What To Do If You Get The Flu

One of the most frequently asked questions at this time of year is “What should I do if I get the flu”? Since the flu is a virus and not a bacterial infection, antibiotics aren’t going to help. The best way to treat the flu is to get plenty of bed rest and drink lots of fluids.  Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever may also help to reduce the symptoms.

In some situations a physician may prescribe an anti-viral medication if the virus is caught early enough. Any time medication is prescribed, it should always be taken as directed. People should be aware of any potential side effects, and in some cases, contraindications, especially for those who have certain chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure.

In some cases, home remedies may be effective for treating the symptoms of the flu. These include:

  • Eating chicken soup
  • Drinking herbal tea
  • Using a humidifier
  • Applying a warm compresses on the nose and forehead
  • Taking cough drops and throat lozenges
  • Gargling with salt water
  • Using a neti  pot
  • Practicing nasal irrigation

Under most circumstances, the symptoms of the flu will subside on their own after a few days. If you have concerns, see your physician right away. You may schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center by calling 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.

Today is the Great American Smokeout – Quit Smoking Today!

Today is the Great American Smokeout, an annual event when the American Cancer Society encourages everyone to quit smoking. This event helps to make people aware of the dangers of using tobacco products as well as the tools that are available to help them quit smoking.

The Great American Smokeout started in 1970 in a small town in Massachusetts. People were asked to give up smoking for one day and to take the money that they would have spent on cigarettes and donate it to a local high school scholarship fund. The event spread to other cities both large and small and eventually led to legislation that bans smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and other public spaces both indoors and outdoors.

Smoking  is responsible for one in five deaths in the United States today. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in both men and women. Smoking is also the cause of cancer of the larynx, mouth, sinuses, throat, esophagus, and the bladder. The number of people who smoke has dramatically decreased in the United States since the anti-smoking campaigns began. In 1965 it was estimated that over 40 percent of the population were smokers and today that number is around 18 percent.

Smokers have the best chances of quitting if they use at least two of the following methods:

• Smoking Cessation Groups
• Nicotine substitute products
• Support from family and friends
• Telephone quit lines
• Counseling
• Prescription medications that help to reduce the urge to smoke

If you would like more information about quitting smoking please call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital to discuss smoking cessation, please call 718-206-8494.

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.

#Wellness Wednesday

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. -John F. Kennedy

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.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Every year the month of November is recognized nationally as Diabetes Awareness Month. According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million people have this disease, however, only 18.8 million have been diagnosed. An additional 79 million people in the United States are believed to have pre-diabetes.

Diabetes affects different race and ethnic groups more frequently than others. The prevalence of diabetes has been calculated to affect 7.1 % of Caucasians, 8.4% of Asian Americans, 12.6% of African Americans and 11.8 % of Hispanics. Diabetes is considered a chronic illness that leads to it being a cause of death, either directly or through a complication due to the disease. Some of the complications associated with diabetes are hypertension, blindness, heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, neuropathy, and amputations.

Diabetes is a chronic illness for which there is no known cure. It can, however, be treated successfully in many people, and very often these people lead long and healthy lives. Having a family history of diabetes can be a risk factor for developing the disease but not a guarantee that a person will definitely develop it. Other risk factors include obesity, poor diet, having diabetes during pregnancy, race and ethnicity, being over the age of 45, lack of exercise, and having high blood pressure.

Some of the symptoms of diabetes are frequent urination, frequently feeling thirsty, blurry vision, fatigue, feeling hungry even after having just eaten a meal or a snack, wounds that are slow to heal, numbness or tingling in the extremities, and in some cases, weight loss.

The three most common forms of diabetes are Type 1 which indicates a lack of insulin production by the pancreas, Type 1 is most commonly associated with children and young adults. Type 2 diabetes is when the body produces insulin but it is not utilized adequately by the body, also known as adult-onset diabetes and the most commonly diagnosed form of the disease. Gestational Diabetes occurs occasionally during pregnancy and then frequently resolves itself once the pregnancy is completed.

Diabetes is diagnosed through blood tests. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, a physician will discuss treatment options that will work for that individual. Often this will include either an oral medication in cases that are less severe or insulin injections for more serious cases, combined with diet modification and possibly an exercise regime. It is extremely important to keep diabetes well controlled. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious complications that may be irreversible and can lead to blindness, heart disease, stroke and premature death.

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.

Are You REALLY Allergic to Antibiotics?

If taken correctly and not used to inappropriately combat viruses, antibiotics can  be extremely effective in preventing the spread of infection.  While there is a great deal of information circulating about the misuse or overuse of antibiotics, there is relatively very little shared about the underuse of antibiotics due to suspected allergies.

Many Americans are under the impression that they are allergic to antibiotics, but according to a recent New York Times article, it is estimated that up to 90 percent of antibiotic allergy claims are not legitimate. So why do so many people believe they are allergic when they are not? Most often it is not the individual’s fault; they were either falsely told by their parents that they were allergic to antibiotics when they were a child or they do not understand what constitutes an allergic reaction.

In reality, many individuals experience some type of reaction after taking antibiotics, such as an upset stomach, headache or diarrhea. These bodily responses are considered side effects, and should not be classified as an allergic reaction. A true allergic reaction is when your body treats the medication entering your system as an invader and releases chemicals called histamines to attack it.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include the development of a rash, swelling of the face, or some difficulty breathing. For most mild reactions, medications such as antihistamines or corticosteroids can be taken to treat symptoms.

In rare case however, some experience a more severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis. Symptoms of an anaphylactic allergic reaction include:

  • Difficult or noisy breathing
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Swelling or tightness in the throat
  • Wheezing or coughing
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Pale complexion

Signs of an anaphylactic allergic reaction usually present within an hour of taking an antibiotic. If this type of reaction occurs, medical attention is necessary and 911 should be called immediately.  Treatment for a severe allergic reaction often requires an epinephrine injection to alleviate the symptoms.

While many antibiotic allergy claims are false, there are some people who are truly allergic. For those who truly are allergic, the antibiotic that they are most frequently allergic to is penicillin, or other antibiotics that are closely associated with it. Those who suspect that they are allergic to penicillin can confirm it with a simple skin test.

With the rise of so many “super-bugs,” proper treatment of infections using the correct course of antibiotics has never been more important.  Limiting the number of medications you can receive because you think you are allergic can prove to be very dangerous or even fatal.

If you believe you are allergic to antibiotics, but are not certain, speak to your doctor. Together you can discuss the pros and cons and arrive at an appropriate course of treatment.

Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center has many qualified doctors who can advise you on the correct use of antibiotics. To make 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.

What is a Goiter ?

A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland which is a butterfly shaped gland that is found at the base of the neck. It is responsible for producing hormones that control metabolism that regulate the amount of calcium in the blood.

There are a few reasons a goiter may develop. The main cause of a goiter is a lack of iodine in the diet. That is why certain foods are supplemented with iodine, such as iodized salt which is commonly used. Other causes are Grave’s disease which occurs when the thyroid produces too much of its T3 and T4 hormone or an underproduction of the same hormones, known as Hashimoto’s disease.

An enlarged thyroid gland can also be caused by thyroid cancer, pregnancy, menopause, exposure to radiation, aging, and being female. Eating large amounts  of certain foods such as soybeans, rutabagas, cabbage, peaches, peanuts and spinach can also cause a goiter to form.

A goiter may or may not cause symptoms, but when it does present as:

  • Swelling at the base of the neck
  • Coughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Problems breathing
  • Tightness in the throat

Diagnosing a problem with the thyroid gland can be done with an ultrasound, a blood test to check hormone levels, an antibody test, a biopsy and a thyroid scan using radioactive isotopes are injected into the blood to see if they are taken up by the gland.

Depending on its cause, a goiter may be treated with iodine supplements, medication, or may require a surgical procedure.

If you suspect that you may be having an issue with your thyroid, you should see your physician as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center 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 Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month.  The observance was created by the Caregiver Action Network as an initiative to honor family caregivers across the United States.

This year’s theme, “Supercharge Your Caregiving” identifies the challenges family caregivers face, and how they can manage them.

Taking care of a loved one with a serious illness can be physically and mentally challenging.   Many family caregivers often experience sleep deprivation, poor eating habits, stress, anxiety or depression; all of which can take a toll on their health.

As a family caregiver, it is important to keep in mind that taking care of your own health is equally as important as caring for the health of loved ones.   You need to be at your best in order to take good care of others.

Here are a few tips to help you take care of yourself while caring for loved ones:

  • Recognize when you are stressed-Paying attention to early signs of stress can you help to identify stressors and put a plan into action to diminish or reduce their effects.
  • Make time for yourself- It is important to take breaks to avoid burnout and help you re-energize.
  • Take care of your health-Neglecting your health can lead to medical complications. It is important that you eat healthy, exercise and keep up with routine doctor visits.
  • Ask for help- Caring for a loved one can be overwhelming; feeling alone and overwhelmed can lead to depression or anxiety. It is important that you do not isolate yourself and seek the support of a group or individual that can help you navigate challenges.

Being a caregiver often requires a 24/7 commitment. While this level of dedication can be difficult, there are many resources available to alleviate some of the challenges.  The Caregiver Action Network provides helpful tools to help you overcome obstacles you may encounter. Please visit caregiveraction.org 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.

BENEFITS OF COLLAGEN FOR MAINTAINING A HEALTHY GUT

When talking about collagen, most people would equate it with skin care, but younger looking skin is only where the benefits of collagen begin.  Collagen can also play an important role in building and maintaining healthy connective tissue throughout your digestive tract.

Maintaining a strong digestive tract and stomach lining is extremely important for the prevention of a condition known as “leaky gut.”  Leaky gut happens when there are damages in the barrier lining of your intestine.  This condition may allow food and waste particles to pass into the bloodstream, causing an inflammation.  Leaky gut can cause bloating, gas, stomach cramps, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), as well as sensitivity to foods that are wheat-based, high in sugar and contain gluten.

Foods that are known to trigger leaky gut are:

  • Wheat-based products
  • Gluten-containing grains
  • Processed meats
  • Baked goods
  • Snack foods
  • Junk food
  • Dairy products
  • Refined oils
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Sauces
  • Beverages

Some simple ways to add more collagen to your diet are:Collagen is beneficial to gut health because it contains large amounts of the amino acids glycine, glutamine and proline which can be beneficial to the intestinal tract as well as the stomach.

  • Bone broth – Bone broth is made by simmering bones to help extract the flavor and beneficial nutrients of the bones marrow.  It is not only an excellent source of collagen, but it is tastes good and is easy to add to your diet through soups and stews.
  • Powdered gelatin – Gelatin is the cooked form or collagen.  By utilizing powdered gelatin as a tea or by adding it to your soups, stews and broths, you can quickly bump up your collagen consumption.
  • Supplements with collagen peptides – Collagen peptides are an easy way to get this important amino acid.  Most brands are broken down so that they are easy to digest and absorb.

Although leaky gut is more prevalent in persons with chronic diseases such as, celiac’s disease and type 1 diabetes, main source of leaky gut remains a mystery. Therefore, its treatment may vary.  Most doctors recommend adding a healthier menu to your lifestyle. They suggest adding more vegetables, fruit, gluten-free grains, healthy fats, fish, lean meats, eggs and yogurt to your diet.

If you are showing signs and symptoms of leaky gut and they persist, please see your doctor for further discussion.  If you’d like to make an appointment at Flushing Hospital Medical Centers, Ambulatory Care Center, call 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.

Itchy Ears – What is the Cause and How do You Treat Them?

If you ever experienced a sudden itch inside your ear and asked an elder member of your family why, they may have told you it means that someone is talking about you.

With all due respect to those spreaders of old wives tales, there is probably a more credible medical reason why our ears itch on occasion. The hard part is figuring out which of the many possible conditions or habits is causing this reaction.

Identifying the culprit can lead to appropriate treatment. Here are some potential causes:

  • Psoriasis Pain or itching on the skin on or around your ear might be an indication of psoriasis, a relatively common skin condition. If this is the case, you might notice a buildup of rough, dry, red patches or scales in the external area of your ear that can itch or hurt. There are a variety of treatment options including topical medications or steroids.
  • Skin allergiesThe skin inside your ears can itch because of an allergic reaction to something that is applied in or near your ear. A new hair product may be the culprit and earrings that contain nickel have also been known to cause an allergic reaction. Be mindful whenever introducing anything new to your skin and stop using it if you believe it is the cause.
  • Food allergies – Similar to reactions from skin contact, some might have an allergic reaction to something they ate, causing their ears to itch. Certain fruits, vegetables, or tree nuts are the most common sources of food allergies. A doctor can test for the source of a food allergy, determine the severity and prescribe the appropriate medication.
  • Infections– Itchy ears can sometimes be a sign of an ear infection. Bacteria and viruses cause them, usually when you have a cold or the flu. One kind of infection, swimmer’s ear, can happen when water stays in your ear after you swim. To stop the itch, you’ll need to treat the infection, possibly with ear drops or antibiotics.
  • Improper cleaningPlacing cotton swabs into your ears can inflame your ear canal and leave you itching. Pins, paper clips, matchsticks, and your fingers can also scratch the skin inside your ears, making it easy for bacteria to enter and cause an infection. Excessive ear wax build-up can also cause your ears to itch. Your doctor can remove excessive wax using special instruments.

Regardless of the reason you are experiencing an itching sensation in your ear, it is important to be mindful of any changes in your diet or environment and share that information with your doctor so he or she can prescribe the correct course of treatment.

To make an appointment at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, 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.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff is located in the shoulder and is made up of a group of muscles and tendons that serve to keep the upper arm bone firmly attached into the shoulder socket.

Injuries to the rotator cuff are typically associated with repetitive movement that requires overhead motion of the shoulder. People who are susceptible to rotator cuff injuries are baseball pitchers, painters, tennis players, construction workers and seniors. There also may be a family history factor that can make a person susceptible to this type of injury.

Rotator cuff injuries can be divided into three categories. Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons in the shoulder caused by overuse. Bursitis is an inflammation of the fluid filled sacs that are located between the bone and the tendons. Strains and tears of the rotator cuff are caused by an overstretching of the tendons that attach the muscles to the bone.

Signs and symptoms of a rotator cuff injury include:

  • A dull ache in the shoulder
  • Difficulty sleeping on the affected side
  • Arm weakness
  • Difficulty reaching behind the back
  • A popping sound when moving the shoulder
  • Limited range of shoulder motion

One way to prevent a rotator cuff injury is to do stretching exercises every day to keep the muscles and tendons in good condition.

Diagnosing a rotator cuff injury involves a thorough history and physical exam ,an x-ray to see if there is a bone problem or either an ultrasound or MRI.

Failure to treat a rotator cuff injury could eventually lead to loss of mobility in the shoulder and degeneration of the shoulder joint. Treatment of a rotator cuff injury depends on the severity and nature of the problem. Short term use of an over the counter anti-inflammatory may help the symptoms.  If the problem  is caused by repetitive movement over a period of time, physical therapy which includes either applying heat or ice to the area and strengthening exercises may be one way to help the symptoms. A cortisone injection to the area will help to reduce the inflammation and usually that will help reduce the discomfort too.  However, if  there is a  tear of a tendon, surgery may be required.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with an orthopedist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, 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.