Lyme Disease Prevention Tips With Dr. Sherman Klein

With summer in full swing, we will be spending more time doing activities outdoors in areas such as parks, forests and hiking trails.  While getting out and keeping physically fit is strongly encouraged it is important to keep in mind that being in these areas can put you at risk for Lyme disease.

Dr. Sherman Klein, MD, specializing in Internal Medicine at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center offers the following information on Lyme disease, how it is spread, its symptoms, and treatment.

Lyme disease is the most common tick-born infection in New York City and in the United States.  On the east coast, Lyme disease is spread by the bite of a black-legged tick infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.  Not all black-legged ticks carry this bacterium and, even if they are infected, they must be attached for at least 36 – 48 hours after a person is bitten to transmit the disease.

Blacklegged ticks are rarely found in NYC, but if you have been traveling in more rural areas of New York such as Westchester and Long Island you are at greater risk of coming into contact with an infected tick.

The annual number of cases of Lyme disease reported continues to rise each year in non-rural communities.

Some of the early warning signs of Lyme disease are:

  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Rash

These signs and symptoms may occur anywhere from three to 30 days after being bitten.  After an infected tick bite, a widening red area may appear at the infected site that is clear in the center, forming a bull’s eye appearance.

Dr. Klein suggests that the best way to avoid contracting Lyme disease is to avoid direct contact with ticks.  You can do this by avoiding wooded and brushy areas, and high grass.  If you are hiking, try to walk in the center of the trails and wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. If in a wooded area you should use a strong repellent.  Dr. Klein cautions that when using any repellent, you should avoid applying the solution to your hands, eyes and mouth.

Some of the tips to find and remove ticks from your body and clothing are:

  • Do a check of your entire body viewing under your arms, behind and in your ears, inside your navel, behind your knees, along your legs, waist and hair. Also, check your pet.
  • Take a shower soon after returning indoors. If you wash within two hours of returning indoors, the ticks are more easily found and washed off your body.
  • Once you are indoors, take your clothing and place them in the wash using hot water and then put them in the dryer on “high” for at least 10 minutes; if the clothes were washed in cold water, place them in the dryer on “high” for at least 90 minutes

If Lyme disease is left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body causing arthritis cardiac and nervous system problems.   Dr. Sherman Klein is one of the many qualified doctors specializing in Internal Medicine at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.  To schedule an appointment with him, or any of our other doctors, 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.

The Danger of Drinking Alcoholic Beverages in Hot Weather

Drinking alcoholic beverages in hot weather can have serious consequences.  During extreme heat, we sweat more and drinking alcohol can cause us to lose fluids because of an increase in urination. This combination can lead to dehydration.
Dehydration in hot weather can cause:
• Dizziness
• Muscle cramps
• Disorientation
• Fatigue
• Impaired judgement
• Heat stroke
The body’s temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus gland. Alcohol will cause a slowing down of the  hypothalamus, so if the body is already hot because of the heat, the effects of alcohol will make the body think it is even hotter.
If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages in the hot weather, drink them slowly, and have a glass of water at regular intervals to keep yourself hydrated. Be mindful of the fact that your judgement may be impaired so don’t lay out in the sun for too long, and definitely don’t  swim beyond your capabilities.
Be smart, drinking alcohol at any time of year can be dangerous if it is done in excess. Watch what you are doing and have a safe summer.

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.

Drinking Alcohol in Hot Weather

Drinking alcoholic beverages in hot weather can have serious consequences.  During extreme heat, we sweat more and drinking alcohol can cause us to lose fluids because of an increase in urination. This combination can lead to dehydration.
Dehydration in hot weather can cause:
• Dizziness
• Muscle cramps
• Disorientation
• Fatigue
• Impaired judgement
• Heat stroke
The body’s temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus gland. Alcohol will cause a slowing down of the  hypothalamus, so if the body is already hot because of the heat, the effects of alcohol will make the body think it is even hotter.
If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages in the hot weather, drink them slowly, and have a glass of water at regular intervals to keep yourself hydrated. Be mindful of the fact that your judgement may be impaired so don’t lay out in the sun for too long, and definitely don’t  swim beyond your capabilities.
Be smart, drinking alcohol at any time of year can be dangerous if it is done in excess. Watch what you are doing and have a safe summer.

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 Offers Tips to Avoid Mosquito Bites This Summer

The summer is here and that means longer days and evenings spent outdoors. It also means an increased risk of getting bitten by mosquitos.

Mosquito bites occur when a female mosquito feeds on your blood. Mosquitoes select their victims by evaluating scent, exhaled carbon dioxide and the chemicals in a person’s sweat. When bitten, the proteins in the mosquito’s saliva trigger a mild immune system reaction. That reaction appears as a white, itchy bump on our skin.

The bump usually clears up on its own in a few days, but occasionally a mosquito bite can cause a large area of swelling, soreness and redness. This type of reaction is most common in children or adults not previously exposed to the type of mosquito that bit them, and people with immune system disorders. In these people, mosquito bites can also trigger a low-grade fever, hives, or swollen lymph nodes.

If mosquito bites lead to more serious symptoms — such as fever, headache, body aches and signs of infection — contact your doctor.

Mosquitos are also carriers of many diseases, including West Nile virus, malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever. While most of the diseases carried by mosquitos are found in other parts of the world, West Nile virus is now transmissible in the United States. In fact, doctors from Flushing Hospital were the first to identify the initial outbreak in 1999 and worked with health authorities to limit the exposure to the community.

Now Flushing Hospital wants to offer our community the following tips on how they can protect themselves from mosquito bites:

  • Wear protective clothing such as long pants and long sleeved shirts, particularly between dusk and dawn when mosquitos are most active
  • Avoid shaded, bushy areas where mosquitos like to rest
  • Remove any places where standing water can collect on your property, such as tires, cans, plastic containers fire pits, or pots
  • Make sure your roof gutters drain properly. Clean clogged gutters in the spring and the fall
  • Clean and chlorinate your swimming pools, outdoor saunas or hot tubs and drain water from pool covers
  • Change the water in your bird baths at least every three to four days
  • If you have severe reactions to mosquito bites, consider taking a non-drowsy, nonprescription antihistamine when you know you’ll be exposed to mosquitoes
  • Apply insect repellents that contain DEET as they are considered most effective

When applying insect repellent, it is important to follow a few safety measures including making sure you spray it on outdoors and away from food. If you’re using sunscreen, put it on about 20 minutes before applying the repellent and don’t apply repellent over sunburns, cuts, wounds or rashes.  When you go indoors, wash with soap and water to remove any remaining repellent.

Insect repellent with DEET is generally safe for children and adults, with a few exceptions. It is important to read the label carefully as infants and those with immunity complications should not use it. If you have any questions, you should consult your doctor.

By taking these precautions, Flushing Hospital hopes to help you limit your chances of becoming bit by a mosquito this summer.

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.

Sunscreen and Skin Cancer Prevention

Many of us enjoy soaking up the sun in the summer, however, it is important that we do so safely and with discretion to prevent skin cancer.

One of the best ways to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays is to wear sunscreen.  Studies show that using sunscreen regularly reduces the incidence of melanoma (a form of skin cancer) by 50-73%.

Sunscreen works by preventing the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin.   Your sunscreen’s ability to prevent radiation from damaging your skin is measured by its SPF (Sun Protecting Factor). It is highly advised that you use sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher, as this offers better protection.

The Skin Cancer Foundation also recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen which offers protection against UVA and UVB radiation. Too much exposure from either type of radiation has been linked to skin cancer.

Additional recommendations for proper sunscreen use include:

  • Applying sunscreen approximately 30 minutes before sun exposure to ensure the product has enough time to properly bind to skin
  • Applying sunscreen generously and regularly
  • Checking product instructions for how often  sunscreen should be applied
  • Reapplying sunscreen after swimming or excessive sweating

It is important to keep in mind that protecting your skin from the sun does not only include wearing sunscreen. Remember to wear protective clothing or accessories such as broad-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts and limit the amount of time spent in the sun.

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.

The Health Benefits of Rosemary

Rosemary is a fragrant herb native to the Mediterranean region.  It has a warm, bitter taste and it provides a nice flavor and aroma to many foods. In addition, rosemary can be used in tea or as an essential oil or liquid extract.

Rosemary is not only known for its taste and smell; it is also renowned for the many health benefits it possesses. A good source of iron, calcium and vitamins A, C, and B-6, rosemary has been used for its medicinal purposes for centuries.

Some of the many potential health benefits of rosemary include:

  • Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are thought to help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation.
  • Rosemary is considered a cognitive stimulant and can help improve memory performance and quality. It is also known to boost alertness, intelligence, and focus.
  • The aroma of rosemary has been linked to improving mood, clearing the mind, and relieving stress in those with chronic anxiety or stress hormone imbalances.
  • The oil of rosemary has been known to promote hair growth prevent baldness, slow graying, and treat dandruff and dry scalp.
  • Rosemary is often used for digestion problems, including heartburn, intestinal gas, liver and gallbladder complaints, and loss of appetite.
  • Rosemary is specifically powerful against bacterial infections. It is linked to preventing staph infections.
  • The nutrients in rosemary help protect skin cells from damage often caused by the sun and free radicals.

Rosemary is safe when taken in low doses, but if consumed in very large doses if can lead to serious side effects, such as vomiting, spasms, or even pulmonary edema. Please consult with your doctor before incorporating rosemary into your diet.

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.

Tonsillectomy

The tonsils are two oval-shaped glands located in the back of the throat that help fight infections that enter through the mouth. Since they are part of the immune system, they can be considered to be the body’s first line of defense against harmful bacteria and viruses.
When the tonsils become infected they swell and can cause a sore throat and difficulty breathing.  Inflammation of the tonsils is called tonsillitis. It is more common in children, but can happen at any age. The reason for this is that a child’s immune system is not as fully developed as an adult.
To treat tonsillitis, one of the approaches a doctor may consider is surgery. A tonsillectomy is the surgical procedure whereby the tonsils are removed. This procedure is performed on patients who have more than seven cases of tonsillitis in a year, or five cases a year for two consecutive years.  Other reasons to perform a tonsillectomy are sleep apnea, loud snoring, tonsil cancer, bleeding tonsils and difficulty breathing.
There are several different forms of tonsillectomy procedures including:
• Cold Knife dissection – surgical removal with a scalpel
• Cauterization – burning away the tonsil material
• Ultrasonic vibration – using sound waves
A tonsillectomy usually takes about a half an hour to perform. It is a relatively common and safe procedure, but with any surgery, there are risks. These risks include a reaction to the anesthesia, swelling, bleeding, pain, fever, and difficulty swallowing for a few days.
If you or your child is experiencing frequent sore throats and your physician is recommends a tonsillectomy, you can schedule an appointment with a surgeon at Flushing Hospital who specializes in this kind of surgery 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.