Will Having Shingles Effect My Pregnancy?

pregpicAlmost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles. Shingles is the term used for a skin rash that is caused by the herpes-zoster (varicella) virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. In some cases it can reactivate and cause shingles. Anyone who has had chickenpox may develop shingles, including pregnant women and even children.

As a new or expecting mother there are a lot of concerns for staying as healthy as you can for you and your baby during pregnancy. Although you can’t give anybody shingles, you can pass the virus on as chickenpox. Whereas shingles is harmless in pregnancy, chickenpox can cause problems for an unborn baby. For this reason, stay away from other pregnant women while you have shingles.

If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant:

  • First, get a blood test to find out if you’re immune to chickenpox. If you’re not immune, you can get a vaccine. It’s best to wait 1 month after the vaccine before getting pregnant.
  • If you’re already pregnant, don’t get the vaccine until after you give birth. In the meantime, avoid contact with anyone who has chickenpox or shingles.
  • If you’re not immune to chickenpox and you come into contact with someone who has it, tell your doctor right away. Your doctor can treat you with medicine that has chickenpox antibodies.
  • Tell your doctor if you come in contact with a person who has shingles. Your doctor may want to treat you with an antiviral medication. Antiviral medication will shorten the length of time that the symptoms will be present.

There isn’t a cure for shingles but a physician will usually prescribe medications to make the symptoms less intense. If you have questions about shingles send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org

To learn more about prenatal treatments please call the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, 718-670-8994.

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.

OB/GYN or Midwife: Which Is Right For You?

Midwife, mother and newborn baby

When you decide to try to conceive, it is important to start looking for a practitioner to care for you during pregnancy and the birth of your baby. Deciding between an OB/GYN doctor and Midwife depends on what kind of experience you want, where you plan to give birth, what your insurance covers and the risk level of your pregnancy. Here are a few factors to consider in making your decision:

  1. If you have a medical condition such as high blood pressure, epilepsy, heart disease, or diabetes, or had certain serious complications in a previous pregnancy, your pregnancy will probably be considered high risk. In this case, you will need to see an obstetrician who will monitor your body as it adapts to pregnancy along with monitoring the development of your baby.
  2. If you’re looking for a practitioner who is more likely to take a holistic approach to your care – and to see birth as a normal process, intervening only when necessary and not routinely – you may prefer a midwife.
  3. If you have no health problems or pregnancy complications and you have your heart set on giving birth in a birth center or at home, you’ll want to find a midwife who practices in these settings. In the event you want the option for an epidural, or are anxious about any possible complications then you’ll want to be in a hospital. For a hospital birth, you can choose an ob-gyn, a family physician, or a certified nurse-midwife as your primary caregiver.

Obstetricians are by far the most chosen option for expecting mothers in the United States, although certified nurse-midwives are becoming more popular. Some women choose practices that have both ob-gyns and midwives. The most important thing to consider when choosing a delivery option is your comfort.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has a full program to provide total health care to women. For more information about the many services offered by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-8994.

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.

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff, You Might Have A Stroke

Man hiding under laptop

Stress is a well-recognized risk factor for heart attack, but a new discovery is linking stress to strokes as well. A recent study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry suggests that people who are impatient, aggressive, or naturally hostile may be more likely to have a stroke, compared to their more laid-back counterparts.

Can stress cause a stroke? The short answer is yes, chronic, long-term stress can eventually lead to a stroke. Do you live with chronic, long-term stress? If so, your risk of stroke increases four-fold, according to WebMD. Now there is more incentive to heed the advice, “don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Researchers who conducted a study on the effects of stress and stroke measured chronic stress in 5 major areas:

  • Personal health problems
  • Health problems in others close to the patient
  • Job or ability to work
  • Relationships
  • Finances

Use this list to assess where your chronic stress is coming from.

Knowing the signs of a stroke is important and could prevent long-term effects if caught in time. Warning signs of a stroke can be remembered by the acronym “FAST”.

Face – Ask the person to smile. Does one side droop?

Arms – Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech – Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

Time – If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.  Almost 800,000 people have a stroke in the United States each year and it is responsible for approximately 130,000 deaths.

Flushing Hospital was recognized by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association for its Gold Plus level of participation in the “Get With The Guidelines Stroke and Target Stroke Program.”

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital, 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.

Keeping The Weight Off With Bariatric Surgery

Man Measuring Stomach Fat

One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, judging by an increase in gym memberships, is to lose weight. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy diet isn’t always the hardest part of the weight loss journey, keeping the weight off is. Bariatric surgery enhances weight loss in obese people who have not achieved long-term success with other weight loss methods.

Bariatric surgery is performed on the stomach or intestines to induce weight loss. The basic principle of the procedure is to restrict your food intake and reduce the absorption of food in the stomach and intestines. As a result of this weight loss procedure you will feel full after eating a small amount of food. That is exactly what bariatric surgery does and why it helps people lose weight.

There are multiple forms of bariatric surgery. Options include:

  • Gastric Bypass
  • Sleeve Gastrectomy
  • Gastric Revision
  • Lap Band Surgery
  • Duodenel Switch

The rate of obesity in America is rising at an alarming rate. Bariatric surgery certainly represents a powerful tool for providing sustained relief for overweight people. There are many health complications associated with being overweight. Weight loss surgery can reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, pregnancy complications, gallbladder disease and more. Your physician can help determine if you are eligible for surgery and, if so, which option will work best for you.

Bariatric surgery aids in mass weight loss at one time and keeping the weight off. Losing the weight and gaining it back does nothing to alleviate the potential health problems associated with obesity. You must keep the weight off for a minimum of five years to consider the loss successful, resulting in a healthier, happier you.

Flushing Hospital Bariatric Center is comprised of a multi-disciplinary group of health care providers that are compassionate and fully invested in helping you in every step of your weight loss journey. For more information about the Bariatric Surgery Services at Flushing Hospital or procedures performed by our doctors, please call 718-670-8908.

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.

Who Should Get Tested For Hepatitis C?

hepatitis-c-541268966-300x200Hepatitis C (HCV) is a disease that infects and causes damage to the liver. It is caused by the hepatitis C virus and is spread from person to person through contact with blood. Over time, this disease can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and ultimately, liver failure.

Although hepatitis C is the most common reason for liver transplants in the United States, many people do not know they have the disease until they are donating blood or are diagnosed with liver damage.  The symptoms of HCV can take years to present and may include:

  • Joint pain
  • Sore muscles
  • Dark urine
  • Stomach pain
  • Yellowing of the eyes (jaundice) and skin
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Clay-colored bowel movements

Learning the risk factors of hepatitis C and receiving treatment promptly can reduce the severity of symptoms. Talk to your doctor about getting tested if the following pertains to you:

  • You were born between 1945 and 1965
  • You are infected with HIV
  • You received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July, 1992
  • You are having or have had unprotected sex with multiple partners
  • You are a current or former drug injection user and have shared needles
  • You work in an environment where you are exposed to blood through a needle stick
  • You have liver disease or have received abnormal liver test results
  • You were treated for a blood clotting problem before 1987
  • Your mother had hepatitis C when she gave birth to you

If diagnosed with hepatitis C, consider seeing a specialist who is trained and experienced in treating patients with your condition. There are several therapies and medications that your doctor may recommend.  A complete list of approved medications and treatments for HCV can be found on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website.

In addition to treatment, your doctor will also advise that you live a healthy life by maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption, quitting recreational drug use, practicing safe sex and getting regular checkups.

For more hospital events, highlights, health and  fitness tips, visit us on Facebook.com/Flushing Hospital and follow us on Twitter @FHMC_NYC

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.

Is Cold Weather To Blame for Back Pain?

Maybe you’ve heard before that people with achy joints or arthritis can predict cold weather coming long before the local weather man. Or maybe you suffer from back pain that seems to get worse every time winter strikes and the temperature drops below freezing. The technical name for this condition is “cold allodynia”, but what is actually happening with your body when these instances occur?

Some experts believe that barometric pressure on your joints is the cause of cold allodynia. There are many receptors in the bodies’ nerve endings which detect things like texture, temperature, and of course pressure. However, these nerve endings may also pick up on changes in barometric pressure in the air and respond, in some people, with a pain reaction.

So what can you do about back pain during cold weather? Well, the first thing you can do is to keep warm and bundle up. Extra layers are extremely helpful to retain heat and keep the cold out. Understanding how and why winter weather affects your body is the first step to mitigating your pain. With this in mind, here are some important facts about back pain this season:

  • While there is no known connection between barometric pressure and back pain, cold temperatures are associated with an increased risk of back injuries. One thing we do know is that when you’re cold, the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your back tighten and become less flexible, thereby making them much more prone to injuries that in turn can cause you plenty of back pain.
  • Dark and gloomy days in winter may contribute to depression, which in turn can cause or aggravate chronic back pain.
  • Shorter, colder days may discourage you from exercising, which can be a formula for back pain. After all, that early morning run or evening bike ride might be dangerous as well as uncomfortable when it’s dark, wet and/or cold outside.

Many people say they experience back, neck and joint pain either just before a storm or when the temperature falls quickly, implying that their bodies are in some way able to register the barometric pressure changes that occur during such times. However, to date, there is no scientific evidence proving a correlation between declining atmospheric pressure and back pain. The takeaway from this is that winter back problems may be avoidable when you wear the right clothing to keep you warm, stretch your muscles regularly, stay active and employ basic fall prevention techniques when needed.

The Pain Management Center at Flushing Hospital is designed to diagnose and treat a vast array of chronic pain syndromes. For any questions about the services provided, please call 718- 670-8797.

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.

Baby with cleft before and after surgery

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Among the most common birth defects is cleft lip. Cleft lip is a birth defect that occurs when a baby’s lip or mouth does not form properly in the womb. Collectively, these birth defects commonly are called “orofacial clefts”.

The lip forms between the fourth and seventh weeks of pregnancy. A cleft lip develops if the lip tissue does not join completely before birth, resulting in an opening of the upper lip. The opening in the lip varies in size from a small slit or a large opening that goes through the lip into the nose.

The causes of orofacial clefts among most infants are unknown. However, they are thought to be caused by a combination of genetics or other factors, such as things the mother comes in contact with in her environment, or what the mother eats or drinks, or certain medications she uses during pregnancy. Recently the Center for Disease Control reported findings from research studies about risk factors that increase the chance of infant orofacial cleft:

  • Smoking―Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a baby with an orofacial cleft than women who do not smoke
  • Diabetes―Women with diabetes diagnosed before pregnancy have an increased risk of having a child with a cleft lip with or without cleft palate, compared to women who did not have diabetes
  • Use of certain medicines―Women who used certain medicines to treat epilepsy during the first trimester (the first 3 months) of pregnancy are at greater risk

Orofacial clefts, especially cleft lip with or without cleft palate, can be diagnosed during pregnancy during a routine ultrasound. Services and treatment for children with orofacial clefts can vary depending on:

  • The severity of the cleft
  • The child’s age and needs
  • The presence of associated syndromes
  • Other birth defects

Surgery to repair a cleft lip usually occurs in the first few months of life and is recommended within the first 12 months of life. Children born with orofacial clefts might need other types of treatments and services, such as special dental or orthodontic care or speech therapy.

If you are an expecting mother in need of a doctor, Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Obstetrics offers a wide variety of services to expectant mothers. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 718-670-8994.

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 Influenza Vaccine

vaccination shot

Influenza – the unwelcome guest that comes calling on us every year – often with many very unpleasant consequences. Historically, widespread flu epidemics have had devastating effects on large portions of the earth’s population. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that two scientists, Dr. Jonas Salk and Dr. Thomas Francis developed the first vaccine to prevent the flu virus. The vaccine was given to American soldiers during World War II and was found to be useful in preventing the widespread outbreaks that had been common before the vaccines were used. In the years after the war, the vaccine was made available to the general public and has greatly reduced the widespread epidemics that were so common before.

Research has helped to develop better vaccines with fewer side effects and also better suited to combat strains of the influenza virus that keep changing every year. Over the past 60 years millions of people have been given the flu vaccine each year. Many people are hesitant about getting the vaccine at all however, there are much fewer catastrophic epidemics throughout the world, thanks in large part to the work done by Dr Salk and Dr. Francis in the early part of the last century.

Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. It is important that you consult with your doctor before getting the flu vaccine.

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.

toothache, hurts of bad tooth, stomatitis, mouth ulcer

At any time our bodies can throw us for a loop with unexpected symptoms to sometimes throw us off our game. Ideally it would be great to have a live-in doctor for a quick fix but home remedies are the next best thing.

Toothaches are an annoyance that isn’t always the most affordable fix. If you aren’t able to get to the dentist immediately and the pain is too much to handle, this home remedy fix might offer you some relief until your appointment.

There are essential oils that help ease toothache pain include chamomile, myrrh, peppermint, and tea tree. Apply one drop of any of these or a drop of “Toothache Oil” to the tooth and the surrounding area to ease the pain.

Toothache Oil

1/8 ounce carrier oil

6 drops tea tree oil

4 drops chamomile oil

2 drops myrrh oil

2 drops peppermint oil

Place the carrier oil in a clean container and add the essential oils. Gently turn the container upside down several times or roll it between your hands for a few minutes to blend. Apply one drop on the aching tooth and the surrounding gum, as needed.

These remedies are only suggestions for temporary pain relief. If you develop a toothache, you should consult your dentist as soon as possible. The dental department at Flushing Hospital Medical Center is available to treat your dental pains. To schedule an appointment please call, 718-670-5521.

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 Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis

Hepatitis B, a virus that can cause severe illness, liver damage, and even death, affects over one million Americans; many of these people display no symptoms and are unaware that they are carriers, which can lead to them unknowingly spreading the virus.

While there are measures many can follow to prevent the spread of Hepatitis B, there is one group that requires others to keep them safe – newborns.

There are a variety of ways Hepatitis B can be spread. They include: having unprotected sex, sharing needles, body piercing & tattoos, or using a carrier’s toothbrush or razor, but one of the most common ways to spread the virus is from mother to baby at birth.

Through proper pre-natal care, babies can be protected from getting infected.   During their initial prenatal visit, mothers should receive a series of routine blood tests, including tests to check for Hepatitis B. If you test positive, your doctor can take special precautions at the time of delivery to treat your baby immediately after birth, which would most likely prevent infection.

Within 12 hours after you give birth, your doctor will give your baby a shot of Hepatitis B antibodies and an initial shot of the Hepatitis B vaccine. That should be adequate short-term protection from hepatitis B. Together, the antibodies and the vaccine are about 85 to 95 percent effective at preventing hepatitis B infection in babies. The second and third vaccines doses should be administered at regular well-baby check-ups. All three doses are necessary for life-long protection against Hepatitis B.

If you are pregnancy, make sure your doctor tests you for Hepatitis B. If you do not have a doctor, Flushing Hospital’s Women’s Health Center has expert doctors who can guide you through your entire pregnancy. To schedule an appointment, please call 718-670-8993.

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.