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.

How to Spot and Prevent Frostbite

Frostbite is an injury caused to the skin and underlying tissues as a result of exposure to windy and cold- weather conditions.

Staying outside in extreme weather conditions for extended periods of time is the most common factor and risks increase when temperatures fall below 5°farenheit, or in conditions with above freezing temperatures and extreme wind chills. Additional factors may include:

  • Direct contact with ice, very cold liquids and freezing metals.
  • Wearing clothing that is not suitable to protect against cold weather.

Although frostbite mostly occurs on parts of the skin that are not properly covered, it is important to note that in extreme temperatures it can also develop on areas that are covered by clothing.

Our nose, fingers, cheeks, ears and toes are the parts of our bodies that are highly susceptible to frostbite. They are furthest away from our core and are first to decrease in blood flow in cold temperatures.

The symptoms of frostbite vary with severity and are categorized in three stages:

Frostnip:  This is a mild form of frostbite. Skin may turn pale or very red and feels cold.  The affected areas may also itch, burn, sting or feel tingly. Continued exposure may lead to a “pins and needles” feeling or numbness.

Superficial Frostbite:  Skin appears reddened or pale. Skin can become hard and look waxy or shiny.  At this stage, after the skin is thawed, blisters may form on the affected area. Skin may also appear blue or purple once rewarmed.

Severe (Deep) Frostbite:  Severe cases of frostbite affect all layers of the skin as well as the tissues that lie below.  Skin becomes very hard and cold to the touch. It may look blue and some instances black, as the tissue dies. The affected area may lose all sensation and joints or muscles may no longer work.

Some people are more at risk of developing frostbite than others, they include:

  • The elderly
  • Young children
  • Patients taking medication such as beta blockers that reduce blood flow to skin
  • Diabetics
  • People who use nicotine
  • People under the influence of alcohol
  • People with prior cold-related injuries

Frostbite is preventable. If you expect to spend time outdoors in cold weather, take care in protecting yourself. Dress appropriately and in layers.  When temperatures become extreme, stay inside as much as possible. It is also advised that you stay hydrated; dehydration increases your risk of frostbite. Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking if you know you will be outside in the extreme cold.

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 Can Your Job Negatively Affect Your Health?

Many of our life can affect our health in. What food we eat, how often we exercise and how much sleep we get are all things we pay attention to when trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, one aspect of our daily lives that can affect our physical and mental health more than we think might not get the attention it deserves.

We spend most of our waking hours at one place more than any other – work. Many studies have linked our work environment to our overall level of health and the results are very telling. Research has indicated that there are many factors shown to affect the relationship between our chosen profession and our overall well-being, including:

  • Work Overload – Statistics indicate that Americans work longer hours, retire later and take fewer vacations than most other counties. These traits can lead to a variety of physical and mental health problems including heart disease and depression.
  • Lack of Physical Activity – For those who work in an office setting, lack of physical activity can also lead to many health issues. Those who have sedentary jobs experience a greater incidence of diabetes, muscle-related pain and fatigue. Those who stare at a computer all day also report higher rates of issues with their eyes.
  • Lack of Break Time – Whether it’s due to being overworked or guilt over momentarily stepping away from our responsibilities, the formal “break time” has become a thing of the past. Failure to take time-out from our work can lead to increased level of stress and decreased personal happiness.
  • Staying at a Job You Hate – Consider yourself blessed if you love what you do for a living. The fact is many people work to pay the bills, but hate what they do. Research has indicated that those who continue to continue to work in an environment where they are unhappy are more likely to suffer from exhaustion and stress.
  • Long Commute – Our workday doesn’t begin and end when we punch in and out. Hours of frustration can be added to our day during our commute. Studies have indicated that those living in large cities, where the commute is typically longer, are less happy in the workplace and burnout quicker.
  • Interpersonal Relationships at Work – While there is no rule that states you have to love your co-workers, having a solid relationship with them is generally considered better for your health. Those who hate who they work with tend to have higher rates of physical and mental health issues.

Finding a healthy work environment can sometimes be easier said than done, but it’s important to recognize the negative impact a bad workplace atmosphere can have on your health. If you are experiencing any physical or mental health conditions that you feel are related to your current profession, you should carefully consider choosing another career option that is more suitable 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.

Winter Skin

Winter can be a particularly harsh season for our skin. During this time of year, temperatures are cold and we spend more time indoors where heating systems tend to deplete the water content in the air.  Low humidity in our environment contributes to dry skin.

Dry skin commonly appears as being rough and flaky patches, which can show up anywhere on the body but mostly on the arms and legs. In severe cases, your skin can develop creases and cracks when it is extremely dry.

Drying of the skin typically occurs when the outer layer of the skin, called the stratum corneum, becomes compromised. The stratum corneum which is composed of dead skin cells and natural oils; acts as a protective layer that prevents water from evaporating from the surface. When water evaporates, outer skin cells become flaky and will cause cracks and fissures.

There are steps you can take to retain moisture and prevent dry skin. Here are a few:
• Bathe in warm water, never hot
• Use mild soaps that contain moisturizing creams
• Pat the skin dry with soft towels
• Use a moisturizer several times a day on exposed areas of the body.
• Drink a lot of water
• Apply sunscreen to prevent drying out from the sun’s rays
• Wear gloves
• Avoid wearing wet articles of clothes outdoors.
• Have a humidifier in the home

If you would like to speak with a doctor about your winter skin care, please call 718-670-5486 to schedule an appointment at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

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.

Keeping Your Immune System Strong During Cold and Flu Season

Our immune system protects our bodies from illness and infection. While having a strong immune system is important all year long, there are times of the year that its effectiveness is tested more than other.

body defense

With cold a flu season upon us, Flushing Hospital wants to offer some day-to-day lifestyle tips to avoid weakening your immune system and keep you healthy.

STRESS
Prolonged periods of intense stress can affect the immune system. Stress causes the brain to boost the production of hormones that weaken the function of the infection-fighting T cells. If you are experiencing high levels of stress, try to adopt stress-relieving activities to boost your immune system.

POOR SLEEP
Poor sleep is strongly associated with a weak immune system as it reduces the number of killer cells needed to fight germs. Recent research has suggested that the amount of flu-fighting antibodies produced was cut in half in those who were sleep deprived.

ALCOHOL
Excessive intake of alcohol may reduce the immune system’s response to invading pathogens because alcohol contains ingredients that impair lung functionality, making us more prone to viral or bacterial infections.

POOR DIET
Excessive consumption of refined sugars and highly processed food containing pesticides, chemical additives and preservatives can weaken the immune system. In addition, obesity can lead to a weakened immune system as it affects the ability of white blood cells to multiply, produce antibodies and prevent inflammation.

By adopting some healthy lifestyle practices and avoiding certain others, we can give our bodies the best chance of staving of illness this cold and flu season.

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.

Can Some Bacteria be Good for You?

Bacteria. The word alone makes us think of infection, disease, and illness. We hate all bacteria, right?

ThinkstockPhotos-482096272Actually, there is such a thing as GOOD bacteria. They are called probiotics and they help you maintain a healthy digestive system. They do this by lowering “bad” bacteria that can cause infections and other problems. Sometimes we don’t have enough good bacteria in our systems (for instance, like when we are on antibiotics). A lack of good bacteria can cause a variety of digestive issues. By taking probiotics, we are replacing those good bacteria which are sometimes lost.

Probiotics are most commonly taken to help prevent or improve common digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. Others have suggested that they are also beneficial in treating skin conditions, such as eczema, improving urinary and vaginal health, and preventing colds and allergies.

Your body naturally generates probiotics, but if you want to increase your good bacteria levels, you can take probiotics in supplement form or get them by eating certain foods, most notably yogurt and other fermented products.

Probiotics are natural so they are generally considered safe to take, even in supplement form. It is recommended that you speak to your doctor about the best way of incorporating probiotics into your diet.

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.

Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear is a bacterial infection that affects the outermost portion of the ear canal. A common cause is the accumulation of water in this portion of the canal that leads to a bacterial infection. It can also be caused by the insertion of unclean foreign objects into the ear that irritate the lining of the ear canal.
Signs and symptoms of swimmer’s ear are:
• Redness in the ear canal
• Itchiness in the ear
• Fluid discharge which may include pus
• Muffled hearing
• Sensation of fullness in the ear
• Fever if the infection is severe
A few factors that can make a person more susceptible to swimmer’s ear are:
• Swimming in water that isn’t clean
• Having a narrow ear canal
• Abrasion of the ear canal by improper use of a cotton swab
• Reduced production or improper removal of ear wax
It is important to treat swimmer’s ear as soon as possible in order to prevent serious complications such as hearing loss. Depending on the severity of the problem, treatment options are ear drops containing antibiotics,  steroid, and a mild acidic solution.  Have your physician evaluate the problem as soon as possible. If you would like to make an appointment with a physician at Jamaica 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.

Can Fidget Toys Help Your Child’s Ability To Focus?

We all fidget – some of us more than others, but when the subject of fidgeting and children is raised, you might be surprised at what many experts are saying.

Stress Cube

Fidgeting is our body’s way of releasing restless energy. Common types of fidgeting include foot tapping, hair twirling or nail biting. While many consider these activities counterproductive to learning, many experts state that if these fidgeting behaviors can be re-directed, they can actually enhance learning.

Enter “Fidget Toys.” Fidget toys are self-regulation tools to help with focus, attention, calming, and active listening. There are many different types of fidget toys, ranging from squeezable stress balls to bendable sticks to malleable putty. In recent months however, fidget spinners and fidget cubes have become very popular items among not only children but adults as well.

Regardless of the type of toy used, the goal is the same – to help focus attention and improve learning ability. In fact, research indicates that most children learn better when their hands are active and funneling expandable energy in this manner allows them to better focus on what they are trying to learn. In addition, experts have concluded that movement is essential for learning because the learner is required to use both the left and right sides of their brain.

In a recent case study, the positive effects of fidget toys were observed. The result was a 10% increase in certain academic scores among students who used fidget toys. Even more impressive was that students diagnosed with ADHD saw an increase of 27% in the academic scores. The study concludes that the use of fidget toys can benefit the learning process in all students but especially in those with learning disabilities.

In addition to the improved learning benefits, fidget toys can also reduce anxiety and stress, enhance dexterity, improve coordination and fine motor skills and assist in the development of muscles of small hands.

Fidget toys are appropriate for all ages and genders and most developmental abilities. Many parents will learn that the effectiveness of these objects can diminish over time, so it is suggested to alternate toys. It is also recommended that parents speak to their child’s teacher or principal before they consider bringing fidget toys to school.

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.

Emergency Preparedness Kit

Emergency Survival Preparedness Kit

When disaster hits there is often very little time to prepare. By taking the time to gather a few items in advance for yourself and your loved ones, you will be able to get through the first few days until help arrives.

An Emergency Preparedness Kit should include:

  • One gallon of water per person per day, a minimum of a three day supply
  • Nonperishable food and easy to prepare items, three day supply per person
  • Battery powered radio
  • Battery powered flashlight
  • Cell Phone and chargers
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Moist towelettes
  • Garbage bags
  • Diapers and formula for people with babies
  • First aid kit
  • Prescription medications
  • Insurance documents
  • List of important contact names and numbers
  • Cash
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a water proof container
  • Three day supply of pet food
  • Personal  hygiene items
  • Paper and pencil
  • Paper cups, plates, utensils, paper towels
  • Towels, blankets, sleeping bags, pillows
  • Rain gear
  • Gloves

By keeping these items in a safe, easy to access place in your home, they will serve you well in case of an unforeseen emergency. For further information regarding Emergency Preparedness, there is information available on the following websites:

http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/90354

http://www.redcrossstore.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.