Dr. Tips on Cold and Flu Prevention

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) flu season runs from October through May, with the most recorded cases usually identified during the month of February.

With cold and flu season upon us, Dr. Alexander Kintzoglou, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Flushing Hospital Medical Center would like to share some cold and flu prevention tips.

  1. Flu Shot – The best measure to take against getting the flu is to get a flu shot. The CDC states that, “Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses.”
  1. Hand hygiene – No matter what your daily routine is, you will most likely come in contact with other people. By washing your hands frequently, with soap and water, you can prevent receiving germs that may cause the cold or flu. If you are unable to access soap and water, you can use hand sanitizer in a pinch.  Just make sure the product has an alcohol base.
  2. Sanitize – By keeping your surrounding area clean ( i.e. computer station, key board, door knobs, light switches, etc.) you will lessen your risk of catching a cold or the flu.
  3. Shaking hands – Be cautious when shaking hands, especially with people who are sick. Remember to wash your hands after an encounter.
  4. Keep a healthy lifestyle – There is no better immunity builder than good nutrition. By eating right, your body will have the natural antibodies to fight off the cold or flu.
  5. Smoking – By triggering your allergies, which can cause an upper respiratory infection that can weaken your immune system, smoking may make you more susceptible to getting a cold or the flu.

According to Dr. Kintzoglou, “Nobody gets the flu from the flu vaccine.”  He further states, “Receiving a flu shot protects not only yourself, but your friends and family.”  He urges everyone to get vaccinated.

If you would like to get a flu shot, call the Flushing Hospital Medical Center Ambulatory Care Center at 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.

The Shingles Vaccine

Shingles is a painful rash that is caused by the herpes zoster virus. This is the virus that causes chicken pox.  Everyone is susceptible, but people who had chicken pox as a child are more susceptible. It is estimated that one million people each year in the United States will have an outbreak of shingles.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the people who are most at risk for getting shingles and should get the vaccine are:
• Those who are fifty years of age or older
• People who either had chickenpox as a child or don’t know if they had it
• People who already had shingles in the past
• Anyone who had the shingles vaccine Zostavax previously

Currently there are two vaccines that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent shingles. They are Zostavax, which is a weakened version of the live virus, and Shingrix which is a laboratory manufactured version of the viral DNA.  The CDC recommends Shingrix as the preferred vaccine.

Anyone who is pregnant or breast feeding, is currently experiencing  a shingles outbreak, or who tests negative for the varicella zoster virus should not get the vaccine. Additionally, people should not be given the Zostavax vaccine if they are allergic to gelatin, Neomycin, or any ingredients in the vaccine, have compromised immune systems such as HIV, are taking steroids , have had an organ transplant, are receiving chemotherapy or radiation, or have cancer affecting the lymphatic system or the bone marrow.

Speak with your physician if you are interested in receiving the shingles vaccine. You can schedule an appointment with a 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.

Pregnancy and Gastrointestinal Issues

Gastrointestinal issues are common during pregnancy.  This may be due in part to several factors such as an increase in hormones or the limited amount of abdominal space available for digestive organs to function normally.

As your baby grows, your organs will rearrange themselves to accommodate uterine growth.   The enlarged uterus displaces the stomach, esophagus and intestines which can contribute to reflux of gastric contents or other digestive problems.

Hormonal changes can also contribute to digestive problems.  Pregnant women produce high levels of the hormone progesterone. This hormone causes bowel muscles to relax and can affect their ability to work efficiently.

These changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy may cause the following symptoms to develop:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Acid Reflux
  • Diarrhea

If you are experiencing these symptoms, speak with your doctor right away.  Your doctor will determine if they are pregnancy-related and recommended the best treatment options for your health.

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.

Flushing Hospital’s Nurse of The Month

Our nurses are the pillars of our community. In addition to meeting the demands of being a caregiver, they wear several hats including that of an educator, nurturer,  and comforter.

Not only to do nurses care for patients; they provide support to families and loved ones during difficult times.

Our nurses pour their hearts into all aspects of their job, and this is one of the many reasons why we celebrate their accomplishments.

Join us in congratulating Johanna Pinzon RN for receiving Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Nurse of the Month,

Meet Johanna:

Q&A:
Q: How long have you been working for FHMC?
A: I have been working at Flushing Hospital for five years
Q: On which unit do you currently work?
A: 3 North 1
Q: Why did you want to become a nurse?
A:  I truly wanted to help people. Working at a job that allows me to help others brings me great satisfaction. You need to be happy with your work and helping others makes me happy.
QWhat is the best part of your job?
A: I love working with the geriatric population at our hospital. Often times, the geriatric patient has survived their relatives or their children are elderly and unable to come to see them as often as they’d like. That’s when I become their family. I check in with the patient, not only to meet their medical needs but to be sure that they know there is someone close by to talk to or bring them something from outside the hospital that will make them more comfortable such as a magazine or book. I like to think of myself as an extended family to all the patients I care for.

 

 

 

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.

Learning the Facts About Antisocial Personality Disorder

Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is a mental condition where an individual consistently displays no regard for right from wrong and is indifferent to the feelings of others.

In some cases, those with ASPD can appear witty, charming, and generally fun to be around, but they may also lie, antagonize, manipulate, or exploit others and not feel guilty about the consequences of their actions. They may also act destructively without regard for the law, or for their safety of the safety of others.

Modern diagnostic systems consider ASPD to include two related but not identical conditions:

A “psychopath” is someone whose hurtful actions toward others tend to reflect calculation, manipulation and cunning; they also tend not to feel emotion and mimic (rather than experience) empathy for others. They can be deceptively charismatic and charming.

By contrast, a “sociopath” has more of an ability to form attachments to others but still disregards social rules; they tend to be more impulsive, haphazard, and easily agitated than people with psychopathy.

People with ASPD may often do the following:

  • Lie, con, and exploit others
  • Act rashly
  • Be angry, vain, and aggressive
  • Fight or assault other people
  • Break the law
  • Not care about the safety of others or themselves
  • Not show signs of remorse after hurting someone else
  • Fail to meet money, work, or social duties
  • Abuse drugs or alcohol

ASPD is uncommon, affecting less than 1% of the population. It affects men more than women. While there is no direct cause of ASPD, genetics is considered a possible factor, as is exposure to a traumatic or abusive atmosphere as a child. Brain defects and injuries during developmental years may also be linked to ASPD.

 A diagnosis of ASPD cannot be made until age 18, though to be identified as having the disorder a person would have to have shown symptoms before age 15.  Symptoms of ASPD are usually at their worst during a person’s late teenage years and in their 20s, but may improve on their own over time.

Unfortunately, many people with ASPD don’t seek help for the condition because they don’t believe they need assistance, but for those seeking treatment for ASPD, participation in either individual or group therapy has proven to be beneficial. A mental health professional may also prescribe certain psychiatric medications like mood stabilizers or some atypical antipsychotics to treat symptoms like impulsive aggression.

If someone close to you has ASPD, consider seeking help for the disorder from a mental health professional. To make an appointment at the mental health clinic at xx Hospital, please call 718-670-5562.

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 Children Active During the Winter Months

Anyone who lives in the colder regions of the country knows that children have fewer opportunities to play outdoors during the winter months.  Every parent wants to keep their children from becoming bored, especially if they are being kept indoors on cold days. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that children between the ages of six to 17 get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
Here are a few suggestions to help keep your child active during the winter:
• Playing outdoors is always an option as long as a child is dressed appropriately
• Find an indoor play space or gym
• Bowling
• Dance classes
• Visiting a museum
• Joining a sports league
• Ice skating
You can contact your local Community Center, YMCA or schools in your neighborhood to see if they have any after school programs that involve some sort of physical activity. The important thing to remember is that you want a child to be kept active and not sitting in front of a TV or computer screen for hours on end.

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.

New Year’s Weight Loss Goals

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is losing weight.  For some, this goal can be accomplished through diet and exercise; however, for others losing weight may require more intensive approaches.

Losing a significant amount of weight can be very challenging, especially for people who are overweight or obese. Weight loss (bariatric surgery) has been proven to be a safe and effective way to overcome this challenge.

Bariatric surgery is performed on the stomach or intestines to reduce food intake or absorption, and induce weight loss. Weight loss surgery can also help those who are at risk of diabetes and hypertension to reduce their chances of developing these or other obesity-related diseases.

If you are interested in surgery, one of the first steps you should take is finding out if you are a good candidate.  Surgery may be appropriate for people who:

  • Have a body mass index  (BMI) over 40
  • Are over 100 lbs. over  their ideal body weight
  • Are experiencing disabling pain in weight-bearing joints
  • Have a BMI of 35 along with obesity-related disorders such as high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea or degenerative joint disease.
  • Have tried to lose weight through diet and exercise but  have been unsuccessful

Choosing a weight loss surgery provider that is accredited by programs such as the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®) is highly recommended. This accreditation ensures that your provider follows a high standard of care.

Flushing Hospital’s Bariatric Surgical Center is the first Bariatric Center of Excellence accredited by the MBSAQIP. The center provides care from a multi-disciplinary group of health care practitioners who are compassionate and fully invested in helping you in every step of your weight loss journey.

To learn more about Flushing Hospital’s Bariatric Surgical Center, please call 718-408-6977or 718-670-8908.

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.

Taking Care of Your Skin in Winter

Winter can be a particularly harsh season for our skin. Not only is the cold temperature to blame but also the dry air which affects the skin.  A major reason skin becomes dry is because of the low humidity in the environment. Another reason is because we spend more time indoors where heating systems tend to warm the air and deplete the water content in the environment.

Dry skin most commonly appears as being rough and flaky patches on the arms and legs which are typically the areas exposed to the air. In more severe cases, the skin will develop creases and cracks when it is extremely dry. The feet and hands frequently show deep fissures and cracks during the winter months because the skin tends to be thinner and there is less protection from micro trauma.

The outer layer of the skin is called the stratum corneum. It is composed of dead skin cells and natural oils that act as a protective layer, preventing water from evaporating from the surface. When the outer layer becomes compromised, water begins to evaporate, outer skin cells become flaky and will cause cracks and fissures.

Steps we can take to prevent dry skin:

• 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 schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center to discuss dry skin and how best to treat it, 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.

Make Your Mental Health a Priority This New Year

Tis’ the season for New Year Resolutions!  We are all talking about shedding some holiday pounds, keeping ourselves more organized or just living our best lives in 2019.  While striving towards those goals, why not included your mental health in this years resolutions?

Did you know that mental illness affects millions of Americans, yet not surprisingly, many of those who need help do not receive it. There are many reasons why – it could be due to limited availability of services, or a strong distrust of others, or those who are mentally ill might have such a sense of hopelessness that they do not seek care.

While all of these are factors as to why someone doesn’t seek support, perhaps the biggest single reason is a sense of fear and shame associated with admitting help is needed. This sense of shame is very common and it is only reinforced by society, which has attached stigmas to mental illness. The beliefs the public has about mental illness leads those who need help to avoid it so they are not labeled as “crazy” and have their condition negatively affect their personal relationships and career goals.

Getting society to overcome the stigmas associated with mental illness is the key to having more individuals come forward, but unfortunately negative attitudes and beliefs toward people who have a mental health condition are common. These stigmas can lead to obvious and direct discrimination, such as someone making a negative remark about mental illness or it may be unintentional or subtle, such as someone avoiding an individual because they assume they could be unstable, violent or dangerous due to mental illness.

Those with mental illness should never be ashamed of their condition and here are some reasons why:

  • According to the World Health Organization, one out of four people will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives.
  • Shame is pretty much guaranteed to make things worse. Feelings of shame are proven to have detrimental effects on our mental and physical health
  • Mental illness is no one’s fault. No one asks to have a mental illness and it is definitely not a choice we make.
  • We’re not ashamed when our bodies get sick, so why should we be ashamed when our minds aren’t in top form.
  • There is no normal – our minds are complex things and no single brain is the same
  • Our mental health doesn’t define us. Don’t let your mental illness become who you are, it is just one aspect of you.

It’s time to speak out against the stigmas associated with mental illness and reframe the way we see it. Getting help is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength.

Flushing Hospital advises anyone who feels they need help to get it.  Don’t let the fear of being labeled with a mental illness prevent you from seeking help. Treatment can provide relief and help you in life.

To make an appointment at Flushing Hospital’s Outpatient Mental Health Center, please call 718-670-5522.

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.