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.

April is IBS Awareness Month – Learn More About This Condition

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition marked by recurring or alternating bouts of cramps, diarrhea or constipation. It affects an estimated 30 to 45 million people in the United States – or 10 to 15 percent of the population. Despite its prevalence, many people living with this disorder are unaware that they have it and do not receive the necessary treatment and support.

In an attempt to help others gain a better understanding about this condition, April has been designated IBS Awareness Month. During this time, those involved in this effort will look to focus attention on important health messages about IBS diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life issues.

There are many obstacles in raising awareness about IBS. One of the biggest hurdles is getting people to openly discuss their condition. Even though the disorder is very common, many with IBS are reluctant to openly talk about their symptoms or seek medical care. They may feel uncomfortable discussing their symptoms, even with their doctor, because of social taboos surrounding bowel symptoms.

In addition, IBS is often mischaracterized as a trivial condition, but it is actually one of the most prevalent and burdensome chronic issues reported by patients. IBS has been cited as one of the leading causes of work absenteeism (second only to the common cold) and its symptoms also have a profound impact on the personal and professional activities of those living with it.

Another obstacle that many that IBS encounter is that there is still so much that is unknown about the disease. IBS symptoms result in no damage to the gastrointestinal (GI) system, making it difficult to diagnose. In addition, even though there are many theories regarding what causes IBS, there is no known official cause for the condition.  There is also no official test to diagnose IBS and there is no cure.

In an effort to help those living with IBS, many health care professionals suggest patients learn all that they can about their condition, including identifying those things that seem to make their symptoms worse. Most importantly, people with IBS are encouraged to talk openly with their doctor about IBS so they can help them better manage their condition through improved lifestyle choices and medication therapy aimed to relieve symptoms.

Flushing Hospital is committed to joining the fight to raise awareness and addressing misconceptions about IBS to help those affected get diagnosed and receive appropriate care.

To schedule an appointment to speak with one of Flushing Hospital’s 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.

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.

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.

Today is World TB Day – Learn the Facts About Tuberculosis

March 24th has been designated TBglobally as “World TB Day”. The event began in 1982 is sponsored by the World Health Organization and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and is intended to raise awareness that anyone can contract TB to make health professionals aware of the importance of testing people for the disease.

This date was chosen to celebrate  the discovery by Dr. Robert Koch of the Mycobacterium tuberculoisis (the bacteria that causes tuberculosis) in 1882. This important discovery was the beginning of the steps being taken to control and hopefully one day eradicate the disease. Unfortunately, TB is still one of the leading causes of death around the world.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious bacterial disease that affects mainly the lungs but can also affect the kidneys, brain and the spine.  Signs and symptoms may include:
• Coughing up blood
• Fatigue
• Fever
• Chills
• Night sweats
• Loss of appetite
• Pain with breathing

TB is spread by coming into contact with the airborne droplets  of the bacteria from an infected person. People most susceptible are those who have compromised immune systems and  include people undergoing chemotherapy, have diabetes, are very young or very old, and have HIV/AIDS. There are antibiotics that given to fight the disease but depending on the strain and their resistance to treatment, may require months or years of treatment.

A routine physical usually includes a TB skin test. If you would like to schedule a physical exam and a TB test with one of our physicians, 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.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
In February 2000, President Clinton dedicated March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States today. It is estimated that 140,000 people are diagnosed with this type of cancer each year and about 50,000 die from the disease.
The good news is that the disease is highly preventable by getting a regular screening. The reason that the screenings are so important is because if precancerous polyps are found early, they can be removed and treatment can be started early.
Risk factors for colorectal cancer include:
• Family history
• Precancerous polyps
• Smoking
• People over the age of 50
People who have diets high in red meat and processed meat.
It is important to be checked regularly as people  get older. For many people who don’t have a family history of colorectal cancer or experience symptoms of the disease, screenings can be started at age 50. If however there is a family history or symptoms exist, screenings should start by age 40 without symptoms or earlier if there are.
Screening for colorectal cancer can be done in several ways.  Some of the more common methods include:
• Checking the stool for occult blood by either a high sensitivity guaiac fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test
• CT colonoscopy
• Colonoscopy
• Sigmoidoscopy
If there is blood present  in the stool, or you are experiencing unexplained abdominal pain or weight loss you should consult with your physician immediately. 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.

Great American Smokeout

On November 16, 2017, the Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Smoking Cessation Team joined with the American Cancer Society and participated in The Great American Smokeout. The Smoking Cessation Team hosted an informational table in the hospital’s lobby.

The Great American Smokeout is designed for you to have a chance for you to make a plan to quit smoking.  Did you know that by quitting for even one day, you will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and can reduce your risk of getting Cancer? Well, you can!

Tobacco is the single greatest cause of multiple diseases and premature deaths in the USA today.  It kills more Americans each year than alcohol, crack, heroin, homicide, suicide, car accidents, fire and AIDS combined. There are an estimated 480,000 deaths in the United States annually that are due to tobacco use. It is the only legal consumer product that is lethal when used exactly as recommended by the manufacturer.

Smoking cigarettes affects many aspects of health. Tobacco smoke contains about 7000 chemicals, including low concentrations of such strong poisons as ammonia, cyanide, arsenic and formaldehyde.  It also contains 69 carcinogens – substances that are known to cause cancers in humans. Direct association has been established between smoking and cancers of the lung, mouth, nose, throat, larynx, esophagus, colon and rectum, stomach, pancreas, cervix, bladder, kidney and blood.
In the United States, Illnesses caused by smoking cost more than 300 billion dollars per year in direct medical care and lost productivity. Smokers pay twice as much for life insurance and will die on average of 13-14 years earlier than non-smokers. It costs tobacco companies approximately 5 cents to produce a pack of cigarettes.

Many lung conditions are either caused or aggravated by cigarette smoke. It irritates bronchial airways and stimulates mucous production leading eventually to decreased elasticity and functional failure. Patients suffering from COPD, Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis or Emphysema have a much higher risk of dying when repeatedly exposed to smoke.
Smokers are also at greater risk for cardiovascular disease. Smoking damages blood vessels making them stiff and narrow, obstructing blood flow which results with elevated blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure or chronic skin changes.

Pregnant women exposed to tobacco smoke have increased risk of complications like miscarriage, premature birth, and brain and lung damage in developing baby. Sudden infant death syndrome is three times more likely if mother smoked during pregnancy.
Secondhand smoke is the smoke exhaled by smokers or given off by a burning cigarette or pipe. Inhaling secondhand smoke is as hazardous as smoking a cigarette. There is no safe level for secondhand smoke exposure established. People can inhale it at work, homes, cars or public spaces and have all the complications mentioned above.

Smoking tobacco is an addiction similar to heroin and cocaine. It can be successfully treated but the majority of cases require three or more attempts. Quitting smoking offers a chance of feeling better and living longer.  Studies have shown that five, common sense steps, provide the best chance for quitting smoking for good:

  1. Get ready: set a quit date and throw out all cigarettes and ashtrays from your home.
  2. Get support: tell your family, friends and doctor about quitting plans; search the internet for advice.
  3. Learn new behaviors: distract yourself from the urge to smoke; exercise or go for a walk.
  4. Get medication: combining medication like nicotine patches or Zyban with behavioral adaptation and family support quadruples your chances of success.
  5. Be prepared for relapse and difficult situations– most people try to quit a few times before   succeeding.

If you would like to learn more about quitting smoking call the Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Smoking Cessation Team at 718-670-3146.

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 Halloween Safety Tips

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.