World Immunization Week

World Immunization Week is celebrated each year in the last week of April. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the objective of the observance is “to highlight the collective action needed to ensure that every person is protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Immunization is recognized globally as one of the most effective health interventions to prevent diseases.

Each year, immunization saves the lives of millions worldwide. This is why it is important for Flushing Hospital Medical Center and other health organizations to encourage the use of vaccines.

Although some may believe naturally acquired immunity (immunity achieved from having the disease itself) is better than the immunity provided by vaccines, the opposite is true.   Natural infections can result in severe health complications and can lead to death. Vaccines greatly reduce the risk of these infections by working with the body’s natural defenses and safely developing immunity.

Most vaccines are administered to babies and children; however, more are becoming available for adolescents, pregnant women and the elderly.

Vaccinations are generally safe.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccines are reviewed and approved by a panel of scientists, doctors and healthcare professionals. As with all medical interventions there may be minor side effects, however, the disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects.

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.

Air Quality Awareness Week

Air pollution is categorized as indoor or outdoor pollution.  Factors that contribute to outdoor pollution include tobacco smoke, noxious gases (carbon monoxide, chemical vapors, etc.) and ground-level ozone. Indoor air pollution contributors include tobacco smoke, mold, pollen, gases (radon and carbon monoxide) as well as household products and chemicals.

You can reduce your risk of exposure to indoor pollution by regularly cleaning dust and preventing the buildup of mold. Other steps you can take include: avoid smoking in your home, making sure that your home is properly ventilated and using air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters.

Checking the daily Air Quality Index (AQI) before participating in outdoor activities, avoiding secondhand tobacco smoke and avoiding heavy traffic when possible can reduce exposure to poor air quality.

 

There are several things you can do help minimize your contribution to poor air quality.  Conserving energy, purchasing energy efficient appliances, limiting driving and using environmentally friendly household cleaners are some of the ways you can help to improve our environment and air quality.

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.

Alcohol Awareness Month

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. This observance was founded in 1987 by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. (NCADD) to raise awareness and help reduce the stigma associated with alcoholism.

Alcoholism is a disease that affects a person’s ability to manage their drinking habits (consumption of alcoholic beverages). It is estimated that over 15 million people living in the United States have an alcohol use disorder- which means their drinking causes distress or harm.

Alcohol abuse can lead to several medical complications including an increased risk of certain cancers, liver disease, digestive problems, diabetes, bone damage, heart disease and neurological disorders. It can also lead to dangerous and destructive behaviors which can negatively impact relationships, one’s personal safety as well as the safety of others.

There are warning signs and symptoms that are indicative of alcohol abuse; they include:

  • Drinking more or longer than intended
  • Having a high tolerance for alcohol
  • Drinking that leads to memory loss
  • Drinking daily
  • Consuming alcohol in places where drinking is inappropriate
  • Losing interest in appearance
  • Engaging in risky or unsafe behaviors
  • Losing interest in activities that were once of importance
  • Becoming defensive about drinking habits
  • Feeling depressed when not drinking
  • Experiencing mood swings
  • Denying alcohol abuse

Paying attention to these signs is important, as some are subtle and may go unnoticed. The sooner professional help is received, the better the chance of recovery.  A trained addiction specialist or mental health professional can provide the support or assistance needed to treat alcohol dependence. Treatment may include a combination of medication and counseling.

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 New Tool Helps Calm Hospitalized Children

Medical procedures such as blood draws, IV placements, drain removals, and dressing changes can be frightening and unsettling, especially for children. They often need distractions to help them to cope with the fear and anxiety of undergoing these processes.

In an effort to provide children with tools that promote positive coping, Flushing Hospital Medical Center has purchased a Vecta Deluxe  Mobile Sensory  Station with the help of a generous grant from the enCourage Kids Foundation’s Pediatric Hospital Program.

The new multisensory device is designed to keep children distracted by keeping them engaged with its many interactive and calming features such as a projector that displays images such as tropical fish, an aromatic dispenser, a bubble column and fiber optics cables that change colors. Through play and interaction, the Vecta will help patients to alleviate some of the discomforts they may encounter in a medical environment. The machine is mobile and enables the staff to transform any room into a fun or relaxing space.

The sensory station is utilized by Flushing Hospital’s Child Life program where Child Life Specialists such as Rashmi Momaya provide emotional support to children by engaging them in fun and educational activities.

“Hospitalization can be frightening. The Vecta Sensory Station has proven to be effective in helping children to remain engaged and relaxed during procedures. The feedback we have received from patients and parents has been tremendously positive,” shared Rashmi.

Rashmi continued, Flushing Hospital’s Child Life Program is thrilled to have acquired another tool that will help us to provide the best service and care for our patients.”

Flushing Hospital’s Child Life Program aims to meet the special needs of children in our care. Our Child Life Specialists are trained to help patients to overcome fear and anxiety through play, support and education in a safe environment.  We strive to offer patients and families a positive hospital experience.

 

 

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.

Warning Signs of a Painkiller Addiction

Prescription painkiller addiction has become a growing and serious problem in the United States.  A 2016 study conducted by the National Study on Drug Use and Health found that an estimated 54 million people living in the United States have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons at some point during their lifetime.

While narcotic painkillers are designed to significantly reduce a person’s sensitivity to pain, they can also create a short-lived sense of euphoria. Some people may crave this sensation and become addicted, as they want to experience this feeling more frequently and for longer periods of time. Long-term or misappropriate use of prescription painkillers can lead to physical dependence.

A person can become addicted to painkillers over time; however, there are often tell-tale signs that indicate a growing addiction. They include:

  • Feeling the need to use the drug regularly
  • Experiencing intense urges that interrupt other thoughts
  • Taking more medications than prescribed by a doctor
  • Going doctor shopping to find physicians to provide a prescription
  • Taking medications longer than prescribed by a doctor
  • Seeking other sources such as relative’s medicine cabinets or the internet to get prescription painkillers
  • Afflicting injuries to oneself to attain painkillers
  • Continuing to take the medications although they affect job performance, relationships or the ability to carry out routine activities
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop drug use

Paying attention to these signs is crucial in getting the necessary help needed in a timely manner. The sooner a problem is recognized is the sooner help can be received. If you or someone you know are displaying these signs, speak to your doctor or a professional who specializes in addiction medicine immediately.

To schedule an appointment with Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s  Addiction Service Division please call 718-670-5078.

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.

Diabetes Alert Day

March 27 is Diabetes Alert Day. The observance created by the American Diabetes Association, is held the last Tuesday in March each year to help raise awareness about the seriousness of diabetes when it is left undiagnosed or untreated.

Diabetes affects approximately 30 million people living in the United States and nearly 1 in 4 is unaware that they have the disease.

Undiagnosed or untreated diabetes can develop into more complicated health conditions that can include kidney damage, heart disease, nerve damage or stroke.

Learning if you are at risk and taking the necessary steps to prevent or treat diabetes can lower your chances of developing serious illnesses that result from the disease.

Some people are more at risk than others. You may be at risk if you:

  • Are overweight or obese
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are African American, Asian American, Hispanic, American Indian or Pacific Islander
  • Are physically inactive
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels

The American Diabetes Association also encourages you to take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/?loc=alertday.

There are several lifestyle changes you can adopt to lower your risk or take control of your diabetes, they include:

  • Getting adequate amounts of fiber in your diet
  • Becoming more physically active
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Maintaining a well-balanced diet
  • Managing blood pressure levels
  • Keeping your cholesterol at a normal level
  • Taking medications as prescribed

According to the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Alert Day serves as a one- day “wakeup call”.  Use this day as a reminder to speak with your physician about your risk factors and steps you can take to stay healthy.

To schedule an appointment with a doctor 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.

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.

How Does Robotic Prostate Surgery Work?

Robotic prostatectomy, also known as Robotic Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy, is a minimally invasive surgical treatment for prostate cancer.

Before surgeons were able to utilize robotic surgical platforms such as the da Vinci robot, one of few options available for treatment was open prostate surgery.  This involved the removal of the prostate by way of a large, six to eight-inch incision in the lower abdomen.

However, with the introduction of surgical robots, surgeons can now perform prostatectomies laparoscopically with greater efficiency through small incisions made in the abdomen; each measuring less than two inches.

Because the da Vinci surgical robot enables surgeons to operate with more precision through smaller incisions, it offers patients several potential benefits that include:

  • Less bleeding
  • A lower risk of infection or complications
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Shorter recovery periods
  • Less pain

Doctors at Flushing Hospital Medical Center are highly trained in performing several procedures including prostatectomies, hysterectomies and bariatric surgery, utilizing the da Vinci surgical robot.

To learn more about robotic surgery at Flushing Hospital, visit www.flushinghospital.org. To schedule an appointment with a surgeon, please call 718-670-3135.

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 Kidney Disease

Approximately 30 million adults in the United States are living with chronic kidney disease (CKD).  This condition causes damages to kidneys and leads to a loss of function over time.  If your kidneys are unable to function properly, complications such as hypertension, nerve damage, weakened bones and anemia can develop. CKD also increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

While high blood pressure can result from chronic kidney disease, it can also be the cause of it.  Other conditions and diseases that can cause CKD include diabetes, recurrent kidney infections, prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract and vesicoureteral reflux.

Anyone at any age can develop chronic kidney disease; however, some people are more at risk than others. You may have an increased risk for CKD if you:

  • Have a family history of kidney  failure
  • Have diabetes
  • Have hypertension
  • Are obese
  • Have cardiovascular disease
  • Are a smoker
  • Are of African American, Native American, Pacific Islander or Asian American descent
  • Are an older adult

Signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease can vary by individual and may appear over time as the disease progresses. They can include:

  • Muscle cramps and twitches
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Itchy skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • High blood pressure
  • Vomiting

There are several things you can do to prevent CKD and keep your kidneys healthy.  Maintaining a healthy diet and cutting back on food rich in sugar and salt is beneficial for your kidneys, as well as monitoring cholesterol levels, keeping hydrated, quitting smoking and drinking in moderation.

If you are living with chronic kidney disease, it is strongly advised that you keep blood pressure and blood sugar levels under control, moderate protein consumption, reduce salt intake, avoid NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and get the flu shot each year.

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.

Pregnancy And The Flu

Due to changes that occur in the immune system during pregnancy, women are at a high risk for developing serious health complications caused by the flu.

A weakened immune system can leave many moms-to-be vulnerable to severe flu-related illnesses such as pneumonia which could lead to hospitalization.

Not only can the flu compromise a mother’s health but it can also negatively affect the health of an unborn baby. Pregnant women with the virus are more likely than others to deliver low-birth-weight babies. High fever resulting from the flu may also affect the development of the baby during the first trimester.

Doctors advise that women who become sick and display flu symptoms such as difficulty breathing, a high fever, persistent vomiting or sudden dizziness seek immediate medical attention.

It is highly recommended that expecting mothers receive the flu vaccination to prevent transmission of the virus and to reduce the severity of its complications.

For moms who may be concerned about the safety of the vaccination, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “Flu shots have been given to millions of pregnant women over many years with a good safety record. There is a lot of evidence that flu vaccines can be given safely during pregnancy.”

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.