Crockpot Pumpkin French Toast Casserole (recipe)

PLUS: Delaware's high incidence rate of Lyme disease, reasons why you can't sleep and local health events.

In the Lyme Light

Like many Delawareans, I read the recent article in the newspaper about the high incidence rate of Lyme disease in our state. I wondered how such a small state could have the highest incidence rate in the country. I set out to learn more behind the numbers and what we can do about it.

When it comes to public health, numbers can tell a story, but they need context. Delaware is a small state, so our statistics will be influenced by our population size. I consulted two experts on this issue.

I asked Dr. Karen Ravin, division chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, because the chances of contracting Lyme disease from a tick bite is low—1 to 2 percent—why are the number of cases so much higher in Delaware?

“It all depends upon what statistics you are looking at,” says Ravin. “Delaware had 767 cases in 2011, with an incidence rate of 84.6, while Pennsylvania had 4,739 cases, with an incidence rate of 37.2. With its smaller land mass, Delaware is more densely populated, and with all of our wonderful green areas, the risk of exposure is probably somewhat greater here.”

It would appear that Delaware houses the types of ticks likely to carry Lyme disease, such as the deer tick, also known as the black-legged tick. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the rates are higher in states in the northeast and upper Great Lakes regions where there likely are a larger number of these types of ticks.

So here in Delaware, a tick can bite you, but you are only at risk of infection if that tick is a carrier. I asked Dr. Laura Lawler, pediatric hospitalist chief for Christiana Care Health System, whether everyone with a tick bite should be tested right away.

“It takes two to three weeks for the Lyme test to become positive, and even then, it can sometimes be a little confusing to interpret,” says Lawler. “But even more importantly, getting bit by a tick is not a reason to have blood work done for Lyme disease. Watch for signs of infection, such as rash, joint paints, muscle aches and fatigue. If you develop any such symptoms, see your doctor.

“If you have the typical red rash that often looks like a bullseye at the site of the tick bite, the blood test is not recommended, because the rash indicates you have the infection. You do not need to seek medical attention for a tick bite unless you cannot get the tick off, the tick was attached for more than 36 hours or you develop a rash or become ill.”

I noticed the “Got Ticks?” billboard the other day. Apparently in Delaware, we do. It’s just a matter of protecting ourselves from them.

» More from Get Healthy, Delaware! blog

Crockpot Pumpkin
French Toast Casserole

I like every single word in the title of this recipe. Between the superfood benefits of pumpkin-like fiber and the ease of the Crockpot, I cannot believe the end product is French toast.

Jennifer Steinberg, associate producer of “Listen To Your Mother,” which debuted at World Cafe Live in Wilmington last spring, shared this recipe. If you want your kids to hit the ground running with a superfood breakfast, this one will do just that—plus make your whole house smell really delicious.

Crockpot Pumpkin French Toast Casserole

1 loaf sandwich bread (white or wheat), diced
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin purée
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves

1. Place cubed bread in a large bowl

2. In another bowl, whisk eggs and then mix in milk. pumpkin purée, brown sugar, vanilla and spices until well combined.

3. Pour egg mixture over bread and mix until bread is well coated

4. Pour bread mix into a well-sprayed Crockpot

5. Cook on low 6-8 hours/overnight

6. If needed, allow to sit uncovered for up to 30 minutes before serving if too moist

7. Serve and enjoy. Top with maple syrup, whipped cream or powdered sugar.

» More from Get Healthy, Delaware! blog

Why You Can’t Sleep

So you have a love-hate relationship with the Sandman? Are you one of the chronically tired that hits the snooze button multiple times in the morning? You’re hardly alone. About 70 million of us don’t get enough sleep, and nearly 10 percent experience chronic insomnia—trouble falling or staying asleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Getting a good night’s sleep has never been so tricky. So what’s keeping us up with the moon and the stars? Let’s count the reasons. (more)


» More from Get Healthy, Delaware! blog

Health Events

Saturday, Oct. 19

5th annual Stephanie Callaway Memorial Giggle Medic 5K
Location  Irish Eyes, 213 Anglers Road, Lewes, Delaware
Time  9 a.m.
More info

Tuesday, Oct. 22

Nanticoke Memorial Hospital’s CPR Class
Location  Nanticoke Training Center, Water Street, Seaford
Time  6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
More info  629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

Thursday, Oct. 24

Christiana Care’s Move Freely Without Pain
Location  John H. Ammon Medical Education Center, Christiana Hospital campus, 4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road, Newark, Main Auditorium
Time  7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
More info  661-3460

To submit your health-related event, email


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