How To Tell The Difference Between a Bad Cold, Bronchitis and Pneumonia

That dreaded time of year is here, it is cold season.  In the United States, this season starts around September and typically lasts until March or April.

Chances are like many, you may catch a cold. If you do, you may display symptoms that include sneezing, scratchy or sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, coughing, congestion or a low-grade fever. These symptoms are normal but can worsen when left untreated and may cause serious illnesses such as bronchitis or pneumonia to develop.

It is important to know when your condition is worsening. There are several signs that can help you to recognize when your common cold has become something more.

Here are some symptoms of bronchitis to look out for:

  • A cold that persists for two weeks or more
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Coughs that produce thick clear, white, green or yellow mucous or blood
  • Rapid breathing
  • Soreness of the chest

Pneumonia can develop after having a serious cold or flu. Symptoms can be mild or severe depending on factors such as age and your state of health. The symptoms of pneumonia can include:

  • Violent coughing spasms that produce very little mucous
  • Coughs with bloody or yellow or greenish mucous
  • Fever
  • Sharp or stabbing chest pain when you breathe deeply or cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Clammy skin or excessive sweating
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches

If your cold persists longer than two weeks and you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important that you contact your doctor as soon as possible. In severe cases, pneumonia can be life threatening.

To schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

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.

This Month We Shine Our Employee Spotlight On Nicole Tuccillo, PA-C, MHA

This month, we are proud to shine our employee spotlight on Nicole Tuccillo, PA-C, MHA a Physician Assistant in the Emergency Department at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center where she has been working since 1999.

Nicole is a native of Queens. She grew up in Howard Beach and attended elementary school at P.S. 207, Junior High School at J.H.S. 202, and high school at Christ the King. She received her associate’s degree from Delhi University and received her B.S. and Physician Assistant degrees from Wagner College. Nicole then went on to obtain a Master’s in Health Administration from Bellevue University in 2012.

Nicole spent her first four years working at Jamaica Hospital in the PICU, she later began working in the Emergency Department. One of the positions she held was Trauma Program manager for five years. However, Nicole’s true calling is working in the different areas of the Emergency Department as this is where she feels she is most needed. She has the opportunity in the ER to teach PA and medical students which is very rewarding.

Nicole currently lives with her family on Long Island. Nicole’s husband is a Lieutenant with the New York City Fire Department. They have a son who is 14 years old and a daughter who is 13 years old. Completing the household is a dog named Cocoa who is always at the door waiting to greet them with lots of love. Her family is her whole world. Nicole also enjoys spending time with her friends as well and likes the fact that they round out her life so nicely. In her free time she practices Pilates and yoga which help her to relax and stay grounded.

Nicole likes trying new types of food, especially things that are exotic. She also loves to travel to new places. A few of the places she has been to include Iceland, Hawaii, Montreal, Sicily and other parts of Europe. Travelling the world has given her the opportunity to see new places, see the beauty that they hold, and learn about other cultures.

Nicole enjoys working at Jamaica Hospital because it is a comfortable atmosphere in which she is able to multi-task. According to Nicole, “The hospital is a place where everyone knows everyone else and work well together as a team. Our collective goal is to provide our patients with the utmost of care.” She also enjoys the diversity that is part of the fabric of the hospital and the patients that we treat.

We are very happy to have Nicole as part of the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center family and look forward to having her with us for many more years.

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.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression experienced by people during the beginning of the fall months through winter. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder

The exact cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder is unknown; however, according to the American Psychiatric Association, “SAD has been linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter.” Decreased levels of sunlight have been found to disrupt melatonin (a hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle) and serotonin (a chemical that regulates mood) levels in the body.

Those affected by the disorder may find that they have sleep issues, difficulty concentrating, and increased cravings for unhealthy foods that can contribute to weight gain and low energy, as well as other symptoms associated with depression such as feelings of hopelessness or thoughts about suicide.

Treatment for SAD may include phototherapy, medications and psychotherapy. Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes such as increasing your exposure to natural light.  This can be achieved by doing more outdoor activities such as walking, jogging and hiking.  Increasing physical activity is also strongly encouraged as this has been found time and time again, to reduce levels of stress and anxiety which improve symptoms of SAD. In addition to improving your mood, physical activity can help to control or lose weight.  

Paying attention to your eating habits is very important. Those with SAD are at an increased risk for emotional eating and making poor dietary choices. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet can help you to manage your weight and sustain energy. Avoiding alcohol is highly recommended. Alcohol acts as a depressant, which in excess can worsen depressive symptoms

Practicing meditation or yoga  as well as receiving acupuncture or massage therapy have been found to decrease anxiety and stress levels, improving mental and physical health overall. It is also important to surround yourself with friends and family, this allows for less alone time and strong social support.

If the symptoms of SAD persist, consider cognitive psychotherapy and or SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) treatment to relieve depressive symptoms and address underlying difficulties.

If you are struggling with SAD, you do not need to feel alone. It is estimated that 10-20% of Americans suffer from SAD. It is important to seek help if you are experiencing issues at work or school, substance abuse or other signs of mental health disorders, especially suicidal thoughts.

To speak with or see a Family Medicine doctor about Seasonal Affective Disorder, please call  718- 206-6942

Marwa Eldik M.D.

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.

Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. Olive oil

2 Garlic cloves minced

1 Onion diced

1 Butternut Squash peeled and diced into cubes (can use frozen pre-cut as well)

4 cups (32 ounces) Vegetable Broth

1-2 tsp. salt (optional)

1 tsp freshly grated Ginger (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
    1. Add cut up butternut squash and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until squash is softened.
    1. Carefully pour entire contents of pot into blender or use an immersion blender. Add salt and ginger.
    1. Carefully blend until smooth. Serve in bowls and garnish with parsley, chives, diced apples or pumpkin seeds.

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 for Breastfeeding Babies Who are Teething

baby  514614209Most babies do not bite while breastfeeding but some might while teething. This can be painful or uncomfortable and may cause some mothers to consider weaning. Although teething raises some challenges, mothers are encouraged to continue breastfeeding as best they can. Organizations such as the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics highly recommend breastfeeding until babies are ages one to two.

If you decide to continue breastfeeding throughout teething, following these tips can help you alleviate some pain and discomfort:
• Make certain that your baby is latched on properly. When babies are latched properly it is difficult for them to bite as their tongues are covering the lower gums or teeth.
• Massage the baby’s gums before feeding. This can decrease the level of discomfort or pain your baby may be experiencing.
• Discourage the baby each time he or she bites by either removing him from the nipple bite or by pulling him closer to you. Then calmly say “no biting”.
• Give baby something cold to chew before feeding. A chilled, age-appropriate teething toy or cloth can ease soreness. Rubbing an ice cube on gums works just as well.
• Stick a finger in the corner of the baby’s mouth as he or she clamps down. This will serve as a barrier between your nipples and baby’s teeth.

The good news is biting caused by teething is only a phase; it is temporary. Continuing to breastfeed can provide countless benefits for your baby. If your baby still bites after trying these tips, do not hesitate to contact a lactation consultant or your pediatrician for direction and support.

To schedule an appointment with a Lactation Consultant at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-291-3276.

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.

Understanding How Diabetes Can Affect Your Digestion

Nausea and vomiting are two unpleasant feelings that most everyone has encountered at some point in their life, but for many diabetics, these are symptoms that they live with every day as a result of a condition known as diabetic gastroparesis.

Gastroparesis, also known as delayed gastric emptying, is a known complication of both the type 1 and type 2 forms of diabetes.  It occurs because high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes often leads to nerve damage throughout the body.  One such nerve is the vagus nerve. It controls the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine. When it is damaged, food cannot move as quickly through the digestive system because the stomach muscles aren’t working well or stop working completely.  When undigested food remains in the stomach for too long it can lead to a variety of problems such as bacterial overgrowth and the build-up of hardened, solid masses.

It is estimated at as many as 50% of all people living with diabetes develop some level of gastroparesis during their lifetime, but symptoms can vary greatly from person to person.

The most common symptoms associated with diabetic gastroparesis include:

  • Nausea after eating
  • Vomiting after eating
  • Fullness after eating small amount of food
  • Bloating
  • Pain in the upper section of your stomach
  • Lack of appetite
  • Heartburn
  • Unexplained weight loss

Diabetic gastroparesis can affect lead to many complications including dehydration and malnutrition. It can also make it hard for someone with diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels as well as maintain a healthy weight.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for gastroparesis, but there are some medications that have shown temporary relief. There are also some alternative food delivery methods available, such as feeding tubes and IV nutritional therapy for those with severe symptoms.

The best way to reduce the symptoms of diabetic gastroparesis involves adjusting your lifestyle through:

  • Maintaining a low fat / low fiber diet
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Reducing stress levels
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding alcohol and carbonated beverages
  • Eating small meals and chewing your food slowly
  • Taking walks after meals

It is also recommended that you talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking as they can also worsen gastroparesis symptoms.

If you would like to make an appointment with a diabetes specialist at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-206-7001.

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

How To Make Your New Year Resolutions Stick

New Year Resolutions are great to make and even better to keep. Here are some tips on how to make your New Year Resolutions stick.

  1. Be realistic
  2. Plan ahead
  3. Outline your plan
  4. Make a “pros” and “cons” list
  5. Talk about it
  6. Reward yourself
  7. Track your progress
  8. Don’t beat yourself up
  9. Stick to it
  10. Keep trying

Keep in mind that each day is a new day to either continue your journey to your goal or to start again

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.

Laryngitis

laryngitis treatment

Many have experienced the two most common symptoms of laryngitis- hoarseness or voice loss.  

These symptoms occur as a result of an inflammation of the larynx which contains our vocal cords.  When our vocals cords are inflamed they become swollen, distorting the sounds made by the air passing through them.

Additional signs and symptoms of laryngitis can include a dry cough, sore throat, low-grade fever, itchy throat or swollen glands.

Most cases of laryngitis are temporary or acute and are caused by overusing our voices, viral infections such as the cold or bacterial infections such as diphtheria. Symptoms typically last for a few days.

The best treatments for acute laryngitis involve self-care.  It is recommended that you rest your voice, drink plenty of fluids, use humidifiers or menthol inhalers and gargle with warm, salt water. You should avoid whispering, dry or smoky rooms, decongestants, spicy foods, alcoholic beverages and caffeine.

Laryngitis can be also become chronic or long-term.  Symptoms lasts more than three weeks and can be brought on by bulimia, smoking, alcohol abuse, GERD (acid reflux), constant exposure to polluted air or second-hand smoke, excessive coughing, sinus disease, injury to the throat or cancer.

Treatments for chronic laryngitis are aimed at treating underlying issues. For instance, doctors may recommend a change in diet in cases in which chronic laryngitis is caused by GERD. If caused by exposure to polluted air, doctors may recommend wearing protective gear.  Medications such as antihistamines, antibiotics, pain relievers or glucocorticosteroids may also be prescribed based on the cause of symptoms.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of laryngitis for more than three weeks, you should see a doctor. Medical attention must be sought immediately if you are having difficulty breathing, coughing up blood, have increased pain or a fever that will not subside. To schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001

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 it important to know what Cushing syndrome is?

When the body is exposed to high levels of the stress  hormone cortisol for extended periods of time this leads to a condition known as hypercortisolism, or Cushing syndrome.

High levels of cortisol in the body can occur as a result of ingesting oral corticosteroids or the body producing too much of the hormone in the adrenal glands.

Why would the body produce too much cortisol? It may be due to a tumor on the pituitary gland which leads to an over production of  adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) that stimulates the adrenal glands. This is more common in women than in men.  It can also be due to a noncancerous tumor of the adrenal gland which causes an excess production of cortisol.

The medications that contain steroids are used to treat asthma, inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus. patients who have had organ transplants are also given steroids to reduce the risk of complications.

Signs and symptoms of Cushing syndrome include:

  • Weight gain
  • Buffalo hump ( fatty tissue deposits between the shoulders)
  • Moon face ( fatty tissue deposits in the face)
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Severe fatigue
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Bone loss
  • Weakness
  • Acne
  • High blood sugar levels

Diagnosing Cushing syndrome is done by several methods. A 24 hour urine test may be performed to test levels of cortisol, a dexamethasone suppression test which involves taking a low dose steroid pill at night and then checking the blood levels for it in the morning, and a salivary cortisol level test which measures the level of cortisol in the saliva at night.

Treatment depends on the cause of the condition. If a person is taking in too much cortisol, it may have to be reduced. If a person is producing too much cortisol, ruling out a tumor is important. It is possible to cure Cushing syndrome, and if a complete cure isn’t possible, there are ways to at least control it. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

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.

National Winter Skin Relief Day

January 8, 2020, is designated as National Winter Skin Relief Day.  This observation helps remind us that our skin is susceptible dryness and cracking due to the severe weather winter season can bring.

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

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

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

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

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center to discuss dry skin and how best to treat it, please call 718-206-7001.

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.