The Importance of Monitoring Chronic Illnesses During the COVID-19 Crisis

Many health care facilities have seen a decrease in people seeking care for chronic conditions due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This can be attributed to fears of being exposed to the virus in public places or the temporary suspension of certain services offered by healthcare providers.

Although the outbreak has caused alterations in the way we live, one thing that should remain unchanged for those living with chronic illnesses is monitoring their health. It is important that they pay attention to symptoms that warn of serious health problems, because ignoring them may put their lives at risk.

Symptoms of chronic illnesses that should not be ignored include:

  • Chest pain, pressure in your chest, shortness of breath or other heart attack symptoms
  • Sudden numbness, weakness, confusion, loss of vision or other stroke symptoms
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heavy bleeding
  • High fever
  • Spikes in blood sugar (Diabetes)
  • Nausea

If these symptoms are persistent, please contact a physician for a medical consultation or seek emergency treatment. Medical facilities are well equipped to safely treat non-COVID-19 patients and many doctors are offering telehealth appointments. Some hospitals are also reopening their outpatient locations.

In addition to monitoring symptoms, it is important to maintain healthy habits. This can be achieved by keeping routine appointments (virtually or in person), taking prescribed medications, exercising, and eating a well-balanced diet.

If you have a non-COVID-19 related chronic medical condition or symptoms and would like to see a doctor, please contact Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-5486, to schedule an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Q & A: Can COVID-19 Affect My Pregnancy?

A:   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “We do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result.”

COVID-19 is a new disease. Therefore, we are learning more about how it spreads and the effects it can have on our health every day.  While we continue to learn more about COVID-19, we encourage women who are pregnant to exercise all recommended precautions to protect their health.  These measures include:

  • Frequently washing and sanitizing your hands
  • Frequently cleaning surfaces of your home
  • Avoiding people who are sick
  • Practicing social distancing

If you are pregnant and experiencing symptoms that include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, chills, headache, a new loss of smell, or taste please inform your doctor. Testing may be required to see if these symptoms are the result of COVID-19. If you have tested positive, you may require specialized care during pregnancy and delivery. After giving birth, there is the possibility that your baby may need to be separated from you. This separation helps to prevent you from infecting your baby.

It is important to remember that prenatal care is unique to each individual. Speak with your OB/GYN about their plans to monitor your pregnancy and protect your health during the COVID-19 outbreak.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Stay At Home Tips

Practicing social distancing and staying at home is crucial in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, but isolating ourselves from others and disrupting our daily routines can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you during this difficult time:
  • Structure your day – Try creating a daily schedule. Make your own routines and break up the day in order to stave off monotony and keep everyone as busy as possible.
  • Stay active – Try an at-home workout that can help keep you moving and combat the sense of malaise and boredom that can come from being stuck inside day after day.
  • Identify new activities – Whether it is tackling a project at home that you have been putting off or discovering a new hobby, new activities can provide a sense of purpose or achievement.
  • Communicate – Staying in contact with others via telephone, text or social media not only staves off boredom, but it is also critical for minimizing the sense of isolation.
We hope these tips will help you get through this challenging time.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Morning sickness is a common occurrence in pregnant women. It can cause mild nausea, a hyper sensitivity to smells, as well as weight loss during the first trimester.

While these are common symptoms of morning sickness, they should not be ignored especially, if they are persistent. Intense and consistent vomiting, weight loss and dehydration often present as symptoms of a more serious condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum. Symptoms typically develop around the 4th week of pregnancy and can last until the 20th week; in some cases longer.

It is very important for expecting mothers to pay attention to the symptoms associated with hyperemesis gravidarum as delayed or a lack of treatment can lead to complications for women and their unborn children.

Some complications are:

  • Kidney failure
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Malnutrition
  • Muscle weakness
  • Low birth weight
  • Premature birth

The treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum varies. At first, your doctor may suggest managing the symptoms with home remedies such as eating smaller and more frequent meals, drinking nutritional supplements to manage your electrolyte levels, vitamin replacement therapy or taking an antacid.

If these methods do not provide relief, your doctor may suggest a more aggressive treatment in a hospital setting.

If you are pregnant and experiencing symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum, you should seek the advice of a doctor. For more information or to make an appointment with an obstetrician or gynecologist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-670-5239.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Harmful is Occasional or Social Smoking?

social smoking-79071856 “I am not really a smoker because I only smoke on occasion or socially.” These words are frequently spoken by those who consider themselves light or social smokers.  It is quite common to find that people within this group are usually in denial of the frequency of their use of cigarettes and believe that they are not at risk of developing tobacco-related illnesses.

The truth is contrary as research has found that one-third of people who classify themselves as social smokers actually smoke more than six times per day.  Additionally, whether someone smokes a lot or a little, they are at risk for developing diseases caused by tobacco.  The damage that one puff of nicotine causes is instant.  It takes 10 seconds for nicotine to be transported throughout the body and to the brain. Nicotine also slows down circulation and increases blood pressure and heart rate.

Furthermore, in a study conducted by the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, it was found that light smoking may result in several health complications such as:

  • Stroke
  • COPD
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Lower respiratory tract infections
  • Weakened immune systems

Smoking occasionally or socially does not exclude you from developing the health complications associated with tobacco use. Over time smoking will take its toll on your body. The best thing you can do for your health is to quit smoking.

If you or someone you know needs help in quitting smoking please contact Flushing Hospital’s Freedom From Smoking program at 718 206 8494 for more information.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Tips For Managing Children With Type 1 Diabetes

Managing Type 1 Diabetes Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic illnesses to occur in children.  Having a child that has been diagnosed with this disease can present several challenges. Younger children may not fully understand how diabetes affects their health; they may become frustrated with dietary restrictions or have anxieties about receiving treatment.  Older children can often feel different or isolated from their peers and may neglect their self-care routines in order to fit in.

Creating a management plan can help families cope with some of these challenges.  Here are some of the components that should be included in a plan:

  • Education- Education is one of the most important components of a diabetes management plan. Teaching children about the disease should start as early as possible and continue into their teenage years. Encourage them to ask questions and provide an environment in which they can speak openly.   It is important to remember to provide answers that are appropriate and understandable for their age.
  • Meal plans- Meals should be planned based on a child’s age and level of physical activity. Diets should be well-balanced and exclude foods that can cause blood sugar levels to spike.  Teens are more independent in choosing the foods they eat each day.  Therefore, they should be reminded to stick to a schedule (To avoid missing meals) and be mindful of the foods they consume.
  • Medication adherence tools or approaches- Glucose testing and insulin injections can be scary for smaller children. However, parents can make receiving treatments easier by allowing children to choose the location for injections or their preferred finger for blood checks. These options provide children with a sense of control and can help to reduce their anxieties. Parents are also encouraged to perform diabetes care gently and quickly to ease discomfort.   Medication adherence in older children can be achieved through the use of technology.   Parents and children can utilize tools that help them to track diabetes care such as shareable digital calendars, reminder apps or auto-subscribing delivery services.  As older children take on more responsibility for managing their medications, they should be reminded of the consequences of not sticking to their routine.
  • Support- It is important for parents to establish a network of support because having diabetes can take a toll on children’s emotional health. Children need to feel safe in sharing their challenges in managing the disease. This network can include parents, family, friends or a mental health counselor.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center offers numerous services that can help you to manage your child’s diabetes. Our physicians are highly trained in all aspects of pediatric health. To schedule an appointment, please call 718-670-5486.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

National Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month – Hemophilia

March is recognized as Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month. This observance raises awareness for bleeding disorders such as hemophilia.

Hemophilia is a genetic disorder which slows the blood clotting process. It is estimated that hemophilia occurs in 1 in every 5,000 male births in the United States.  The disorder very rarely develops in girls.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Hemophilia is caused by a mutation or change, in one of the genes, that provides instructions for making the clotting factor proteins needed to form a blood clot. This change or mutation can prevent the clotting protein from working properly or to be missing altogether.”

Because people with hemophilia lack sufficient blood clotting proteins, this causes them to bleed longer than they normally should.  Bleeding can occur spontaneously or following an injury. Other common signs and symptoms that they may experience include:

  • Bleeding into the joints which can lead to swelling, tightness or pain (This most commonly affects the ankles, knees and elbows)
  • Bleeding from the mouth and gums
  • Bleeding after receiving vaccinations or injections
  • Blood in the urine or stool
  • Frequent and hard to stop nosebleeds
  • Bleeding into the skin (bruises)
  • Bleeding into soft tissue and muscle (hematomas)

A diagnosis of hemophilia is determined after blood has been tested to reveal a clotting-factor deficiency.  If it is found that the blood is not clotting as it should, tests known as factor assays are required to explore the cause.  In severe cases, the disorder can be diagnosed within the first year of a child’s life. People with a family history of hemophilia are encouraged to have their baby boys tested soon after birth.

One of the most common approaches for treating hemophilia is to replace the missing blood clotting factor. This treatment is administered through a tube placed in the vein. Other forms of treatment can include taking clot preserving medications, injecting the hormone Desmopressin (DDAVP), applying fibrin sealants and participating in physical therapy.

There are several measures that a person living with hemophilia can take to reduce the chances of injury or excessive bleeding.  The following are recommended: avoid taking blood-thinning medications, exercise regularly (contact sports should be avoided), practice good dental hygiene and avoid certain pain medications that can aggravate bleeding such as aspirin.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

ThinkstockPhotos-499259104Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a chronic illness that is of unknown origin. It typically leaves the patient feeling extremely tired, it may get worse with mental or physical activity, and usually does not improve with rest.

There are a few theories as to what causes the condition but none have been proven. Some physicians believe it may be caused by a viral infection or possibly caused by stress.

There are eight signs and symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:
• Fatigue
• Loss of memory or concentration
• Sore throat
• Muscle pain that is unexplained
• Enlarged lymph nodes in neck or armpits
• Joint pain without swelling or redness
• Headaches
• Sleep that does not refresh the body
• Extreme exhaustion that lasts more than 24 hours

Some factors that may contribute to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are:
• Age – Usually affects people in their 40’s and 50’s
• Gender – Affects women more often than men
• Stress – People under a lot of stress may develop the condition more frequently
• Depression
• Lifestyle restrictions – owing to physical disability or being homebound.

It is important to have a thorough check-up to make certain that there are no other chronic health issues that may be causing symptoms similar to chronic fatigue syndrome. There is no cure for the condition and treatment options are geared towards the improvement of the symptoms. In some cases, antidepressants may be used and sleeping pills which may aid in getting some rest.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Flushing Hospital’s Nurse of The Month

Our nurses are the pillars of our community. In addition to meeting the demands of being a caregiver, they wear several hats including that of an educator, nurturer,  and comforter.

Not only do nurses care for patients; they provide support to families and loved ones during difficult times.

Our nurses pour their hearts into all aspects of their job, and this is one of the many reasons we celebrate their accomplishments.

Join us in congratulating Kelly Wong, RN for receiving Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Nurse of the Month.

Meet Kelly:

Q&A:

Q: How long have you been working for FHMC? A: I have been working at Flushing Hospital for almost four years.

Q: On which unit do you currently work? A:   The Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)

Q: Why did you want to become a nurse? A:  Nursing is a profession that is filled with passion, kindness and respect. My father always taught me, life is not only about money and possessions, but to have a kind heart and be a positive influence in society. I dedicate this to him because he is the reason I became a nurse. He taught me that it’s never wrong to help someone in need, there is no such thing as doing too many good deeds. When a patient and their family are going through their toughest times and obstacles in life, nurses are at the front line. To me, this is not only a job but a way to make a difference in people’s lives.

QWhat is the best part of your job? A: Knowing that I can make a difference and be there for patients when they need it the most. Being able to bring a sense of peace and comfort during difficult times. I love to hear stories from my patients and families. I can’t imagine doing anything else. When I go home each day, I feel accomplished knowing I did as much as I could for my patients and their families. It is truly an amazing profession.

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

February’s Flushing Hospital Employee Spotlight – Eligio Infante

February’s Employee Spotlight shines on Eligio Infante, Patient Navigator Supervisor and Interpreter at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

Eligio is a graduate of the University of Vermont, where he received a B.A. in Psychology.  As a Supervisor, he leads a group of dedicated Navigators who assist patients in overcoming barriers that may prevent them from receiving healthcare.

As part of his work day, Eligio and his team may be scheduling appointments and reminders for patients, providing medical interpretations, Diabetes prevention classes for those at risk, diet and nutrition workshops, community outreach at health fairs, smoking cessation workshops to help smokers quit and stay smoke free and make healthier lifestyle choices.

When asked about his hobbies, Eligio responded, “I enjoy reading, travel, visiting new places and cultures as well as focusing on health and wellness.  I like to go to the gym and going for a run.”

Being a Patient Navigator Supervisor and Interpreter is both rewarding and challenging.  “It’s challenging to see a patient looking stressed or confused.  However, I feel especially pleased when a patient is not fluent or has a very limited understanding of the English language and I can be there for them at their doctor’s visit.  When you see the look fear turn to relief and gratitude on the patients face knowing it was me that helped them understand their diagnosis treatment through interpretation or knowing that their diabetes is under control or I having assisted them by providing the tools to quit smoking is very rewarding.”

For these and so many other reasons we congratulate Eligion Infante for being Flushing Hospital’s February Employee Spotlight!

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.