Circulation Exercises to Keep you Warm

Exercises to keep you warm through the winter.

Winter is in full swing in The Ozarks! These frigid temperatures may cause significant circulation issues for many individuals. As we age, our body systems have to work increasingly hard to supply our body with all the nutrients and oxygen that it requires to perform the vital functions that we all need.

“Impaired circulation may cause significant issues with elderly individuals when you combine poor circulation with things like heart disease, diabetes or a lack of exercise. With the use of the above exercises you can help give your body the boost it needs to make it through this winter season.”

  • Dr. Brittany Wright, Physical Therapy

Here are three simple circulation exercises that have been shown to increase blood supply to assist with improved day-to-day health.

#1 – Supine Ankle Pumps – Begin lying on your back with your legs straight. Slowly pump your ankles by bending and straightening them. Try to keep the rest your legs relaxed while you move your ankles.

Supine Ankle Pump

# 2 – Supine Quad Set – Begin lying on your back with one knee bent and your other leg straight with your knee resting on a towel roll. Gently squeeze your thigh muscles, pushing the back of your knee down into the towel. Make sure to keep your back flat against the floor during the exercise.

Quad Set

#3 – Supine Glute Set – “Penny Pinchers” – Begin lying on your back with your hands resting comfortably. Tighten your buttock muscles, then release and repeat. Make sure not to arch your low back during the exercise or hold your breath as you tighten your muscles.

Glute Set

The above exercises have been recommended by the OCH physical therapy department as an easy and convenient way for adults to help pump blood through their body. This is not medical advice.



#TransformationTuesday: OCH upgrades radiology equipment to better serve patients

Ozarks Community Hospital has transformed radiology equipment systemwide to better serve patients and offer increased services. OCH of Gravette in northwest Arkansas, OCH of Springfield and OCH Christian County Clinic in southwest Missouri have added new updated equipment to increase options for physicians, better evaluate patient conditions and provide further health direction.

As a health system, OCH continues to provide the same quality care but with greater capabilities. The OCH mission is to provide a high quality of care to everyone, regardless of insurance coverage. In fact, more than 80% of patients have governmental insurance or are self-pay. The ability to provide high-quality and technologically advanced radiology services will help OCH better serve its patient population and the surrounding communities.

Springfield & Nixa

OCH of Springfield and the OCH Christian County Clinic also received upgrades to their equipment. The OCH of Springfield hospital received a new SOMATOM Perspective 64-Slice Scanner and ACUSON S2000 ultrasound. With these updates, OCH of Springfield hospital now has radiology equipment directly comparable to nearby hospitals. The OCH Christian County Clinic in Nixa upgraded its CT Scanner to a SOMATOM Emotion 16-Slice CT Scanner.

The new equipment at OCH of Springfield provides expanded services including:

  • Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography (CCTA): A heart imaging test that helps determine if plaque buildup has narrowed a patient’s arteries.
  • Low Dose Lung Screening: This screening meets CMS guidelines for a lung cancer screening. These are recommended annually for high risk populations/patients and have shown to contribute to a 20% reduction in mortality.
  • Cardiac Calcium Scoring: This is a quick, painless, noninvasive procedure to accurately determine the degree and severity of hard plaque within the coronary arteries. These are recommended for anyone at risk of coronary artery disease, including healthy males over the age of 40 and females over the age of 45.

 AR before after


The new equipment makes OCH of Gravette the only all-digital radiology department in its region. OCH of Gravette received massive upgrades and updates including a new SOMATOM Perspective 64-slice CT Scanner, a Siremobil Combact L (C-ARM), a Multix Select and Multix Fusion x-ray machines, a portable Mobilett Mira x-ray machine, and ACUSON S2000 and ACUSON Freestyle Ultrasound System.

The new equipment offers additional testing capabilities including:

  • Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography (CCTA): A heart imaging test that helps determine if plaque buildup has narrowed a patient’s arteries.
  • Low Dose Lung Screening: This screening meets CMS guidelines for a lung cancer screening. These are recommended annually for high risk populations/patients and have shown to contribute to a 20% reduction in mortality.
  • Cardiac Calcium Scoring: This is a quick, painless, noninvasive procedure to accurately determine the degree and severity of hard plaque within the coronary arteries. These are recommended for anyone at risk of coronary artery disease, including healthy males over the age of 40 and females over the age of 45.
  • QCT Bone Density Test: This is a CT scan with special software used to diagnose or monitor low bone mass. Bone density testing is recommended for anyone at risk of or with evidence of osteoporosis.

In January 2015, the Association for Medical Imaging Management (AHRA) announced that OCH of Gravette was one of six recipients of the AHRA and Toshiba Putting Patients First grant to improve the safety, understanding and comfort of pediatric radiology procedures. This KidSTRONG pediatric safety program at OCH of Gravette is a coinciding compliment to the comprehensive technology upgrades. The radiology department has been completely renovated due to the state of the art radiology equipment, with an emphasis on pediatric-friendly facilities and a comforting experience for families.

“The KidSTRONG pediatric safety and education component paired with the complete overhaul of our radiology department in Gravette increases community resources,” says Ronda Kruetzer, radiology manager at the hospital. “These upgrades have enabled OCH to provide safe, quality and worry-free care for the region’s residents right in their hometown,” says Ronda.

Autism FAQ’s

In honor of World Autism Day on April 2nd, speech language pathologist Shannon Locke of the Ozarks Area Autism Clinic (OAAC) answers FAQ’s about autism spectrum disorders. Find out notable symptoms, who it affects and resources to help.

1. What is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASDs)?

ASDs are lifelong, behaviorally defined developmental disabilities in which an individual demonstrates disturbances in each of three areas:

  • Communication
  • Social interaction
  • Repetitive or restrictive and unusual behaviors

ASDs are a part of the broader category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) which includes Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). Symptoms of ASD vary greatly between individuals, but all will demonstrate varying degrees of disturbance within each of the three areas, that cannot be explained by other differential diagnoses. 

2. Who is at risk?

According to the National Institute of Health, the true incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders is likely to be within the range of 30-60 cases per 10000.  ASDs occur in males significantly more often than in females; however, ethnicity does not appear to play a significant factor. 

This is an increase from early projections which is largely a consequence of improved ascertainment and a considerable broadening of the diagnostic concept. However, a true risk assessment is yet to be identified, although environmental risk factor cannot be ruled out and there have been preliminary studies indicating some familial tendencies. Empirical data do not support hypotheses of causation from dietary sources; however, good diet remains proven as a contributing factor to overall good health for all individuals. 

3. What are the signs?  

As suggested above all individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders present differently, but below are a few common signs:

  • Underlying resistance/difficulty with social communication (like using common gestures and engaging in back-and-forth interaction with others, for example, Patti-cake games)
  • Difficulty greeting others independently or initiating interaction
  • Lack of eye contact to engage others or get attention purely for the purpose of “showing” something
  • Resistance to change or adherence to specific routines with no functional purpose

Here are a few examples of what it could look like if your child is demonstrating disturbances in social interaction and communication:

  • If your child doesn’t show you things or give you things to get you to play with him/her
  • If your child always prefers to “play” alone and will even outwardly resist your presence in his/her activities
  • If your child doesn’t seem able to say “hi” or “bye” to others with words or by waving without you constantly prompting him/her
  • If your child pulls you by the hand or arm to get things, but never looks at you to get your attention in the process
  • If your child has certain routines or ‘scripts’ that he/she will repeat over and over again even when the routine doesn’t seem to be appropriate to what’s going on, like imitating a line from a children’s program repeatedly throughout the day or insisting on toys being arranged in a certain way to avoid tantrums

As always, if you have any medical concerns for your child speak with your child’s pediatrician openly about your concerns and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your pediatrician or nurse practitioner is your first stop resource for support, diagnosis referrals, and intervention services for your child.  

4. Where can I get help?

Start with your child’s health care provider, discuss your concerns and ask questions. You child’s doctor can make referrals as needed for medical diagnosis and intervention. Other resources include:

  • The Ozarks Area Autism Clinic (OAAC) is housed in the OCH Christian County Clinic located in Nixa, MO. It is the only multi-disciplinary autism diagnostic clinic of its kind for children from 18months to 6years of age in Southwest Missouri.  In addition, the OCH Christian County Clinic Pediatric Therapy Department provides individual pediatric therapy treatment services for children of all ages, including Speech and Language, Occupational, and Physical Therapies.   
  • In addition, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MO DESE) Special Education offers educational support for children from birth though age 21 as they are deemed eligible through your local school district special services and Missouri Early Intervention First Steps programming.  
  • Finally, the Missouri State Department of Mental Health, Division of Developmental Disabilities offers support, case management, and referral services for children with diagnosed disabilities locally through the Springfield Regional Office; as well as facilitate connection with TouchPoint Autism Services , which provides supports for children in Southwest Missouri with ASDs.

Contact for support through these agencies can help families navigate the multitude of information floating in cyberspace about Autism Spectrum Disorders, point families in the right direction for hands-on help, and assist in finding everyday solutions and needed services for children in Missouri.

Blog report compiled by Shannon Locke, M.S.-CCC/SLP, Director of Pediatric Therapy Services and co-creator of the Ozarks Area Autism Clinic at OCH.  Shannon has been treating ASDs for over 20 years in educational, vocational, recreational, and medical settings.  She received her Master of Science degree from Missouri State University in 1998 and Certificate of Clinical Competence and licensure, Speech and Language Pathologist in 1999 through the State of Missouri Department of Professional Registration.  Shannon has previously been certified as an In-district Autism Consultant through Greene County Special Education Cooperative and received the ACE Award from American Speech Language and Hearing Association for exceptional participation in Continuing Education. When Shannon is not working in the Nixa OCH Clinic, she enjoys time with her husband, Scott and 10 year-old daughter, Katie and their rescue pets, two dogs and one cat, as well as spending time exploring the great outdoors hiking, kayaking, biking, and sky-diving. 

Top 10 Childhood Rashes – Part 2

In Part Two of the childhood rashes blog post series OCH pediatric nurse practitioner, Sandy Hinds shares the second set of common rashes among children. See below for a quick guide to identifying each of them and learn the causes, symptoms, and treatment options available.


Eczema is characterized by a red, extremely itchy rash. It often starts on the cheeks at 2-6 months of age, and is most common on the creases of elbows, wrists, and knees or occasionally the neck, ankles and feet.

  • Cause: Eczema is an inherited type of sensitive skin.  A personal or family history of asthma or hay fever, makes it more likely that your child has eczema.  Flare ups occur when there is contact with an irritating substances. Certain foods can cause eczema to flare up including cow’s milk, eggs, peanut butter. This itchy flare up could develop 2 hours after eating. 
  • Expected Course: This can be a chronic condition, and will usually not go away before adolescence. 
  • Treatment: Steroid creams is the main treatment for itchy eczema. When the rash quiets down, use it at least once daily for an additional 2 weeks. 
  • Bathing and Hydrating: Hydration of the skin followed by lubricating cream is the main way to prevent flare-ups.  Your child should have one bath each day for 10 minutes.  Water soaked skin is less itchy. Eczema is very sensitive to soaps.  Some lubricating creams are Keri, Lubriderm, Nivea and Nutraderm.  Avoid applying any ointments, petroleum jelly, or vegetable shortening because they can block the sweat glands, increase itching and worsen the rash (especially in warm weather).  
  • Prevention: Wool fibers and clothes made of scratchy, rough materials make eczema worse.  Cotton clothes should be worn as much as possible.  Avoid triggers that cause eczema to flare up such as excessive heat, sweating, excessive cold, dry air (use a humidifier) chlorine, harsh chemicals, and saps.  Never us a bubble bath.  Keep your child off the grass. Try to avoid the foods such as cow’s milk, eggs, peanut butter, wheat, and fish during the first year of life.  

HIVES  (Urticaria)

Hives are a very itchy rash, raised pink spots with pale centers (looks like mosquito bites.) Size can rage of ½ inch to several inches across, shapes variable, and rapid repeated changes of location, size and shape. 

  • Cause: Hives are usually an allergic reaction to a food, drug, viral infections, insect bit, or a host of other substances. Often, the cause is NOT found. Localized hives are usually due to skin contact with plants, pollen, food or pet saliva. Hives are NOT contagious.
  • Expected Course: 10% (or more) of children get hives for 3-4 days and then it disappears. Swelling can be common around the eyes, lips, and genitals. Some may develop as big hives (called popular urticaria) at the sites of old and new bits that can last for months. 
  • Treatment: Antihistamine medicine. This medicine will not cure the hives, but I will reduce their number and relieve itching.  Benadryl is one of the most commonly used drugs for hives, with the main side effect being drowsiness.  Please check the dosage according to your child’s weight. Cool baths are helpful to relive the itching.  Avoid triggers that might cause the hives. Call your pediatrician if your child is having trouble breathing, swallowing or acting sick. Also, if the rash does not go away after 1 week, or 24 hours of antihistamines are not effective.   


Scabies are little bugs (mites) that burrow under the skin and cause severe itching and little red bumps. They are so small that they can only be seen with a microscope.  Usually more than one person in a family has them. 

  • Care: Creams are usually prescribed by your physician.  Pregnant women need special medicines for scabies and need to see their physician.
  • Expected Course: The itching and rash may last for 2-3 weeks after successful treatment with the medication. Cool baths without the use of soap, followed by 1% hydrocortisone cream, which you can buy without a prescription.
  • Contagiousness: Children can return to school after one treatment with the scabies medicine, otherwise scabies is HIGHLY contagious.  The symptoms take 30 days after exposure. Machine wash all your child’s sheets, pillowcases, underwear, pajamas, and recently worn clothing.  Blankets can be put away for 3 days.  Scabies cannot live outside the human body for more than 3 days.

IMPETIGO (Infected sores)

Impetigo, or infected sores, are sores within less than 1 inch in diameter; and begin as small red bumps that rapidly change to cloudy blisters, then pimples, and finally sores. They can be covered by soft, yellow-brown scabs that can contain pus.  Impetigo often spreads from scratching and picking at the initial sore. 

  • Cause: Superficial infection of the skin, caused by Streptococcus or Staphylococcus bacteria.  It is more common in the summer when the skin is often broken by cuts, scrapes, and insect bites.  When caused by the strep infection of the nose, the impetigo usually first appears near the nose or mouth. 
  • Expected Course: With proper treatment, the skin will be completely healed in 1 week.  Scars are unusual unless your child repeatedly picks her sores. 
  • Treatment: After the crust has been removed, antibiotic ointment should be applied to the surface three times a day prescribed by your physician. 
  • Prevention: Discourage your child from touching or picking at the sores.  Keep your child’s fingernails cut short, clean and wash their hands with one of the antibacterial soaps.
  • Contagiousness: Impetigo is quite contagious.  Do not share your child’s towel or washcloth.  Keep your child out of school until she has taken oral antibiotics for 24 hours.  For mild impetigo treated with an antibiotic ointment, the child can continue to attend day care or school if the sore is covered with a Band-aid. 


Pityriasis alba is characterized by multiple oval, scaly, flat hypo-pigmented patches on the face, extensor surface of arms, and upper trunk.  Multiple patches may be seen. Pityriasis alba occurs predominantly between the ages of 3-16 years, and up to 40% of all children may be affected.  The lesions do not itch, and medical help is sought because of the child’s appearance.  It can be distressing in dark-skinned children.

  • Expected Course: It is a chronic dermatitis and may be recurrent over several years.  It can be diagnosed as atopic dermatitis. 
  • Cause: The cause of the hypo-pigmentation is not known, but is likely related to inflammatory mediators that inhibit melanocyte function.
  • Treatment:  There is no satisfactory treatment for pityriasis alba.  Bland lubricants and topical gluco-corticorsteroids have some influence on the disorder.

All pictures courtesy of Instructions for Pediatric Patients, second edition, W.B. Saunders Company, 1999

Sandra Hinds, CPNP-PC works at the OCH Christian County Clinic located in Nixa, Mo. She received her education from the University Missouri-Columbia, the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and the Vickie Millazzo Institute. Sandra is currently a member of the following professional organizations: National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Kansas City Nurse Practitioner Networking Association. To contact Sandra, call OCH Christian County Clinic at (417) 725-8250.

Coping with Fall Allergies

Just when your nose finally adjusted to the sights and smells of summer, fall allergy season hits full force. Sure, the crisp autumn evenings offer a welcome relief from the summer heat; but for those suffering from allergies, fall is one of the worst times to be outside. Ozarks Community Hospital of Gravette nurse practitioner Anita Marie Kane shares a few tips on how to keep the sniffles, itching and irritation at bay.

Sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, throat drainage…yes it is that time of year again! We are blessed to live in a region with beautiful foliage and dramatic seasonal changes. However, one of the drawbacks to this seasonal beauty is an abundance of budding, blooming, seeding, and blowing allergens.

The CDC reports over 17.6 million people were diagnosed with “hay fever” in the last year. According to Dr. Moses of Family Practice Notebook, hay fever affects 35 million people yearly, with 3 million missed work days.

What can you do to avoid those missed days? Talk to your provider about your options. Generally, try to avoid allergens you react to, use an air purifier in the home if indicated, avoid tobacco smoke, and use a mask if needed when mowing or working in dust-filled areas. Medications may offer some relief also. These include antihistamines (such as Allegra, Benadryl, Claritin and Zyrtec), intranasal corticosteroids (such as Flonase and Nasonex) and saline nasal spray. Other options in severe cases may include systemic steroids or even allergy testing with hyposensitization.

Just remember, the season will change (and there will be new allergens!). Stay healthy, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly and get adequate rest, a healthy you is your best defense.

Anita Marie Kane, APN is a long time resident of Gravette, AR, who started out as a nurse’s aide at the Gravette hospital shortly after moving to town. She obtained her MSN as a Family Nurse Practitioner from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. Kane specializes in Family Practice and Urgent Care.

10 Summer Safety Tips

Summer is in full swing, and so are your kids: swimming, biking, running, you name it! Here’s how to ensure they enjoy a hazard free break — indoors and out — before school begins (content courtesy of the Christian County Health Department):

  • Set an example and always wear your helmet when biking. Whether your child rides a trike, bike, scooter or skateboard, a helmet is always key in preventing serious injury. 
  • Parents can also set an example by wearing a seat belt and ensuring their children are strapped into the correct car seat.
  • Don’t forget to keep cleaners, medications and beauty products where children can’t reach them, and use safety locks to protect the items in areas easy to reach.
  • Be prepared before disaster strikes: in case of poisoning, call (800) 222-1222.
  • Check the batteries in your smoke alarm and hold regular fire drills with your family.

  • When cooking on the stove or grill, stay near at all times. Also, use back burners and turn pot handles toward the back of the stove to prevent temptation from small children looking for something to grab.
  • Keep your hot waters at 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent burns.
  • Watch out for small items such as coins, balloons and hard round food (such as peanuts and candy). Remember, anything that fits through a toilet paper tube can cause a young child to choke!
  • Place babies on their backs when they sleep, alone in their cribs. Don’t use pillow, blankets or comforters to prop them up.
  • When your children are in or near water (wading or swimming pools, bathtubs, toilets, spas and buckets of water), stay close enough to reach out and touch or grab them. Life guards may or may not be on duty to help protect your children.

Stay safe this summer! OCH’s ER is staffed and open 24 hours, 7 days a week. It is located at 2828 N. National in Springfield, Missouri and OCH’s Christian County Clinic Urgent Care is located at 105 S. Ridgecrest in Nixa, Missouri (open Monday through Friday from 8am to 8pm).

Number of Cancellations Makes Donating Crucial this Summer

Chances are, if you had the choice between donating blood or going to the movies, you’d choose the latter. In fact, there are probably a plethora of activities you’d rather take part in before participating in a blood drive. But don’t write it off just yet. Here’s why:

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO) representatives estimate more than 46 cancellations/holds have been reported in the area this summer due to the devastation in Joplin. This totals to more than 1,400 units of lost blood.

If you make the choice to donate this summer, your blood will not only save lives; it will also help support the community of Joplin in a time when donating blood isn’t as feasible. Every drop counts!

Ozarks Community Hospital will be hosting blood drives on the following dates:

  • OCH of Gravette (Arkansas): Tuesday, July 5 from 8:30am to 12:30pm in the OCH of Gravette Basement (1101 Jackson St.)
  • OCH of Springfield (MO): Thursday, July 7 from 9am to 1pm in the OCH North Conference Room (2828 N. National).

Still a bit unsure? It’s okay! If you haven’t donated before, the prospect of giving blood can be a bit intimidating. Read these 5 myths about donating blood (content courtesy of CBCO):

  1. Myth 1 I can’t give blood because I have seasonal allergies. Allergies, even those that need to be controlled by medication, will not prevent you from donating blood.
  2. Myth 2 I can’t give blood because I had cancer. While some types of cancer may disqualify you from donating, there are many circumstances under which you may donate blood after an appropriate waiting period. Please contact CBCO for more information.
  3. Myth 3 – I can’t give blood because I’m diabetic. Diabetics may donate blood as long as the other medical requirements are met. However, the use of bovine-derived insulin will result in deferral from blood donation.
  4. Myth 4 – I can’t give blood because I’m on medication. In nearly all cases, medications will not disqualify you as a blood donor. As long as you are healthy and the condition is under control, you will very likely be able to donate.
  5. Myth 5 – I can’t give blood because I’m afraid of needles. Most people do feel a bit of nervousness about blood donations. Most also say after their donation that they are sorry they waited so long! Blood donation is a momentary discomfort for the donor that can provide a lifetime of a difference for the patient.

Interested in signing up? Call (417) 874-4523 or email for more information.