Could your child have croup ?

Croup is an irritation of a baby’s upper airways that causes them to swell. It affects the area below the vocal chords resulting in noisy breathing accompanied by a cough that sounds like a dog’s bark bark. Croup is more commonly seen in boys than in girls and in children between three months to five years of age.

It is important to note that it can be contagious. There are two types of croup, one is viral and is usually caused by any virus that affects the larynx and the trachea. The most common virus to cause this illness is the parainfluenza virus. Viral croup is characterized by a high pitched wheezing noise with a barking cough in the lower airway or a harsh sound, called stridor, when it is located in the upper airway.

Spasmodic croup can start suddenly, usually at night, and the baby may sound like they are gasping for air. It may be due to an allergic reaction or from stomach reflux. Immediate medical attention is necessary for either type of croup especially if the child is showing signs of difficulty breathing, is anxious, breathing very quickly or is making sounds that are unusual when breathing. Additional symptoms of croup include: • Raspy voice • Fever in some cases but not all • Rash • Swollen lymph nodes • Fatigue Prevention of croup is best done by having your child stay away from anyone who is sick. Also frequent hand washing is recommended. Treatment for mild croup include: Keeping the child hydrated Keeping the head elevated Keeping the air moist Keeping the child calm Doctors may prescribe a steroid medication to reduce inflammation or epinephrine to reduce airway swelling.

The diagnosis of croup is made by observing a child breath and listening to their chest. An x-ray may be necessary in helping to see if it this illness or something else. If the symptoms last more than two or three days it is advised to seek medical attention. You can schedule an appointment with a pediatrician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center by calling 718-670-5486 or going to an emergency room.

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.

Do You Have a First Aid Kit ?

Medical emergencies can happen at any time and any place, for this reason every home, office and automobile should have a first aid kit on hand. It is important that the first aid kit is kept in a place that is easily accessible.  Everyone should be aware of where it is kept.

The American Red Cross recommends that a first aid kit contain the following items:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings ( 5X9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape ( 10 yards X 1 inch )
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin
  • 1 emergency blanket
  • 1 breathing barrier ( with one way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pairs of non-latex gloves
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets
  • One 3 inch gauze roll
  • One 4 inch gauze roller
  • One 3 inch X 3 inch sterile gauze pads
  • 5 4inch X 4 inch sterile gauze pads
  • 1 oral thermometer ( non-mercury and non-glass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • tweezers
  • Emergency first aid guide
  • Flashlight

In addition, the kit should contain emergency phone numbers for your health care providers and a small supply of medications when possible.

First aid kits can be purchased directly from the American Red Cross store and also online. Many pharmacies also carry first aid kits.

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.

What Does Having Low Pressure Mean ?

Blood pressure is considered low when the top blood pressure reading is lower than 90 mm Hg (systolic) and the bottom number is lower than 60 mm Hg (diastolic).  Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80. The systolic pressure is the amount of pressure the heart is exerting when it is pumping blood and the diastolic pressure is the amount of pressure on the arteries when the heart is between beats.

Low blood pressure (hypotension) is often classified into categories based on causes and factors. These include:

Postural hypotension- a sudden drop in blood pressure that occurs when a person moves rapidly from a sitting or lying down position to a standing position.  It is often seen in people who are dehydrated, pregnant or on prolonged bed rest or who have large varicose veins, heart problems or certain neurologic disorders. Certain medications can lead to postural hypotension as well. These include diuretics (water pills), alpha-blockers, beta-blockers, medications for Parkinson’s disease, antidepressants and erectile dysfunction.

Postprandial hypotension -occurs after a person eats a large meal and affects mainly older people. Normally after a meal a person’s heart rate will increase and the blood vessels will constrict. In postprandial hypotension this doesn’t occur and a person may feel dizzy or feel faint.

Low blood pressure may also be due to faulty brain signals to the heart. Other causes of low blood pressure can occur when there is sepsis, during a heart attack, being anemic, having a slow heart rate, when there is heart failure, and in conditions such as parathyroid disease, hypoglycemia, and adrenal insufficiency.

Symptoms of low pressure can be indicative of underlying medical conditions and can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness

Diagnosing low blood pressure can be accomplished by taking a blood test to determine if there are metabolic causes, an electrocardiogram, an echocardiogram, a stress test, or a tilt table test.

Treatment of low pressure is determined when the cause has been identified. It may include a change in diet, consuming more water, wearing compression stockings, or taking medication.

If you are experiencing symptoms of low pressure you should consult with your physician to make a diagnosis and find the cause. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician 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.

What Does a Low Level of Testosterone Signify ?

Testosterone is a hormone that is produced by the testicles. It affects sexual development, appearance, muscle strength, and sperm production. As men age, the level of testosterone circulating in the blood tends to decrease. The decrease is usually gradual after the age of 30.

Besides age, there are also medical conditions that can lead to low testosterone levels. Examples of these conditions are Klinefelter syndrome, Noonan syndrome, damage to the testicles, Infection, or obesity. Cancer treatments including radiation or chemotherapy can also cause this effect. Some medications such as antidepressants and narcotics can also lower testosterone levels.

A low level of testosterone can cause:
• Diminished sex drive
• Erectile dysfunction
• Low semen count
• Hair loss • Fatigue
• Decrease in muscle mass
• Changes in memory
• Depression

A diagnosis for low testosterone can be made after evaluating the results of a blood test.

Treatment for low testosterone can be accomplished with Testosterone Therapy which can be administered in various ways:
• Transdermal
• Injection
• Oral
• Intranasal
• Pellets under the skin

There can be side effects of testosterone therapy such as redness at site of injection or where the patch is located, abnormal raising of blood hemoglobin levels, enlarged breasts, an enlarged prostate, or an altered sperm count.

Speak to your physician if you think you might be experiencing decreased testosterone levels. You can schedule an appointment with a doctor 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.

What Does it Mean to Have an Enlarged Heart ?

An enlarged heart, also known by its medical terminology as cardiomegaly, enlarges because of damage to the heart muscle. The main cause of an enlarged heart is when the walls of the ventricles become thin and stretched beyond their normal size. This is known as dilated cardiomyopathy. It can also be due to a thickening of the ventricles. This is known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

There are several factors that can lead to an enlarged heart.  These include:

  • Pregnancy
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Fluid around the heart
  • Excessive iron in the body
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Kidney disease
  • HIV
  • Alcohol or cocaine use
  • Abnormal heart valve
  • Viral infection of the heart
  • Genetics
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Abnormal heart rhythm

If a person experiences shortness of breath, an abnormal heart rhythm or edema these could be signs of an enlarged heart and be a reason for your doctor to conduct further tests. The diagnosis of an enlarged heart can be made by x-ray, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, stress test, CT scan or an MRI.

Treatment  for an enlarged heart may include taking medications that are prescribed once the cause of the condition has been determined.  It is also possible that treatment may require heart valve surgery, coronary bypass surgery, and a heart transplant. 

Lifestyle changes can also help people who have enlarged hearts. It is important to quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, limit salt intake, control diabetes, and get a moderate amount of exercise.

Having an enlarged heart isn’t something that a person would be able to diagnose on their own. Speak to your physician if you have reason to be concerned. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician 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.

October is SIDS Awareness Month

The month of October is designated as National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month. The purpose of this observation is to bring attention to this leading cause of death in children under the age of one.

SIDS is the unexplained death of a seemingly healthy baby that occurs during sleep. The cause is not completely known, however, it is thought to be related to a defect in the part of the brain that controls breathing.

Some of the risk factors for SIDS include:

  • A low birth weight
  • Having a recent respiratory infection
  • Having a brain defect that controls breathing
  • Gender ( boys are at higher risk than girls)
  • Living in an environment with second hand smoke
  • Having a family history of SIDS
  • Having a mother who smokes or drinks alcohol during pregnancy

How a baby sleeps can also be a factor. The risk of SIDS may increase if a baby sleeps in a bed with another person, if a baby sleeps on their stomach, or if a baby sleeps on a mattress that is too soft.

There are a few ways to prevent SIDS from occurring. These include having the baby sleep on its back, keeping the room where a baby sleeps from getting too hot, keeping the crib as empty as possible, and having the baby sleep in the same room as an adult if possible. It is also thought that breast feeding for the first six months may help to prevent SIDS.

If you are pregnant, it is important to receive good prenatal care. Speak to your doctor about classes that you can take to learn how to properly care for your infant. You can also call Flushing Hospital Medical Center at 718-670-5000 and ask to speak to a maternity specialist.

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.

Foods That Are Good For Your Kidneys

The kidneys are two bean shaped organs in the body that help to filter waste products from the blood. They also help to regulate blood pressure.

People who have kidney disease should follow a diet that prevents the kidneys from losing their ability to function properly. It is important to maintain a diet low in sodium. This usually means less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. Eating fresh foods is usually a healthier option due to a lower sodium content.  Eat small portions of protein, 2 to 3 ounces, is a good amount.

Protein can come from fish, skinless chicken, lean meat, eggs, or dairy. Avoiding alcohol is also important. Heart healthy meals are a good choice. Avoid deep fried foods. Broiled or baked is a better option. Eat foods lower in phosphorous include vegetables, bread, pasta, rice, corn, and foods low in potassium apples, carrots, green beans, white bread, apple, grape, cranberries. It is also important to drink six to eight glasses of water a day.

Things to avoid when you have kidney disease are:

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Excess Protein
  • Fast food

There a certain foods that help to keep the kidneys functioning well. These include:

  • Cauliflower
  • Blueberries
  • Sea Bass
  • Red Grapes
  • Garlic
  • Buckwheat
  • Olive Oil
  • Cabbage
  • Bell peppers
  • Arugula
  • Macademia nuts
  • Radish
  • Turnips
  • Pineapple
  • Shiitake mushrooms

Speak to your physician if you are having kidney problems about the best choice of foods for you. 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.

An Abdominal Burning Sensation Could be a Stomach Ulcer

A stomach ulcer, sometimes referred to as a gastric ulcer, occurs when the acids in the stomach slowly eat away at the lining of the stomach resulting in sores. They can be very painful in some cases, and at other times some people will have no symptoms at all.

There are two main causes of stomach ulcers. One is taking too many pain relievers over a long period of time. This slowly destroys the mucosa lining found in the stomach. The other main cause of a stomach ulcer is caused by a bacteria called Heliobacter pylori ( H. pylori) . This bacteria increases the amount of acid in the stomach which eats away at the stomach lining. Other causes of stomach ulcers are smoking, alcoholic beverages, stress, and spicy food.

Symptoms of a stomach ulcer include:

  • Burping
  • Feeling bloated
  • Nausea
  • Blood in stool
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Change in appetite

Having an empty stomach may increase the symptoms.

A stomach ulcer may be accompanied by complications. These can include internal bleeding and infection.

Diagnosing a stomach ulcer is done by taking a thorough medical history and then drawing blood, breathing into a special device, and stool samples.

Treating a stomach ulcer depends on what is causing it. If it is a pain medication issue, then you may have to cut back or reduce the dosage. If it is H. pylori related an antibiotic may be prescribed and then medication to reduce the production of excess stomach acids. Some people get relief by taking antacids or medications that protect the lining of the stomach. Reducing stress may help the symptoms as can eating a healthy diet full of fruits, nuts, and whole grains, eating aged cheese, yogurt, and taking probiotics.

If you are experiencing pain in your abdomen, speak to your physician about possible causes. You can also schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist 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.

Why is a Vitamin K Deficiency Dangerous ?

Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin that is responsible for the production of the components needed for blood clotting. It also may play a role in bone production. Without sufficient vitamin K we would potentially bleed too much.

There are two types of vitamin K: K1 which comes from leafy greens,  spinach, asparagus, broccoli, green beans and some other vegetables and K2 which comes from meats, cheeses, and eggs.

People who are at risk of vitamin K deficiency include those :

  • Taking certain antibiotics
  • Taking blood thinners including Coumadin
  • Having poor absorption by the intestines due to celiac disease
  • Having a diet poor in vitamin K
  • Drinking large amounts of alcohol frequently

Vitamin K does not transfer well with breast milk and for this reason many infants are given an injection of vitamin K at birth to help them get the necessary amount that the body requires.

To determine if a person has an adequate amount in the body, a prothrombin test is performed to check blood clotting time.

If you are experiencing blood clotting issues, you should speak to your physician about the possible causes. 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.

What is Athlete’s Foot ?

Athlete’s Foot, also called tinea pedis, is a fungal infection of the foot. This It is a type of fungus that thrives in an environment that is warm, dark, and moist, similar to the inside of a shoe. It is commonly seen in athletes who walk barefoot in locker rooms but it can affect anyone. Even though it isn’t a serious disease, it can be quite uncomfortable and can be difficult to cure.

Athlete’s foot is spread by coming into direct contact with someone who already has it (wearing shoes or socks of an infected person), or indirectly (by walking on surfaces in a locker room, around a pool, or in a shower where someone with the infection has been).

Symptoms of athlete’s foot include:

  • Blisters on the feet that itch
  • Burning, itching, and stinging in the areas between the toes or on the soles of the feet
  • Discolored toe nails
  • Raw skin on the bottom of the feet
  • Peeling skin on the bottom of the feet
  • Having bad foot odor

Prevention of athlete’s foot is very important, especially if using public locker rooms or showers. Some of the methods of prevention include:

  • Wearing water slippers in public showers and locker rooms
  • Never walking barefoot
  • Never wearing someone else’s shoes, socks, or towels
  • Changing socks frequently especially if you sweat a lot
  • Using antifungal powder every day
  • Washing your feet with soap and water every day and drying them well, especially between the toes
  • Disinfecting the inside of your shoes with disinfectant wipes
  • Never wearing shoes that are damp on the inside

Athlete’s foot is diagnosed by taking a skin scraping form the infected area and placing it in a solution of potassium hydroxide. It is then examined under a microscope. If the sample is positive the normal cells will have dissolved and the infected cells will remain.

Treatment of athlete’s foot requires medication which can either be a topical over the counter medication or a stronger topical agent that will be prescribed by a physician. Sometimes an oral medication may be necessary if the infection is very serious.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of athlete’s foot you should seek medical care right away. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a foot 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.