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.

Household Products and Asthma

Keeping your home clean can minimize your exposure to various asthma triggers such as dust and mold.  However, some household cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that can induce asthma symptoms.

Certain cleaning products are known to release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air while they are being used.  VOCs are dangerous gases that can cause adverse reactions, and contribute to chronic respiratory problems.   According to the American Lung Association (ALA), “Cleaning supplies and household products containing VOCs and other toxic substances can include, but are not limited to: aerosol spray products, chlorine bleach, detergent and dishwashing liquid, rug and upholstery cleaners and oven cleaners.”

The ALA also warns people with asthma and other chronic respiratory health problems against the use of products that contain a mixture of bleach and ammonia.   This harmful combination is a known asthma trigger. In some cases, symptoms that result from the use of both products can lead to death.

One of the most effective ways to avoid using harmful household products is to carefully read their labels.  Purchase products that contain zero or reduced amounts of VOCs, irritants or fragrances.   The ALA recommends using milder products such as baking soda, vinegar, borax, or lemon juice to make alternative and safer cleaning solutions. If you must use a chemical product choose those that are certified green by reputable organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear protective masks and gloves.

It is also important to keep in mind that while you are cleaning to keep your area well ventilated. Do not use products in an enclosed area; open your windows and doors.  Proper ventilation reduces the effects that poor air quality can have on your health.

For additional information on safe ways to clean your home, visit the American Lung Association’s website at www.Lung.org

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.

Aspirin Recommendations

Daily aspirin therapy is sometimes recommended for people who are at risk for heart attacks or diagnosed with certain heart diseases. While this form of therapy is effective, it may not be the right form of treatment for everyone.

Taking occasional doses of aspirin is typically safe; however, daily use can lead to serious side effects.  This is why it is highly advised that you speak with your doctor to determine if this approach is best for you. Serious side effects of aspirin can include:

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • A stroke resulting from a burst blood vessel
  • Allergic reactions

Recommendations for daily aspirin use may vary from person-to-person. Your doctor may recommend this regimen if you have:

  • Coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis
  • Had a heart attack
  • Had a transient ischemic attack or stroke
  • Had bypass surgery or a stent placement procedure

Your doctor may not recommend daily aspirin therapy if you:

  • Have a bleeding or clotting disorder
  • Have bleeding stomach ulcers
  • Have an aspirin intolerance
  • Drink alcohol regularly
  • Are undergoing certain medical or dental procedures

If you are considering daily aspirin therapy, you must consult your physician before you begin.  You should inform your doctor about any health conditions or risks you may have that will increase the chances of complications.  Provide a list of medications that you are taking, as some may contribute to drug interactions and adverse effects.  Based on the current condition of your health, your doctor will advise you as to whether or not daily aspirin therapy is right for you.

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.

Asperger’s Syndrome

Asperger’s syndrome (AS) is a developmental disorder that affects a child’s socialization and communication skills.

Boys are three to four times more likely to have AS than girls. Children diagnosed with the disorder are often considered to be on the “high functioning” end of the autism spectrum.   High functioning is the term used to refer to children on the spectrum who can read, speak, write or manage other life skills with very little assistance.

The causes of Asperger’s are unknown; however, experts are investigating possible factors such as genetics and abnormalities in the brain.

Signs and symptoms of Asperger’s typically appear first during early childhood and vary in severity, they may include:

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Showing few emotions
  • Showing little or no empathy for others
  • Not understanding or missing social cues such as body language
  • Repeating the same movements or topic of conversation
  • Difficulty with having conversations
  • Frequently speaking to oneself
  • Possessing a remarkable ability in paying attention to detail
  • Displaying hypersensitivities to light, sounds and tastes
  • Having difficulty with change

Speak to your pediatrician if you notice these signs and symptoms in your child. Your doctor may refer you to a mental or developmental health professional that specializes in autism spectrum disorders.  This specialist will conduct a complete assessment and create a treatment plan that is best suited for your child’s needs.

To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician 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.

Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor About Your Prescription

Patients are encouraged to ask their physicians about their medications. It is important to be fully informed, as learning about your prescription can reduce the chances of an accident.

You can get learn about your medications by asking your health care provider the following questions:

  • Why is this medication being prescribed?
  • What is the name of the medication?
  • Is there a generic version?
  • How will this prescription treat my condition?
  • How long will I have to take this prescription?
  • How and when should I take this medication?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?
  • Are there any foods or drinks I should avoid?
  • Is it safe to take this medication along with other drugs or supplements?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • How do the benefits outweigh the risks?

In addition to asking your doctor questions about your medications, you can ask a pharmacist. They are an excellent source of information and can help you to understand your prescription.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s retail pharmacy provides prescription services to patients and those who live in its community.  If you have a medication question to ask after you have left your doctor’s appointment, please call 718-353-3160 or visit 146-01 45th Avenue, Flushing NY 11355.

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.

Could You Be Pregnant? 10 Signs You May Be

A common question many women ask after missing their period is, “could I be pregnant?”  There are early symptoms that you could look out for that may indicate pregnancy. These signs may show up a week or two after you have missed your period and can include:

  1. Mood swings
  2. Food aversions
  3. Frequent urination
  4. Spotting and cramping
  5. Constipation
  6. Changes in breasts that may involve swelling or tenderness
  7. Fatigue
  8. Headaches
  9. Back pain
  10. Darkening of nipples

Every woman’s body is unique; therefore, some may experience multiple symptoms or none at all during the early stages of their pregnancies.  If you believe you could be pregnant, it is advised that you see your doctor to confirm the pregnancy.   Once your pregnancy is confirmed, your doctor will discuss a prenatal care plan that is best for you and your baby’s health.

Prenatal care is vital because it improves the chances of a healthy pregnancy.  Women who do not receive prenatal care are three times more likely to have low birthweight babies and are more at risk of having complications caused by 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.

What You Should Know About Legionnaire’s Disease

Legionnaire's Disease Legionella is a type of bacterium that is typically found in freshwater environments; however, it can also grow in man-made water systems such as cooling towers for industrial air conditioning mechanisms, grocery store misting machines, decorative fountains, as well as hot water tanks and heaters.

Exposure to Legionella is known to cause legionnaire’s disease which is a severe form of pneumonia.  This disease can develop after a person breathes in small droplets of water contaminated by bacteria.  Infection may also occur through aspiration -when water accidentally gets into the lungs while drinking.

Legionnaire’s disease usually develops between two to 10 days after exposure to legionella. The most common symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea or vomiting

Some people are more prone to develop legionnaire’s disease than others. Individuals who are most at risk include:

  • Smokers
  • Adults who are 50 years of age  and older
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Those who have a chronic lung disease

Treatment of legionnaire’s disease involves the administration of antibiotics and may require hospitalization.  If symptoms are left untreated they can develop into life-threatening conditions such as septic shock, respiratory failure and acute kidney failure.

Legionnaire’s disease can be prevented. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the key to preventing Legionnaires’ disease is to make sure that building owners and managers maintain building water systems.”  Smokers are also advised to quit smoking, as this can reduce their risk.

To learn more about Legionnaire’s disease please visit https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/index.html

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.

Asthma and Humidity

Severe weather conditions such as high humidity can negatively affect those living with asthma.

Excessive moisture and the heaviness of the air caused by humidity can make it difficult to breathe. Hot and humid air can also help allergens which trigger asthma symptoms such as mold to thrive.

High humidity levels can cause the following asthma symptoms to occur:

  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic coughing

To avoid or minimize the risk of these symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that humidity levels should be kept between 35%-50% in the home.  When temperatures are hot and humid, it is best to use an air conditioner or dehumidifier, or both.

If you are experiencing symptoms of asthma, take medications as directed or contact your doctor immediately.

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.

What is A Pulmonary Embolism?

A pulmonary embolism is a blockage of an artery in the lung. In most cases, an embolism results from a blood clot that has traveled to the lung. When this occurs blood flow is obstructed which increases the risk of serious damage to organs or death.  However, if symptoms are recognized and treatment is received promptly these risks can be reduced.

Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism may vary depending on the size of the clot, how much of your lung is affected or if you have preexisting health conditions such as heart or lung disease.  Symptoms tend to come suddenly and may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Blue nails or lips
  • Chest pain, which may worsen with exertion or each time you breathe deeply
  • Coughing that may produce bloody or blood-streaked sputum
  • Lightheadedness
  • Excessive sweating

If you are experiencing these symptoms it is highly advised that you seek immediate medical attention.

Knowing your risks and exercising preventative measures can also reduce your chances of developing a pulmonary embolism.  You are at an increased risk if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Are taking estrogen supplements or birth control pills that contain estrogen
  • Are a smoker
  • Recently had major surgery
  • Have a disease that increases the risk of blood clotting
  • Are obese
  • Are on bed rest or confined to a space for an extensive amount of time

You can prevent the occurrence of a pulmonary embolism by:

  • Taking medication(blood thinners) as prescribed
  • Elevating legs
  • Wearing compression stockings as recommended
  • Being physically active or moving around as much as possible
  • Drinking plenty of fluids

Pulmonary medicine is the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases affecting the lungs. The Division of Pulmonary Medicine at Flushing Hospital Medical Center is dedicated to providing outstanding inpatient and outpatient care through the use of certified physicians and modern research.

To learn more about the Division of Pulmonary Medicine at Flushing Hospital or to schedule an appointment with a specially-trained physician, please call 718-670-5639.

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.

Children’s Vitamins

Ideally, most children should receive their daily recommended vitamins and minerals from the food they eat. However, for parents who are challenged for time and aren’t able to prepare well-balanced meals throughout the day; children who are picky eaters or those with certain chronic illnesses, supplements are essential for providing nutrients needed.

There are many types of children’s vitamins available for purchase, but before doing so, it is highly recommended that you speak to your child’s pediatrician.  They can help you to determine what kinds of vitamins and minerals are needed as well as the appropriate daily dose.  This is important because overdosing can lead to symptoms such as headaches, rashes, nausea or even more severe adverse reactions.

Some of the essential vitamins children need to grow healthy and strong include:

  • Iron– Prevents anemia and helps build muscles  and healthy red blood cells
  • Vitamin D– Most children do not receive enough Vitamin D. It is needed to help with bone growth and development
  • Vitamin A-Promotes normal growth and development, as well as healthy eyes and skin. It also aids in repairing bones and tissues
  • Calcium-Helps to build strong bones as children grow

Remember to keep in mind that children’s vitamins are supplements and should not replace healthy, well- balanced meals.  Try to provide your child with foods that are nutrient-rich and those that are low in calories and sugar. Encourage them to eat as much whole fruits and vegetables as possible. If their diet allows for meat, include meats that are lean and avoid or limit frying as a method of preparation.

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.