Suicide Prevention- Pay Attention to The Signs

Suicide prevention-467918329Over 1 million Americans attempt suicide each year. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

Most people who committed suicide had treatable mental health disorders that went unnoticed.

Suicide can be prevented if the signs of mental health disorders are recognized and addressed immediately.

Here are a few warning signs of suicide we should not ignore:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Self-loathing
  • Changes in sleep patterns; which can either be excessive sleep or a deprivation of sleep
  • Irritability or anger
  • Talking about harming themselves
  • Loss of interest in daily activities or things they were once passionate about
  • Reckless behavior
  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
  • A preoccupation with death
  • Getting their affairs in order in preparation for death
  • Verbalizing thoughts such as “ Everyone will be better without me”  or “I  have nothing  to live for”
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye

If someone you know exhibits the following behaviors, do not dismiss them as a passing phase. These actions are a cry for help.

It is important to let your loved one know that you have recognized changes in their behavior, they are not alone and you are there to support them through this difficult time.  Speak openly about what they are feeling and ensure them they will not be judged because they feel suicidal.  Seek the help of a mental health professional immediately.  Insist on accompanying this person to their consultation or treatment. Continue to demonstrate your support during treatment by reminding them to take prescribed medications, keeping up with physician appointments and encouraging a positive lifestyle.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or demonstrating suicidal behaviors, get help immediately. Call 911, 1-800-SUICIDE, or 1-800-273-TALK

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.

Signs of Poor Circulation You Should Not Ignore

The circulatory system consists of our heart, lungs and blood vessels; all of which are responsible for transporting blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout our bodies.

When our circulatory system is not functioning well, and blood flow has decreased, we may experience symptoms that include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Problems getting or keeping an erection
  • Memory loss or difficulty concentrating
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Varicose veins
  • Fatigue
  • Edema (the accumulation of fluid in certain parts of the body)

The symptoms of poor circulation should not be ignored as they are sometimes indicative of serious health problems such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Blood clots
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Hypertension

Ignoring symptoms and delaying care can be detrimental to your health. If you are experiencing symptoms that are associated with poor circulation, notify your healthcare provider immediately.  Your doctor can conduct a physical examination or order tests to determine the cause and provide appropriate treatment.

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.

Pink Eye Or Allergies?

Allergies of the eye and pink eye are both types of conjunctivitis, which is an inflammation of the outer membrane that covers the eyeball.

Many of the symptoms of pink eye and eye allergies are similar, and this can sometimes make it difficult to tell each condition apart.  However, it is important that we learn about the characteristics that make them distinct- especially now that pink eye is considered a warning sign of a COVID-19 infection.

The symptoms of eye allergies can include:

  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • Gritty feeling in the eye
  • Itchiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Swelling of the eyelid

Symptoms of bacterial or viral pink eye can include:

  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • Gritty feeling in the eye
  • Itchiness
  • A  green or white discharge in one or both eyes, that can result in crusting at night
  • Soreness of the eyes

Although eye allergies and pink eye share common symptoms, the causes of each condition are different. Allergies are typically caused by a reaction to an allergen such as pollen while pink eye can be caused by bacteria or a virus.

An additional distinction between the two conditions is viral or bacterial pink eye is extremely contagious and can be spread by contact with an infected individual or exposure to a contaminated surface. Eye allergies on the other hand are non-infectious.

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with either type of conjunctivitis, it is important that you consult your eye doctor.  Your physician will be able to examine your eyes or order tests to determine the reason for inflammation and provide the appropriate treatment.

To schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5900.

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 Prevent Summer Dehydration

As summer temperatures heat up, our bodies may sweat more, and exposure to the dangers of the sun can increase. These factors can lead to dehydration, and put some at risk for developing serious health complications such as kidney stones, seizures, or heat stroke.

One of the best ways to avoid dehydration is drinking enough water.

In addition to drinking your daily recommended amount of water, there are a few tips you can follow to prevent dehydration. These include:

  1. Staying out of the sun as much as possible, especially during peak hours of sunlight (typically, between 10:00 am to 2:00 pm)
  2. Eating fruits and vegetables with a high concentration of water such as celery, cucumbers, and watermelon
  3. Drinking liquids before you begin to feel thirsty
  4. Avoiding or minimizing drinking caffeinated beverages such as coffee or tea
  5. Avoiding or minimizing alcohol consumption

Dehydration should not be taken lightly, because not only is your body losing water, it is also losing electrolytes and minerals that help organs to function well. Therefore, it is important that you stay hydrated during the summer and avoid complications to 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.

Antibody Testing

Antibody testing has become a popular topic during the COVID-19 pandemic.  There have been ongoing discussions as to whether or not this form of testing can provide answers to some questions we have about the disease.

Common questions asked about COVID-19 antibody testing include: “Can antibodies help detect past infections?” and “Does having antibodies reduce our risk of infection?”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the presence of antibodies (proteins produced by our body’s immune system to fight antigens such as viruses) can help to determine if you had a past infection of the virus that causes COVID-19.

A blood test, known as a serology test, is required to detect disease-specific antibodies.  Testing is typically recommended for individuals who have fully recovered from COVID-19 or those who suspect they had or were exposed to the virus but were asymptomatic.

Positive or negative results could mean several things for your health:

  • A positive antibody test result indicates that you may have had a COVID-19 infection in the past. However, results can also be false-positive, meaning you have developed antibodies but for a different kind of coronavirus such as the one that causes the common cold. It is very important to remember that a positive test does not guarantee immunity from the disease; so there is a possibility that you can become re-infected. Therefore you should continue to exercise the proper safety precautions to protect yourself and others around you.
  • If you test negative, this may mean that you have not had a prior COVID-19 infection. But it can also mean that you may currently have the virus and have not yet produced antibodies (If you have symptoms of the disease or believe you have been exposed, you can take a viral test to learn if you have the virus.)  For those who have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 but tested negative, please keep in mind that it may take 1-3 weeks after infection to develop antibodies.

Although antibody testing is providing some answers about COVID-19, there is still a degree of uncertainty about the accuracy of the information we are obtaining.  COVID-19 is a novel disease, and ongoing studies are revealing new details about it each day.  Until we are more certain in our knowledge of the disease, the CDC recommends that we continue to practice social distancing and other safety measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

To learn more antibody testing please consult your physician or visit the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/serology-overview.html

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 On How To Prepare for a Telemedicine Appointment

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we conduct our day-to-day routines.  To prevent the spread of the disease, most of our activities are now done from home. In some instances, this includes seeing our doctors for medical appointments.

Telehealth or telemedicine appointments have become the norm for many who require consultations from their physicians during the pandemic.  These appointments connect patients and doctors by utilizing video conferencing technology.  Although these virtual visits may not take place physically in a doctor’s office, they are private.  Information and conversations shared between participants remain confidential. Many of Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s doctors are now accepting appointments for virtual visits.

To prepare for your telemedicine appointment at Jamaica Hospital, please follow these helpful tips:

  • Sign up for Medisys MyChart. (This is preferred, however, if you do not have MyChart, we can still schedule a virtual visit through Zoom directly through zoom.us/join). 
  • Have access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer with a camera enabled with visual and audio.
  • Download the Zoom video communications application.
  • Test your equipment before your scheduled virtual visit.
  • Close other running programs or unnecessary tabs to avoid delays or pauses in your connection.
  • Find a quiet space.
  • Adjust the lighting in your space. Utilize overhead lights if they are available and block sunlight from windows. ( This will prevent you from having too much background light)
  • Prepare to answer questions pertaining to your medical history, symptoms, lifestyle changes, or any aspect of your health.
  • Have a pen and paper ready to write down your doctor’s recommendations or information about your treatment plan.

It is important to note that while most virtual visits are like normal appointments, there may be limitations based on your condition.  Please contact your doctor’s office if you have questions about scheduling a virtual visit.

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.

Q & A: Can COVID-19 Affect My Pregnancy?

A:   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “We do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result.”

COVID-19 is a new disease. Therefore, we are learning more about how it spreads and the effects it can have on our health every day.  While we continue to learn more about COVID-19, we encourage women who are pregnant to exercise all recommended precautions to protect their health.  These measures include:

  • Frequently washing and sanitizing your hands
  • Frequently cleaning surfaces of your home
  • Avoiding people who are sick
  • Practicing social distancing

If you are pregnant and experiencing symptoms that include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, chills, headache, a new loss of smell, or taste please inform your doctor. Testing may be required to see if these symptoms are the result of COVID-19. If you have tested positive, you may require specialized care during pregnancy and delivery. After giving birth, there is the possibility that your baby may need to be separated from you. This separation helps to prevent you from infecting your baby.

It is important to remember that prenatal care is unique to each individual. Speak with your OB/GYN about their plans to monitor your pregnancy and protect your health during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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.

Q&A: Can wearing earbuds increase my risk for an ear infection?

Can wearing earbuds lead to ear infection

Wearing earbuds for hours on end can increase the risk of an ear infection because our ears should not be clogged or obstructed for extended periods of time. Extensive wear of earbuds can prevent wax from exiting the ear canal and create buildups that can lead to infection. Additionally, the surfaces of earbuds are prime environments for dirt and bacteria to accumulate. Inserting earbuds that are unclean can introduce these elements into the ear canal where they can flourish.

To reduce the risk of developing painful ear infections, you should sanitize earbuds on a regular basis by wiping them down with alcohol pads or recommended cleaning solutions.  Store earbuds in a clean case, if they are stored loosely in a bag or drawer they can pick up bacteria and debris. Minimize the amount of time that you wear earbuds.  Most importantly, do not share them with anyone, sharing increases your risk of exposure to bacteria.

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.

Indigestion VS Heartburn

Symptoms of heartburn

Although the words indigestion and heartburn are often used interchangeably, they are two completely different conditions.

Indigestion or upset stomach is a general term used to describe a feeling of discomfort in the upper abdomen. Symptoms of indigestion can occur differently in each person.  They may include:

  • Nausea
  • Burning in the upper abdomen
  • Bloating in the upper abdomen
  • Uncontrollable burping
  • Feeling full longer than you should
  • Feeling full right after you begin eating

These symptoms can be caused as a result of eating fatty or greasy foods, eating too quickly, drinking too much alcohol, eating during stressful situations or smoking.

Making certain lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of indigestion. Here are a few tips to minimize symptoms and reduce your risk: quit smoking, avoid fatty or greasy foods, eat slowly, decrease stress or limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Indigestion can serve as a warning sign for more serious digestive diseases. If you are experiencing symptoms for more than two weeks, it is advised that you see a doctor.   

Heartburn is a condition that occurs when stomach acids flow up into the esophagus. This process is called acid reflux.   It causes a burning pain in the upper chest or the middle of the chest. Additional symptoms of heartburn can include:

  • A foul or  acidic taste in the mouth
  • Pain that worsens when lying down or bending over
  • Burning sensation in the throat
  • Difficulty swallowing

Eating certain foods can trigger or worsen the symptoms of heartburn.  Limiting the following can reduce your risk: spicy foods, alcoholic beverages, onions, citrus fruits and products, caffeinated drinks such as coffee, fatty meals, chocolate and tomato-based products such as ketchup.

Some individuals are more at risk than others for developing heartburn. People at risk include those who are pregnant or obese; those diagnosed with conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or hiatal hernias as well as those who are taking certain medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs.

It is advised that you see a doctor if: your heartburn symptoms are severe and occur frequently; you are experiencing nausea or vomiting; you have diarrhea, black or bloody stools or you have a chronic cough. Seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing difficulty breathing or severe chest pain or pressure.

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 on How to Prevent Getting Sick on a Plane

Tips to prevent getting sick on a plane

The chances of getting sick on a plane are high (especially during cold and flu season) because you are in close contact with fellow travelers and exposed to surfaces that may not be properly sanitized.  Additionally, air cabins tend to have low humidity levels which dry mucus from our noses and throats – creating an environment for germs and viruses to thrive.

Although these flying conditions are often beyond our control, there are measures that can be taken to lessen our exposure to germs and decrease our chances of getting sick.  Here are a few:

  • Get enough sleep before your flight- This will provide your immune system with a much-needed boost.
  • Stay hydrated- Keeping your body hydrated before and during your flight will prevent mucus from drying out.
  • Keep your hands clean by frequently washing them with soap and water or using a sanitizer- Doing so will limit exposure to germs (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that handwashing can prevent up to 21% of respiratory infections).
  • Use sanitizing wipes on surfaces you will touch- It is highly recommended that you wipe down tray tables, bathroom flush buttons, overhead air vents, seatbelt buckles and seat pockets. These areas are touched by millions of people and are perfect environments for germs to live.
  • Keep air vents on- HEPA filters used on planes are effective at removing bacteria and airborne viruses.
  • Wear a mask, especially if you are sitting next to someone who is constantly coughing or displaying other symptoms of a respiratory infection.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth – If you need to do so, make sure your hands are clean. Your eyes, nose and mouth serve as points of entry for germs.

It is important to remember germs and viruses can live for hours on certain surfaces. In fact, the flu virus can live up to 24 hours on any hard surface. Therefore, it is important that you follow the given precautions to protect your health and prevent the spread of germs and viruses.

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.