called Epidiolex, and it’s approved for adults and kids over age 2.

Can It Ease Pain?  Scientists are working to see if it might help with arthritis, and some people with HIV say it helps relieve nerve pain (also called neuropathy). There’s some evidence that it may help muscle spasms linked to multiple sclerosis, too. More research is needed to know for sure.

Does It Help Blood Pressure?  In normal conditions, CBD doesn’t seem to affect this one way or the other. But researchers are studying whether it might help keep your blood pressure stable when you’re stressed. More work needs to be done before scientists fully understand its effects.

Does It Help Inflammation?  Early studies show that CBD might help with this, especially if it’s related to arthritis, MS, diabetes, or Alzheimer’s. But scientists are still trying to prove that and figure out how it works.

Does CBD Help Cancer?  In studies done on lab mice, CBD oil showed promise at killing breast cancer cells and making chemotherapy drugs work better. But researchers have much more work to do to see if CBD can help people in that way.

Is It Good for Your Skin?  There is evidence that CBD might be a treatment for acne. It seems to help with both the inflammation that can lead to breakouts and the amount of fatty acids in the blood, which can make them worse. It also may protect skin cells from damage.

Does It Help Psychosis?  One study showed it helped ease the symptoms of psychosis in people with schizophrenia, but more research is needed to know just how well it might work. Keep in mind that THC, which is found in a number of CBD products, can have the opposite effect, and product labels aren’t always accurate.

Does It Help Addiction?  Much more study is needed, but early studies show that CBD may help people who want to break their addiction to cigarettes as well as drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. This may be in part because it seems to help with anxiety and muscle tension.

Are There Side Effects?  So far, CBD doesn’t seem to cause serious ones. When it’s used to treat epilepsy or psychotic disorders, people reported tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite. But CBD can affect how other medications work, so be sure to tell your doctor about everything you take, including vitamins and supplements.

Buyer BEWARE   The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes the significant public interest in cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds, particularly CBD. However, there are many unanswered questions about the science, safety, and quality of products containing CBD. The Agency is working on answering these questions through ongoing efforts including feedback from a recent FDA hearing and information and data gathering through a public docket.

Other than one prescription drug product to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy, the FDA has not approved any other CBD products, and there is very limited available information about CBD, including about its effects on the body.

Some CBD Products are Being Marketed with Unproven Medical Claims Unlike drug products approved by the FDA, unapproved CBD drug products have not been subject to FDA review as part of the drug approval process, and there has been no FDA evaluation regarding whether they are safe and effective to treat a particular disease, what the proper dosage is, how they could interact with other drugs or foods, or whether they have dangerous side effects or other safety concerns.

Your Parish Nurse,  Kara Ade

Stay Safe in the Heat

We can get overwhelmed by heat. Certain factors increase the risk. Anyone can be affected by a heat-related illness. But it is more common in infants, young children, older adults and people who have chronic health conditions or when outdoor temperatures and humidity levels rise. The good news is, there are ways families can prevent these illnesses. <!–split–>

  • Never leave a child alone in a vehicle, not even for a minute! Vehicles heat up fast, even on cool or cloudy days.
  • Check weather reports regularly. Watch the temperatures and the heat index. Watch for heat warnings and advisories.
  • Dress appropriately. Wear clothing that is loose, lightweight and light colored. This will absorb less heat and allow sweat to evaporate better.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water or other sugar free fluids, even if you aren’t thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Provide plenty of water for pets too.
  • Limit outdoor activities. Avoid strenuous activities, including exercise, during the hottest part of the day (usually between 10 AM and 4 PM)
  • Prevent sunburn. Getting a sunburn can make it harder for the body to stay cool. Keep babies under 6 months of age out of the sun. For older children and adults, apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher any time you go outdoors. Wear a hat and sunglasses too.
  • Keep your home cool. Use air conditioning if you have it. Otherwise, use fans to keep air circulating in your home.
  • Seek relief. If you do not have air conditioning, spend a few hours a day somewhere that does. For example, go to a local mall, library, senior center or cooling station.
  • Check on loved ones and neighbors. Older adults and people with health conditions are often more sensitive to the heat. When it’s warm out, check in regularly with any family members, friends or neighbors who fall into one of these groups.
  • Be alert for signs of heat-related illness. Heat cramps – heavy sweating and painful muscle cramps or spasms. Heat exhaustion – heavy sweating, weakness, fatigue, dizziness, nausea or vomiting and cool, pale skin. Heat stroke – very high body temperature, hot red skin, confusion, fast pulse, dizziness, throbbing headache, shallow breathing, seizures and loss of consciousness. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency!
  • Medical help. Any symptoms of heat stroke require immediate medical treatment. Call 9-1-1 or your emergency number right away!
  • Get medical help if the person has high blood pressure or heart problems, symptoms do not improve within 1 hour, symptoms worsen.

Have fun and stay safe this summer! Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Taking a Break for the Health of It

There are times in our lives when we need to take a mental health break.  This is my month to do just that by sharing a pre-written article from Laura Brown, RN, Parish Nurse.

Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being and mental illnesses are common and treatable.  So much of what we do physically impacts us mentally, it’s important to pay attention to both your physical health and your mental health, which can help you achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to recovery. <!–split–>

A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions, as well as chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  It can also help people recover from these conditions.  For those dealing with a chronic health condition and the people who care for them, it can be especially important to focus on mental health.  When dealing with dueling diagnoses, focusing on both physical and mental health concerns can be daunting but critically important in achieving overall wellness.

There are things you can do that may help.  Finding a reason to laugh, going for a walk with a friend, meditating, playing with a pet or working from home once a week can go a long way in making you both physically and mentally healthy.  The company of animals, whether as pets or service animals, can have a profound impact on a person’s quality of life and ability to recover from illnesses.  A pet can be a source of comfort and can help us to live mentally healthier lives.  And whether you go to church,  meditate daily or simply find time to enjoy that cup of tea each morning while checking in with yourself, it can be important to connect with your spiritual side in order to find that mind-body connection.

It’s important for everyone to know that mental illnesses are real and recovery is always the goal.  Living a healthy lifestyle may not be easy but can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes.  Finding the balance between work and play, the ups and downs of life, physical health and mental health, can help you on the path towards focusing on wholeness of body, mind and spirit.

For more information, visit 

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Food Label Reading

Step 1: Serving Size

Look at the serving size and servings per container. All of the information below is related to the portion for 1 serving.  Looking at the example, if you eat 10 crackers you should multiply all of the nutritional information by 2 because a serving size is 5 crackers.              <!–split–>

Step 2: Calories

As a general rule, your meals should range from 300-600 calories and snacks should be between 100-150 calories.  Looking at the example, 10 crackers would be 160 calories.

Step 3: % Daily Value

The %DV is the percentage of the listed nutrition information that you should consume daily based on a 2,000 calorie diet. This calorie level is not right for everyone so be sure to calculate what is best for you.

Step 4: Fat Total

Fat includes harmful and beneficial fats. Saturated fat and trans fat are the harmful fats. Aim for no more than 3 grams of saturated fat and 0 grams of trans fat per meal.

Step 5: Cholesterol Dietary

Cholesterol is found only in animal fats. Consume 300 mg or less per day. Step 6: Sodium Table salt = sodium chloride. Consume less than 2,300 mg sodium per day. One teaspoon of salt is equal to 2,300 mg sodium. When comparing food  labels, try to choose foods with 140 mg of sodium or less.

Step 7: Total Carbohydrate

Total carbohydrate includes sugar, fiber and starch. Almost all carbohydrate is formed into glucose (sugar) during digestion, which can accumulate in the blood in someone with diabetes. One serving of carbohydrate (or “carb choice”) is equal to 15 grams of carbohydrate. When reading a label, divide the grams of total carbohydrate by 15 to know how many carb choices you are eating in ONE serving of that product. Be sure to multiply that number by the number of servings you may be consuming. People with diabetes should try to eat no more than 45-60 grams or 3-4 carb choices at a meal.

Step 8: Fiber

A good source of dietary fiber contains 3 or more grams per serving. Try to get 25-35 grams of fiber per day.

Step 9: Protein

A good source of protein is 4 grams or more. If it is less than 4 grams, you should add another source of protein to your meal.

Step 10: Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are listed at the bottom of the label. They may be naturally occurring or added to the food.

Step 11: Ingredients

Ingredients are found alongside the nutrition facts. The ingredients are listed by quantity, from highest to lowest.

—  Kara Ade, Parish Nurse