Flu Season Can Last Until May

Although we are approaching spring, it is important to keep in mind that flu season is not yet behind us and the flu virus remains a threat to our health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “While flu season begins in the fall and continues through the winter, peak flu season comes between December and February, and can continue on into March.”  The agency also adds that flu season can last until May. The CDC is urging individuals to continue exercising steps to prevent the flu and protect their health throughout this period of time.

Here are a few measures you can take to prevent the flu:

  • Sanitize your hands
  • Cover your  nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing
  • Limit your contact with others
  • Do not share utensils or sanitize before sharing
  • Frequently disinfect areas that may be contaminated

The most important preventative measure you can take to reduce the risk of getting the flu is vaccination.  The CDC recommends that everyone six months and older get vaccinated. “Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations,” states the agency.

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.

Learn About What Causes Motion Sickness and Tips to Avoid it

Motion sickness is a common condition that many of us experience at some point in our lives. It is the feeling of nausea, dizziness or uneasiness that can develop during a bumpy or rocky ride. For some, this sensation may occur while traveling in a car, boat, train, plane or other modes of transportation.

Motion sickness also referred to as seasickness, carsickness or airsickness is caused when the brain receives mixed signals from our balance-sensing system which consists of our eyes, inner ear (semicircular canals) and sensory nerves.    Mixed signals are received by the brain because your eyes cannot see the motion your body is feeling, or conversely, your body cannot feel the motion your eyes are seeing. Motion sickness can start suddenly, typically with a feeling of uneasiness then progressing to other symptoms such as dizziness, a cold sweat, headaches or vomiting.

Children and pregnant women are most susceptible to motion sickness. However, anyone who is traveling can be at risk. Factors that can increase the chances for symptoms to appear include poor ventilation in a vehicle, the type of vehicle, fears or anxieties about traveling or the orientation in which a person is sitting or standing.

Treatment for motion sickness may include medication, home remedies or applying simple changes to your environment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends the following interventions for treatment or prevention:

  • Being aware of and avoiding situations that tend to trigger symptoms.
  • Optimizing position to reduce motion or motion perception—for example, driving a vehicle instead of riding in it, sitting in the front seat of a car or bus, sitting over the wing of an aircraft, holding the head firmly against the back of the seat, and choosing a window seat on flights and trains.
  • Reducing sensory input—lying prone, shutting eyes, sleeping, or looking at the horizon.
  • Maintaining hydration by drinking water, eating small meals frequently, and limiting alcoholic and caffeinated beverages.
  • Avoiding smoking—even short-term cessation reduces susceptibility to motion sickness.
  • Adding distractions—controlling breathing, listening to music, or using aromatherapy scents such as mint or lavender. Flavored lozenges may also help.
  • Using acupressure or magnets is advocated by some to prevent or treat nausea, although scientific data on efficacy of these interventions for preventing motion sickness are lacking.
  • Gradually exposing oneself to continuous or repeated motion sickness triggers. Most people, in time, notice a reduction in motion sickness symptoms.

Most cases of motion sickness are mild. Symptoms are typically self-treatable or go away when a person is no longer in motion.  However, medical professionals recommend that you see a doctor if you experience motion sickness repeatedly or if symptoms persist after your journey.

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.

Appendicitis

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix; a small organ attached to the large intestine.   Anyone can develop appendicitis but it most commonly occurs in people between the ages of 10 and 30.

There are early signs that warn of an inflammation of the appendix. Warning signs include pain by the belly button or upper abdomen that becomes sharper as it moves toward the lower-right side of the abdomen and a mild fever.  Additional signs and symptoms that may present are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal bloating

If you are experiencing symptoms it is recommended that you see your doctor immediately, because if left untreated complications can develop.  The appendix can become swollen and filled with pus.  This can result in peritonitis, a condition that occurs when the appendix ruptures and allows infectious materials to spread throughout the abdomen.  Peritonitis can lead to death.

In order to diagnose appendicitis, your doctor will take a history of your symptoms and run a series of tests and examinations to rule out other possible causes. If it is determined that you have appendicitis, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics and will most likely recommend an appendectomy (surgery to remove the inflamed appendix).

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.

Fainting

Whether watching a scene in a movie or on a television show or witnessing it happen in person, we have all seen someone faint, but do we really know what it is or what causes someone to do it?

Fainting, also called syncope (pronounced SIN-ko-pee), is a sudden, brief loss of consciousness and posture caused by decreased blood flow to the brain.

There are many different conditions that can cause someone to faint, including having an irregular heartbeat or low blood sugar. It can also be due to a condition called anemia, which is a deficiency in healthy oxygen-carrying cells or problems with the nervous system.  Anxiety, stress, hunger, dehydration or the use of alcohol or drugs can all lead to a fainting spell. In some cases, fainting runs in families.

While fainting may indicate a particular medical condition, sometimes it may occur in an otherwise healthy individual. In fact, most people who faint have no underlying heart or neurological problem. A simple fainting episode also called a vasovagal attack, is the most common type of fainting spell and is most common in children and young adults.

Typically, before someone faints, they will begin to feel a rush of warmth through their body, followed by a sensation of weakness or lightheadedness before going limp and passing out. The person may also break out in a cold sweat or experience nausea. In most cases, the individual who has fainted regains complete consciousness within just a few minutes.

Management of fainting is simple: Allow the person to recover while lying flat and elevate their legs to allow blood to flow to the brain. Drinking fruit juice after regaining consciousness can also be helpful, especially if the episode was due to low blood sugar.  If the patient doesn’t regain consciousness quickly, dial 911.

See a health care provider immediately if a person fainted hit their head, if they have fainted more than once in a month; if they are experiencing unusual symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, blurred vision or difficulty speaking; or if they are pregnant or have another serious condition. A doctor can help determine the cause and possibly address the underlying issue.

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.

Benefits of an Annual Physical

An annual exam is a good way of tracking your health progress.  How would you categorize your commitment to getting an annual physical?

  1. Yearly
  2. Bi-Yearly
  3. When I don’t feel good
  4. I don’t do doctors

Some of the benefits are:

  • Primary prevention
  • To identify risk factors for common chronic diseases
  • To detect disease that has no apparent symptoms (secondary prevention)
  • A way for the doctor to counsel people to promote healthy behavior
  • To update clinical data since your last check-up
  • To enhance the relationship between you and your doctor
  • If you are interested in scheduling an exam, Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center is centrally located and has convenient hours.  Call 718-670-5486 to schedule an appointment.

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.

Learn the Facts About Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a common, but potentially serious infection of the skin and the soft tissues underneath that occurs when bacteria enters the body through a crack or break in the skin. Cellulitis can also develop as a result of an infection typically after surgery or having untreated injuries such as a puncture would, cut, scrape or burn can also lead to the development of cellulitis.

Cellulitis most frequently occurs on the legs, but it can present on other parts of the body, including the arms or face. Cellulitis usually develops on one side of the body.

The skin of those with cellulitis is often skin swollen and red and is typically painful and warm to the touch. Other symptoms of cellulitis can include:

  • Red spots
  • Red streaking
  • Blisters
  • Skin dimpling
  • Fever
  • Infected area tends to expand
  • Leaking of yellow, clear fluid or pus

There are several factors that place someone at an increased risk of developing cellulitis, such as diabetes, obesity, liver disease, circulatory issues, or having a weakened immune system. Certain skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, athlete’s foot or shingles can provide an entry point for bacteria to enter the body.

If left untreated, an infection can spread to a person’s lymph nodes and bloodstream and rapidly become life-threatening.  It is important to see your doctor immediately or seek emergency care if you experience any signs of cellulitis to prevent the condition spreading throughout your body.

Your doctor can recommend a care plan that may include pain relievers to treat the symptoms and possibly either oral or intramuscular antibiotics, depending on the severity of the condition, to treat the infection. In rare cases, surgery may be required.  Other tips to treat cellulitis include resting and elevating the infected area.

The best advice to prevent cellulitis includes taking proper safety precautions, including:

  • Washing your wound daily with soap and water
  • Applying a protective cream or ointment to surface wounds
  • Covering your wound with a bandage.
  • Moisturizing your skin regularly
  • Watching for signs of infection

If you believe you have cellulitis, make an appointment with your doctor immediately. If you do not have a doctor, you can make an appointment with a qualified physician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center by calling 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.

Fascinating Facts About Our Liver

The human liver is a very vital organ. It is so important that we cannot survive if it stops functioning for one single day. Unfortunately, it is also one of the least thought about organs. Given its importance, let’s take some time to learn more about the liver and give it the attention it deserves. Here are some fascinating facts about the liver:

  1. Largest glandular organ – Our liver is the largest glandular organ of the human body and the second largest organ besides our skin.
  2. Multifunctional – Our liver simultaneously performs over 200 important functions for the body. Some of these important functions include supplying glucose to the brain, combating infections, and storing nutrients.
  3. It contains fat – 10% of our liver is made up of fat. If the fat content in the liver goes above 10% it is considered a “fatty liver” and makes you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
  4. It stocks iron – Our liver stores important vitamins and nutrients from the food we eat and stocks them up for when we need them later.
  5. Detoxifier – Our liver detoxifies the harmful things we take in like alcohol and drugs. Without the liver the body cannot process these items.
  6. Creator of blood – The liver creates the blood that circulates in our bodies. In fact, the liver starts producing blood before we are born. Without the liver there would be no blood and no life.
  7. It regenerates – Our liver has the amazing ability to regenerate itself, making liver transplant possible. When people donate half their liver, the remaining part of the liver regenerates the section that was removed.

As you can see, our livers are extremely important organs and serve many vital functions. In other words, our livers are no chop- liver.

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.

Are You REALLY Allergic to Antibiotics?

If taken correctly and not used to inappropriately combat viruses, antibiotics can  be extremely effective in preventing the spread of infection.  While there is a great deal of information circulating about the misuse or overuse of antibiotics, there is relatively very little shared about the underuse of antibiotics due to suspected allergies.

Many Americans are under the impression that they are allergic to antibiotics, but according to a recent New York Times article, it is estimated that up to 90 percent of antibiotic allergy claims are not legitimate. So why do so many people believe they are allergic when they are not? Most often it is not the individual’s fault; they were either falsely told by their parents that they were allergic to antibiotics when they were a child or they do not understand what constitutes an allergic reaction.

In reality, many individuals experience some type of reaction after taking antibiotics, such as an upset stomach, headache or diarrhea. These bodily responses are considered side effects, and should not be classified as an allergic reaction. A true allergic reaction is when your body treats the medication entering your system as an invader and releases chemicals called histamines to attack it.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include the development of a rash, swelling of the face, or some difficulty breathing. For most mild reactions, medications such as antihistamines or corticosteroids can be taken to treat symptoms.

In rare case however, some experience a more severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis. Symptoms of an anaphylactic allergic reaction include:

  • Difficult or noisy breathing
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Swelling or tightness in the throat
  • Wheezing or coughing
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Pale complexion

Signs of an anaphylactic allergic reaction usually present within an hour of taking an antibiotic. If this type of reaction occurs, medical attention is necessary and 911 should be called immediately.  Treatment for a severe allergic reaction often requires an epinephrine injection to alleviate the symptoms.

While many antibiotic allergy claims are false, there are some people who are truly allergic. For those who truly are allergic, the antibiotic that they are most frequently allergic to is penicillin, or other antibiotics that are closely associated with it. Those who suspect that they are allergic to penicillin can confirm it with a simple skin test.

With the rise of so many “super-bugs,” proper treatment of infections using the correct course of antibiotics has never been more important.  Limiting the number of medications you can receive because you think you are allergic can prove to be very dangerous or even fatal.

If you believe you are allergic to antibiotics, but are not certain, speak to your doctor. Together you can discuss the pros and cons and arrive at an appropriate course of treatment.

Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center has many qualified doctors who can advise you on the correct use of antibiotics. To make an appointment, 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.

BENEFITS OF COLLAGEN FOR MAINTAINING A HEALTHY GUT

When talking about collagen, most people would equate it with skin care, but younger looking skin is only where the benefits of collagen begin.  Collagen can also play an important role in building and maintaining healthy connective tissue throughout your digestive tract.

Maintaining a strong digestive tract and stomach lining is extremely important for the prevention of a condition known as “leaky gut.”  Leaky gut happens when there are damages in the barrier lining of your intestine.  This condition may allow food and waste particles to pass into the bloodstream, causing an inflammation.  Leaky gut can cause bloating, gas, stomach cramps, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), as well as sensitivity to foods that are wheat-based, high in sugar and contain gluten.

Foods that are known to trigger leaky gut are:

  • Wheat-based products
  • Gluten-containing grains
  • Processed meats
  • Baked goods
  • Snack foods
  • Junk food
  • Dairy products
  • Refined oils
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Sauces
  • Beverages

Some simple ways to add more collagen to your diet are:Collagen is beneficial to gut health because it contains large amounts of the amino acids glycine, glutamine and proline which can be beneficial to the intestinal tract as well as the stomach.

  • Bone broth – Bone broth is made by simmering bones to help extract the flavor and beneficial nutrients of the bones marrow.  It is not only an excellent source of collagen, but it is tastes good and is easy to add to your diet through soups and stews.
  • Powdered gelatin – Gelatin is the cooked form or collagen.  By utilizing powdered gelatin as a tea or by adding it to your soups, stews and broths, you can quickly bump up your collagen consumption.
  • Supplements with collagen peptides – Collagen peptides are an easy way to get this important amino acid.  Most brands are broken down so that they are easy to digest and absorb.

Although leaky gut is more prevalent in persons with chronic diseases such as, celiac’s disease and type 1 diabetes, main source of leaky gut remains a mystery. Therefore, its treatment may vary.  Most doctors recommend adding a healthier menu to your lifestyle. They suggest adding more vegetables, fruit, gluten-free grains, healthy fats, fish, lean meats, eggs and yogurt to your diet.

If you are showing signs and symptoms of leaky gut and they persist, please see your doctor for further discussion.  If you’d like to make an appointment at Flushing Hospital Medical Centers, Ambulatory Care Center, call 718-670-5486 to schedule an appointment.

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.

Itchy Ears – What is the Cause and How do You Treat Them?

If you ever experienced a sudden itch inside your ear and asked an elder member of your family why, they may have told you it means that someone is talking about you.

With all due respect to those spreaders of old wives tales, there is probably a more credible medical reason why our ears itch on occasion. The hard part is figuring out which of the many possible conditions or habits is causing this reaction.

Identifying the culprit can lead to appropriate treatment. Here are some potential causes:

  • Psoriasis Pain or itching on the skin on or around your ear might be an indication of psoriasis, a relatively common skin condition. If this is the case, you might notice a buildup of rough, dry, red patches or scales in the external area of your ear that can itch or hurt. There are a variety of treatment options including topical medications or steroids.
  • Skin allergiesThe skin inside your ears can itch because of an allergic reaction to something that is applied in or near your ear. A new hair product may be the culprit and earrings that contain nickel have also been known to cause an allergic reaction. Be mindful whenever introducing anything new to your skin and stop using it if you believe it is the cause.
  • Food allergies – Similar to reactions from skin contact, some might have an allergic reaction to something they ate, causing their ears to itch. Certain fruits, vegetables, or tree nuts are the most common sources of food allergies. A doctor can test for the source of a food allergy, determine the severity and prescribe the appropriate medication.
  • Infections– Itchy ears can sometimes be a sign of an ear infection. Bacteria and viruses cause them, usually when you have a cold or the flu. One kind of infection, swimmer’s ear, can happen when water stays in your ear after you swim. To stop the itch, you’ll need to treat the infection, possibly with ear drops or antibiotics.
  • Improper cleaningPlacing cotton swabs into your ears can inflame your ear canal and leave you itching. Pins, paper clips, matchsticks, and your fingers can also scratch the skin inside your ears, making it easy for bacteria to enter and cause an infection. Excessive ear wax build-up can also cause your ears to itch. Your doctor can remove excessive wax using special instruments.

Regardless of the reason you are experiencing an itching sensation in your ear, it is important to be mindful of any changes in your diet or environment and share that information with your doctor so he or she can prescribe the correct course of treatment.

To make an appointment at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care 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.