Tips To Make Sure the Ice in Your Freezer is Clean

There is nothing more refreshing on a warm summer day than an ice-filled cold beverage, but before you host your next summer gathering, make sure that the ice you serve is clean and free of harmful bacteria.

While ice is rarely considered to be the source of trouble, there are good reasons to take a second look at how ice is dispensed in your own home.  You may think most bacteria wouldn’t survive the icy conditions of a freezer. But they can. Bacteria and viruses such as listeria, E-coli and salmonella can live in freezing temperatures, meaning they may be alive in your ice cubes. With proper precautions however, you can eliminate the risk of these contaminants existing in the ice you serve.

Here are some tips:

  • Change Your Filter – Most ice makers in freezers use a secondary water filter to stop particles from contaminating the ice. To keep your ice clean, change the freezer’s water filter as frequently as the manufacturer recommends, about every six months.
  • Regular Cleaning – Don’t forget to defrost and deep clean your freezer at least once a year. As a rule of thumb, if the ice buildup in your freezer is a quarter-inch or thicker, then it’s time to defrost and clean it.
  • Use Ice Regularly – The slight melting and refreezing of cubes can allow pathogens to take hold. To avoid this, remove the ice storage bin from the freezer and dump any clumps into the sink. Since inactivity causes ice clumps to form, the easiest solution is to use the ice maker more frequently.
  • Organize Your Freezer – Make sure frozen foods are properly sealed or double-wrapped and avoid having them come into direct contact with ice in trays or bins. Also label all food with a use-by date and remove all expired foods from your freezer.
  • Don’t Use Your Hands – While all of the above tips are useful, the fact is that the most common way to spread germs is by placing unwashed hands in an ice container. Instead of using your hands, use a designated scooper or other tool to handle ice.

It is important to note that while the existence of contaminants in your ice might be disturbing to learn, the health risks associated with it is fairly minimal to the average immune system and the transmission of viruses are rare. Those more at risk are pregnant women, children, and people with a compromised immune system.

Regardless, it is always a good idea to take the proper precautions to reduce your chances of getting yourself or your guests sick.

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.

Try Gardening to Reduce Your Stress Levels

With spring weather finally upon us, there is an opportunity to get outside and relieve some stress. One particular springtime activity that is highly recommended to reduce tension and anxiety is gardening.

Flushing Hospital Suggests You Try Gardening to Reduce Stress

Research has proven that gardening can be one of the most effective ways to reduce stress levels. In one particular study, subjects were asked to perform a stressful task and then asked to either garden or read for 30 minutes. While both groups experienced a decrease in stress, the gardeners experienced a significantly greater decline (as measured by stress hormone levels), as well as a full restoration of a positive mood while the readers actually experienced a further decline in mood.

The reasons why gardening is so helpful in reducing stress are numerous. Some include:

  • Being Outside – Sunlight is not only good for your physical health, but it can actually help improve your mood. Also, just being outdoors helps you feel more removed from the stressors of everyday life.
  • Getting Exercise – The manual labor associated with gardening, whether it is digging, raking, planting, pruning, or weeding provides a physical outlet to release the tension that is stored in our bodies.
  • Creating Beauty – The wonder of nature is a stress reliever in itself, but when you are responsible for creating and nurturing that beauty, it can be very uplifting. Gardening is an exercise in hope.
  • Meditative Qualities – The act of gardening is time consuming, quiet and repetitive. These attributes provide a peaceful atmosphere for contemplation and reflection.

So if you are feeling stressed, take advantage of this beautiful spring weather and try gardening. It doesn’t matter whether you are tending to a large backyard or a small patio garden – the benefits can be great.

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.

Benefits of Oat Milk

Moooove over cow and goat’s milk, oat milk is the latest lactose-free, protein enriched, low in fat, flavorful choice for the vegan and lactose intolerant lifestyle.

Oat milk is a dairy-free milk alternative that is made from oats. It has a ratio of 1 cup of oats to ¾ cup of water.  The mixture is then strained to create a liquid.

According to https://www.livestrong.com, oat milk is a healthy alternative to whole milk and skim milk.  It is rich in vitamin D, iron, calcium, potassium and fiber.  One cup of store bought oat milk may have up to 120 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, 14 grams of carbohydrate and 2 grams of fiber.

Comparatively, cow’s milk contains 3.5% fat, 146 calories, 11 grams of carbohydrate, 8 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat and skim mild has 83 calories, 122 grams of carbohydrate, 0.2 grams of fat and 8 grams of protein. Even though the numbers for skim milk seem better than oat milk, skim milk still contains lactose.

Consumers are turning to oat milk because it can be a healthier choice for those who are allergic to the lactose in milk, as well as nuts and gluten. Oat milk can be purchased or homemade.  Some opt for the homemade version so there is less risk of cross contamination with wheat, rye, barley and nuts at the manufacturing plant.  This is of great importance for those with allergies or celiac disease.

Oat milk tastes good, comes in flavors and can be used for coffee, cereal or in any way you would use cow’s milk or a milk alternative.

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.

Belly Bloat

Belly bloat is a very common condition, and many are familiar with the feeling of discomfort that it brings.

Bloat typically occurs as a result of a buildup of gas in the abdomen caused by swallowing air or a disturbance in digestion. This may lead to symptoms such as:

  • Frequent burping or belching
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Abdominal rumbling
  • Pain
  • Swelling and hardness of the abdomen

One of the ways to avoid belly bloat is to reduce the amount of air you swallow. This may be achieved by:

  • Limiting consumption of carbonated beverages
  • Eating slowly
  • Avoiding foods that can cause gas
  • Avoiding dairy products if you are lactose intolerant
  • Avoiding or minimizing chewing gum

There are several solutions you can try to relieve symptoms or minimize the occurrence of bloating, they include:

  • Adding probiotics and fiber to your diet
  • Trying abdominal massages
  • Using over-the-counter gas medications
  • Drinking more water

In most cases bloating is not serious; however, if you experience symptoms for an extended period of time, you should see a doctor.   Seek immediate treatment if bloating is accompanied by symptoms such as bleeding, diarrhea, vomiting or weight loss.

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.

Is There a Sale on Your Health? Try Walking the Mall for Exercise

We all know that regular physical activity is important to our overall health, especially for seniors.

Did you know walking is a great way for older adults to remain active?

Seniors who commit to taking a brisk walk each day may be at a lower risk of:

  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Breast and colon cancers
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

With the onset of colder months upon us, how can older adults continue their walking routine and remain active?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that in the colder months, you can utilize indoor malls for your brisk walk.  Malls can be pedestrian friendly, they are climate-controlled, are well lit, have benches for resting, fountains for hydrating, restrooms, as well as security guards and cameras for safety.

For more information on mall walking programs and for other walking resources visit the CDC’s Mall Walking: A program Resource Guide at – https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/downloads/mallwalking-guide.pdf

So get yourself a comfortable pair of walking shoes, hit the mall and improve your health!

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.

Skin Tags

Skin tags are small, benign growths of skin. They can develop anywhere on the body but typically occur in places where there is constant friction against the skin or areas of the body where skin folds.

Skin tags are very common.  According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, “It is estimated that almost half of adults have at least one of these harmless growths.”

The exact cause for skin tags is unknown; however, it is believed that hormones, insulin resistance or genes may be contributing factors.

Some people are more likely to get skin tags than others.  Those who are at a higher risk include:

  • People with diabetes
  • Those who are overweight or obese
  • Pregnant women
  • Those with certain forms of the human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Those who have family members with skin tags

Skin tags are generally harmless and painless, but they may get caught in jewelry or clothing.  Some have them removed due to this issue or for cosmetic reasons.

Skin tags can be removed with the assistance of a doctor or with over-the-counter treatments. It is strongly advised that you see your doctor before attempting to remove them on your own.

If needed, your doctor may apply the following treatments to remove skin tags:

  • Cryosurgery (freezing)
  • Cauterization (burning)
  • Excision(cutting)
  • Ligation( interrupting blood supply)

These procedures should only be performed by a trained skin care specialist, such as a dermatologist. 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.

September is Healthy Aging Month

Healthy Aging Month is an annual observation created to bring awareness to the fact that there is an increase in the number of people who are 45 and older living in the United States.

There are over 76 million people, once considered to be part of the Baby-Boom generation, in the U.S. today who are over the age of 50. In addition to that, people who belong to the Generation-X started to turn 50 in the year 2015.

This segment of the population needs to be mindful of the importance of their social, mental, physical and financial well-being.

Tips for staying healthy after the age of 50 include:

  • Keeping active
  • If you smoke – quitting now
  • Remaining socially engaged
  • Staying positive
  • Finding things to do that make you smile
  • Getting  regular medical check-ups
  • Eating healthy
  • Exercising  regularly
  • Seeking help for mental health issues

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital to discuss your medical concerns, 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.

The Danger of Drinking Alcoholic Beverages in Hot Weather

Drinking alcoholic beverages in hot weather can have serious consequences.  During extreme heat, we sweat more and drinking alcohol can cause us to lose fluids because of an increase in urination. This combination can lead to dehydration.
Dehydration in hot weather can cause:
• Dizziness
• Muscle cramps
• Disorientation
• Fatigue
• Impaired judgement
• Heat stroke
The body’s temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus gland. Alcohol will cause a slowing down of the  hypothalamus, so if the body is already hot because of the heat, the effects of alcohol will make the body think it is even hotter.
If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages in the hot weather, drink them slowly, and have a glass of water at regular intervals to keep yourself hydrated. Be mindful of the fact that your judgement may be impaired so don’t lay out in the sun for too long, and definitely don’t  swim beyond your capabilities.
Be smart, drinking alcohol at any time of year can be dangerous if it is done in excess. Watch what you are doing and have a safe summer.

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.

Sunscreen and Skin Cancer Prevention

Many of us enjoy soaking up the sun in the summer, however, it is important that we do so safely and with discretion to prevent skin cancer.

One of the best ways to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays is to wear sunscreen.  Studies show that using sunscreen regularly reduces the incidence of melanoma (a form of skin cancer) by 50-73%.

Sunscreen works by preventing the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin.   Your sunscreen’s ability to prevent radiation from damaging your skin is measured by its SPF (Sun Protecting Factor). It is highly advised that you use sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher, as this offers better protection.

The Skin Cancer Foundation also recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen which offers protection against UVA and UVB radiation. Too much exposure from either type of radiation has been linked to skin cancer.

Additional recommendations for proper sunscreen use include:

  • Applying sunscreen approximately 30 minutes before sun exposure to ensure the product has enough time to properly bind to skin
  • Applying sunscreen generously and regularly
  • Checking product instructions for how often  sunscreen should be applied
  • Reapplying sunscreen after swimming or excessive sweating

It is important to keep in mind that protecting your skin from the sun does not only include wearing sunscreen. Remember to wear protective clothing or accessories such as broad-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts and limit the amount of time spent in the sun.

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.