Tips for Maintaining Your Liver Health

There is a wide variety of potential causes of liver damage, including genetics and diseases such as diabetes to lifestyle choices such as heavy drinking, unprotected sex, usage of shared needles for injectable drugs, and even getting tattoos and piercings.

Unlike most organs, the liver is able to repair damage and regenerate over time. However, permanent liver damage is still able to occur if the regeneration process is interrupted or prevented from completing through repeated, consistent damage, which can occur under circumstances such as regular binge drinking.

The most effective way to protect your liver is to prevent damage through lifestyle changes and to work with a doctor to monitor your health. Some of the steps you can take to keep your liver healthy include:

Avoid hepatitis risk factors: You can talk to your doctor about receiving vaccinations against hepatitis A and B and about the treatments available for hepatitis C, all of which can cause severe liver damage. Additionally, avoid shared, un-sanitized needles for injectable drugs or medications, as these can transmit all forms of hepatitis.

Maintain a balanced, healthy diet: Both obesity and high alcohol intake are risk factors for permanent liver damage. Maintain a healthy weight by making nutritious dietary choices and limiting your intake of alcohol.

Use condoms during sex: Bodily fluids can carry viruses that cause lasting damage to your liver. Use condoms to limit risk to both yourself and your partner.

Avoid contact with dangerous chemicals: Certain chemicals in paint, insecticides, or other substances can enter your bloodstream through contact with your skin and cause serious damage to the liver. Wear protective clothing to limit skin contact with these chemicals as much as possible.

While many supplements such as “liver cleanse” products are available that purport to detox the liver or repair damage, these products are unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration and there is no evidence that they genuinely benefit your health in any way.

Working with a specialist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center can help you determine your biggest risk factors for liver damage, identify medications that may lead to further damage, and find the right treatment for treating any scarring or disease you are experiencing. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Which Drug-Free Dieting Strategy is Right for You?

Rapid weight loss, though not typically recommended as a healthy method of slimming down and keeping weight off, is sometimes necessary for severely obese people. In many cases, this kind of weight loss is overseen by a doctor and aided by prescription medications such as Ozempic, a drug primarily intended to treat diabetes.

However, recent shortages in this drug and others that are typically used to medically assist rapid weight loss may restrict availability for people trying to reach a healthy weight, making it necessary to consider other potential options.

Two particular dieting strategies, with the assistance of a doctor, can offer a safe means of rapidly losing weight when necessary and preserving your health. These include:

Intermittent Fasting: This strategy involves alternating between eating on a regular schedule and severely restricting calories. One popular example, the 16:8 approach, involves eating within an eight-hour window each day and fasting for the remaining 16. Another, the 5:2 approach, involves eating only one 500-600 calorie meal for two days of the week, eating normally for the remaining five days.

Low-Calorie Dieting: A low-calorie diet involves restricting daily calories to between 1000-1200 for women and 1200-1600 for men. An even stricter version of this approach can restrict calories to as little as 800 per day and is often used before weight loss surgery and can result in as much five pounds of weight loss per week.

Consult your doctor to determine whether these approaches are safe for you. They should be performed in conjunction with a regular exercise routine and a healthy, balanced diet. If you’re considering including herbal remedies or other types of supplements into your diet, talk to your doctor to determine whether these may cause complications with any foods you typically eat or medications you take.

If diet and exercise aren’t enough to help you adequately lose weight, other options are also available. Flushing Hospital Medical Center offers a non-invasive FDA-approved weight loss procedure that can help patients who are not candidates for bariatric surgery. For more information, please call (718) 670-8909. If you are a candidate for bariatric surgery, you can receive more information by calling (718) 670-6977.

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.

Protecting Our Skin’s Barrier

Our skin is the largest and one of our most important organs. It helps to prevent several external threats such as bacteria from entering the body and excessive amounts of water from leaving the body.

There are three layers of protection that make up our skin. The first or outermost layer is called the epidermis, the second layer is called the dermis, and the third is the hypodermis.

The epidermis acts as our protective barrier —our first line of defense. Without its protection, harmful toxins, irritants, and other substances could penetrate our skin. This layer of skin also helps to retain moisture and keep us hydrated.

Damage to the skin’s barrier could lead to several health problems including infections, inflammation, dryness, sensitivity, redness, acne, or premature aging.

Given the importance of the skin’s barrier to our health, it is important that we take good care of it. Here are 10 ways we can achieve this:

  1. Apply sunscreen daily
  2. Remove impurities by gently cleansing the skin (avoid using cleansers that contain sulfates)
  3. Avoid using harsh chemicals on the skin  such as retinoids for extended periods
  4. Use plant oils such as coconut oil or almond oil to replenish the skin barrier
  5. Use products that include ceramides and humectants
  6. Use moisturizers that include hyaluronic acid
  7. Avoid long hot baths or showers
  8. Avoid over-washing and over-scrubbing skin
  9. Drink daily recommended amounts of water
  10. Eat healthy foods

To maintain the health of our skin’s barrier, most dermatologists recommend a simple care routine that involves gently cleansing the skin morning and night and using moisturizers that are rich in active ingredients such as glycerin, ceramides, or hyaluronic acid.

If you are experiencing skin damage for a prolonged time, it is best to see a dermatologist to assess the root of the problem and determine the appropriate course of treatment. Your doctor may recommend removing certain products from your skin routine, using simple but effective products, or making lifestyle changes.

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.

3 Dangerous Social Media Health Trends to Avoid

Popular social media sites such as Instagram and TikTok often give rise to a variety of health and wellness trends. However, many of these trends offer questionable medical benefits and, in some cases, can lead to harmful consequences. Three recent examples of these trends include dry scooping, sunscreen contouring, and cooking chicken in NyQuil.

Dry scooping involves eating pre-workout powders with high volumes of ingredients such as caffeine, creatine, and beta-alanine without mixing them into a liquid. This practice has gained traction over the past year among online fitness communities and influencers, as it’s believed to increase the body’s absorption of the compounds in a powder and allow a person to exercise at increased intensity.

You may, however, find yourself unable to swallow the powder due to its texture and accidentally inhale it, causing inflammation in your throat and nasal passages as well as potentially infecting your lungs. Additionally, this method of ingesting the powder introduces a large amount of caffeine into your body more quickly than drinking it in liquid form, increasing your risk of heart problems. Dry scooping also increases your risk of suffering from digestive issues.

Sunscreen contouring is another dangerous trend that’s emerged through social media this year. It involves applying sunscreen to the high points of your face and staying in the sun to allow tan lines to form and produce a contoured effect.

The primary danger of this trend is that it significantly increases your risk of receiving sunburrns and developing skin cancer. Cumulative ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun over time can cause basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers to form. Sunburns, particularly severe ones that cause blistering, can also become melanoma later in life.

NyQuil chicken recently re-emerged as a TikTok trend after first appearing several years ago on the popular website Reddit. It involves cooking chicken in the cold medicine NyQuil.

As the chicken is cooked and the NyQuil boils in the pan, certain compounds evaporate, leaving behind a concentrated amount of other ingredients that may cause toxic side-effects such as seizures, liver disease, and even death.

Avoid these trends and do what you can to prevent family members and friends, particularly young people who may be more vulnerable to them, from attempting them.

If you experience immediate adverse effects from these practices, dial 9-1-1 and get help immediately. If you’re concerned about cumulative effects from these trends, please schedule an appointment at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care 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.

Should You Still Work Out When Your Muscles Are Sore?

Muscle soreness after working out or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) often occurs as a result of doing new, repetitive, or intense exercises our bodies may not be accustomed to.

During strenuous or new exercises, our muscles are often forced to work harder, this may cause tiny tears in muscle fibers and inflammation.  According to the American College of Sports Medicine, delayed onset muscle soreness appears to be a side effect of the repair process that develops in response to this muscle damage.  In other words, normal muscle soreness is a part of muscle growth.

Delayed onset muscle soreness typically begins within 12-24 hours after exercise, and everyone is susceptible to developing it, even those who exercise routinely.  While DOMS is normal, it is important to pay attention to the severity and duration of symptoms following your workout and respond accordingly.

In moderate to mild cases of DOMS, in which soreness usually lasts three to five days, it is recommended that you participate in light exercises such as walking or stretching. This will help to keep blood flowing and loosen muscles. It is also advised that you exercise other parts of the body to give sore muscles a chance to recover.

In severe cases where pain lasts longer than a few days, is unbearable, or prevents you from moving the affected part of the body, it is recommended that you see a doctor right away.  These symptoms can be indicative of serious muscle injury that can potentially lead to kidney damage. Additional warning signs you should look out for include bruising and swelling of the affected limbs or dark-colored urine.

Delayed onset muscle soreness can be prevented by progressing slowly into a new exercise routine, not repeating the same exercise every day, warming up before exercising, and stretching after.

Exercise and strength training can improve your overall health and wellness.  By working out safely and paying attention to the signs of your body you can avoid muscle injury and reap the benefits.

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 Your Pet Can Be A Distraction To You While You Drive

There are many known driving distractions that we are warned to avoid while on the road. These include: talking or texting on your mobile device, eating or drinking, attending to personal grooming, or adjusting our vehicle’s radio or navigation system. While it is important to be mindful of each of these potential distractions, there is another type of distraction that doesn’t get as much attention – driving with our pets.

Pets can be a distraction to drivers

Many people take their dogs or cats in the car with them when they run local errands; others bring them along for long road trips. During these excursions, our pets often have free reign of the vehicle, will place their head out the car window, and in some cases, even sit in the driver’s lap. These activities, while adorable, can pose great danger to not only the operator of the vehicle, but also the other passengers, fellow motorists, and even the pets themselves.

A recent study of individuals who frequently travel with their pets in the car revealed some very startling facts about their behaviors. The survey concluded that 64 percent of drivers admitted to engaging in a potentially distracting pet-related activity, and 29 percent admitted to actually being distracted by their pets. Some of the activities noted in the study included petting or playing with their pets, allowing them to stay in their lap, feeding them treats, and taking photos of them.  The same study determined 84 percent allowed their pets to ride in their vehicle while unrestrained.

To avoid these types of distractions while driving, motorists should consider purchasing a safety device for their dog or cat. There are two types of devices to choose from:

  • Pet seat belts – They are easy to use and work in tandem with your normal seat belt. Check to make sure the pet belt is the right size for your animal. One that’s too big or too small is counterproductive and can cause unnecessary injuries.
  • Pet carriers- Look for a sturdy carrier with ample ventilation and plenty of room for your pet to turn around and stretch out. Also, make sure you secure the carrier so that it stays safely in place if you suddenly brake or get into an accident.


Driving with your beloved pet in the car doesn’t need to be dangerous. Take some time to make sure you can safely restrain your pet to maximize safety for you and your lovable friend.

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 One Where you Reconnect With Your Family

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Summer is here and the kids are out of school.  It is the perfect time to spend quality family time together.

Studies have shown that a family vacation is one of the most beneficial ways you can spend time with your children.  A family vacation creates moments that children value and will long remember. For the most part, it can be used as time spent away from electronic distractions and helps both parents and children relax and recharge without daily stressors.

When you travel with your children, you are offering them new experiences that will cause heightened social, physical, cognitive and sensory interaction.  Visiting museums, national parks, swimming together in an ocean or pool, hiking through the forest, campfire chats or long rides in the car can be effective when seeking to strengthen the family bond.

A family vacation is also a good way to get your child to open up.  It is a time when chores don’t exist and rules are relaxed causing them to feel more open to discussing what’s going on in their lives.

Children, who travel with their family, learn how to interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures. Experiencing new places, foods, traditions and meeting new people increases a child’s confidence and builds interpersonal skills.

Whether it’s a short overnighter or a long adventure, a family vacation is something to be shared and has been proven to enrich the overall development of your child.  They return from the holiday happier and with knowledge of a world and cultures outside of their own way of living.

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.

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.