Can Hand Sanitizer Prevent the Flu?

During the flu season and throughout the year, protecting against bacteria is a battle fought nationally. There may be varying medical opinions, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is clear on their opinion

According to the CDC, if soap and water is not available, it is recommended that you use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC cautions that when using a hand sanitizer, you should make sure that all organics (i.e. dirt, food) should be removed from hands prior to applying the hand sanitizer.

After removing the surface substance, it is recommended that you apply a dime sized amount of waterless hand sanitizer to the palm of your hand, rub your hands together making sure to cover all surfaces of the hands and fingers and rub until the hand sanitizer is absorbed.

Some benefits of using a waterless hand sanitizer are:

  • Requires less time than hand washing with soap and water
  • Dries quickly on hands
  • Is more accessible than sinks
  • Reduces the bacterial count on hands
  • Can be less irritating to skin than soap and water

Although medical professionals may have different opinions on how to most effectively protect against bacteria, they all agree that hand washing with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs in most instances.

 

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.

Safety Tips For Shoveling Snow This Winter

Winter and snow go hand in hand and we are never more likely to get a heavy snowfall than in February, which is typically the snowiest month,. Anticipating the potential for a snowstorm this month, Flushing Hospital would like to provide you with some heart health tips before you go out to shovel snow.

By now, we have all heard about the risk of shoveling snow and suffering a heart attack, but is this true? The fact is shoveling snow (or to a less extent, even pushing a heavy snow blower) is considered a more strenuous activity than running full speed on a treadmill.  But why should pushing around some white flakes be more dangerous than any other form of exercise?

The biggest reason why heart attacks are so common while snow shoveling has as much to do with the weather as it does with the activity.  The cold temperature is a key contributor to the onset of a heart attack. Frozen temperatures can boost blood pressure, interrupt blood flow to the heart, and make blood more likely to clot.

Another factor to consider is who is doing the shoveling.  If you are a healthy and physically fit individual there is much less of a risk to suffer a heart attack, but unfortunately not everyone who attempts to shovel snow fits into that category. For those who do not exercise as frequently, (especially during the winter when we tend to be less active) or have a history of hypertension or heart disease need to follow the following tips before going out to shovel:

  • Avoid shoveling as soon as you wake up as this is when most heart attacks occur
  • Do not drink coffee, eat a heavy meal or smoke cigarettes immediately before or while shoveling
  • Warm up your muscles before you begin
  • Shovel many light loads instead of fewer heavy ones
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration

Know the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack. If you experience a squeezing pain in your chest, shortness of breath, racing heartbeat, pain radiating from your left shoulder and down your left arm, cold sweats, accompanied by fatigue and nausea, stop shoveling, go inside and call 911 immediately.
If you are at a high risk of suffering a heart attack, avoid shoveling snow completely. Try asking a family member, friend or neighborhood teen to help you out.

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.

When the Flu Becomes Deadly

This year’s flu season is severe. Not only are hospital emergency rooms receiving  people with the flu in record numbers but  there has also been reports of higher than average flu- related deaths.
Most people who get the flu will recover in five to seven days.  However, in some cases, the virus can cause complications that can be life threatening.
Some people are more at risk than others for developing serious flu-related illnesses; they include:
•Young children, usually under the age of two
•Older adults, typically over 65
•Women who are pregnant
•Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy
People who are immunocompromised and have chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, HIV or AIDS and sickle cell anemia are especially at higher risk for developing life- threatening complications from the flu.
The flu can lead to secondary bacterial infections. This can cause pneumonia and other complications that become harder to treat due the immune system’s weakened state.
The key to treating the flu is to act quickly as soon as you begin to develop symptoms. For some people just staying home, getting bed rest, and staying hydrated will help them to recover. In more severe cases, it may be necessary to seek medical attention.
Your primary care physician will be best suited to diagnose you and to offer you treatment options. 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.

Safety Tips for Cold Weather Outdoor Exercise

Winter weather doesn’t mean the end of your outdoor exercise routine. If you plan to continue to run or bike after the mercury drops, consider following these tips so you can stay safe and warm while exercising in the cold.

Know the weather conditions before heading outdoors – In addition to the temperature, those heading outside to exercise need to understand how wind and precipitation can affect your health.  These factors, combined with the length of time spent outdoors need to be taken into consideration before beginning an outdoor exercise regime.

Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia –Frostbite is most common on exposed skin, such as your cheeks, nose and ears. It can also occur on hands and feet. Early warning signs include numbness, loss of feeling or a stinging sensation.

Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Hypothermia signs and symptoms include intense shivering, slurred speech, loss of coordination and fatigue.

Get out of the cold and seek emergency help right away if you experience symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia.

Dress in layers – Dressing too warmly is a big mistake when exercising in cold weather. Exercise generates a considerable amount of heat — enough to make you feel like it’s much warmer than it really is. The best option is to dress in layers that can be removed as soon as you start to sweat and then put layers back on as needed.

Protect your head, hands, feet and ears – When it’s cold, blood flow is concentrated in your body’s core, leaving your head, hands and feet vulnerable. Ways to protect these parts of your body include wearing a thin pair of glove liners under a pair of heavier gloves, purchasing exercise shoes one size larger to allow for thick thermal socks or an extra pair of regular socks. And don’t forget a hat to protect your head or headband to protect your ears.

Use proper safety gear – If it’s dark when you exercise outside, wear reflective clothing. If you ride a bike, both headlights and taillights are a good idea. Also choose footwear with enough traction to prevent falls, especially if it’s icy or snowy.

It’s as easy to get sunburned in winter as in summer — even more so if you’re exercising in the snow or at high altitudes. Wear a sunscreen and lip balm with sunscreen. Protect your eyes from snow and ice glare with dark glasses or goggles.

Drink plenty of fluids – Don’t forget about hydration, as it’s just as important during cold weather as it is in the heat. Drink water or sports drinks before, during and after your workout, even if you’re not really thirsty.

These tips can help you safely and enjoyably exercise in cold conditions. Closely monitor how your body feels during cold-weather exercise to help prevent injuries. While exercise is safe for almost everyone, even in cold weather, if you do have certain condition such as asthma or heart disease that could limit you ability, you should check with your doctor first.

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.

Halloween Safety Tips

Mother with her son and daughter in Halloween costumes

Halloween is known as a kid-favorite holiday full of spooky fun and lots of candy.  However, it can also present many opportunities for injury, as children take to the streets in pursuit of trick-or-treat goodies.

Statistics show that roughly four times as many children aged 5-14 are killed while walking on Halloween evening compared with other evenings of the year.  Also, injuries such as falls are a leading cause of injuries among children on Halloween.

Parents can help minimize the risk of children getting injured at Halloween by following these safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Safety Council.

On Halloween children should:

  • Go only to well-lit houses and remain on porches than entering houses.
  • Travel in small groups accompanied by an adult.
  • Use costume plastic knives and swords that are flexible, not rigid or sharp.
  • When walking through neighborhoods trick or treating, use flashlights, stay on sidewalks, and avoid crossing yards.
  • Cross at the corner, use crosswalks and do not cross between parked cars.
  • Be sure to stop at all corners and stay together in a group before crossing.
  • Wear clothing or costumes that are bright, reflective and flame retardant.
  • Consider using face paint instead of masks which can obstruct a child’s vision.
  • Avoid wearing hats that will slide over children’s eyes.
  • Avoid wearing long, baggy or loose costumes or oversized shoes to prevent tripping.
  • Be reminded to look left, right and left again before crossing a street.

On Halloween parents and adults should:

  • Supervise the trick or treat outing for children under age 12.
  • Avoid giving choking hazards such a gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys as treats to young children.
  • Parents and adults should ensure the safety of pedestrian trick or treaters.
  • Make sure children under age 10 are supervised as they cross the street.
  • Drive slowly.
  • Watch for children in the street and on medians.
  • Exit driveways and alleyways slowly and carefully.
  • Have children get out of cars on the curbs side, not on the traffic side.

By following these simple tips, you and your children can have a safe and fun Halloween!

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 to Prevent the Flu

It is nearing the middle of October and it is also the beginning of flu season. None of us want to catch the flu so it is a good idea to take some preventative measures that can help us to stay healthy.
Here are a few of the ways we can prevent getting the flu:
• Everyone who is six months of age and older should get the vaccine every year
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
• Keep a hand sanitizer handy for the times soap and water are not available.
• Avoid touching your hands to your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Whenever possible, disinfect surfaces that are frequently used by others such as tables and chairs.
• Clean your drinking glasses and dishes in hot water and with soap
• Keep your immune system healthy by eating a balanced diet, exercising  regularly and getting enough sleep every night
• Tobacco can suppress the immune system, so it is highly recommended to quit smoking.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital to discuss the flu vaccine and other ways to stay healthy, 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.

Remembering 1999 and the West Nile Virus

Just before Labor Day in 1999, Northern Queens became the epicenter of a very serious, and in rare cases, deadly disease – the West Nile Virus.

The West Niles Virus is primarily spread through the bite of a mosquito. While the overwhelming majority of those infected with the virus suffer either no or very minor symptoms, people over age 60, or those with a comprised immune system may be at risk of developing serious symptoms. In rare cases (less than 1%), individuals may develop headache, fever, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, confusion, muscle weakness, or swelling of the brain (encephalitis) or paralysis.  West Nile can even cause permanent neurological damage and death.

The disease was found only in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia.  It had never seen in the United States, however, in the summer of 1999, Flushing Hospital doctors noticed a cluster of patients experiencing very mysterious symptoms that could not be explained. The medical staff immediately reached out to their partners at the local health authorities to report their findings. Together, the team identified the virus and alerted the public. The City’s response was immediate as they instituted an aerial assault days before the Labor Day weekend to eradicate the source…the mosquitos. Thanks to the efforts of Flushing Hospital, many New Yorkers who might have otherwise been exposed while enjoying time outdoors were spared from becoming infected.

As we near the anniversary of this event, Flushing Hospital wants to continue to educate the public on how to stay safe and avoid becoming infected by West Nile or any other mosquito-borne diseases by following these tips to reduce your chances of exposure:

  • 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 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.

Flushing Hospital urges everyone to take proper precautions and enjoy the remainder of your 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.