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.

Safety Tips for Driving at Night

The National Safety Council estimates that even though we do only a quarter of our driving at night, approximately 50% of all traffic accidents occur after dark. This leaves many wondering why so many accidents take place at night.

One of the main reasons is that at night, our depth perception is reduced, as is peripheral vision and the ability to see colors. We are also more likely to be more tired at night which can affect our reflexes. People who don’t get enough sleep or who have been working long hours are more prone to having an accident.

Another factor that can affect our ability to drive and see well at night is age. According to the National Safety Council, a person who is older than fifty years of age may need twice as much light to see well as a person who is only 30. Older drivers may also have compromised vision as a result of degenerative eye diseases or cataracts.

There are a few precautions drivers can take to prevent accidents while driving at night. Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma service and the National Safety Council recommends the following:

  • Keeping the windshield clean
  • Making sure headlights are aimed properly
  • Reducing  your speed
  • Turning your headlights on as soon as it starts to get dark so others can see you
  • Increasing  the distance between your car and the car ahead
  • Pulling over if you feel too tired to drive
  • Getting at least seven hours of sleep

Older drivers are encouraged to get annual eye exams to make sure that their eyes are healthy. These annual exams can also see if there are cataracts forming which can impair vision, and can check to see if eyeglass prescriptions are needed.

If you would like 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.

Over The Counter Readers vs. RX Glasses

If your vision is blurred or you are having issues with your sight, an eye doctor will conduct a regular exam, assessing your overall eye health.  At the end of the exam, it may be suggested that you are in need of glasses.  If you do not have a serious eye condition, the doctor may suggest magnifiers or over the counter (OTC) “readers.”

When making the decision to get glasses, many people wonder if there is difference between prescription lenses and OTC glasses.  The answer is, yes.

Some differences between OTC and prescription glasses are:

  • Over the counter (OTC) readers are best used for age-related presbyopia. Presbyopia is an age-related issue where your eyes become less flexible, making it harder to focus on close objects.
  • OTC readers have the same prescription in each lens. Having the same eyesight in both eyes is extremely rare. Therefore, your vision will not be properly corrected and you may still experience difficulty focusing even when wearing OTC readers.
  • Prescriptions glasses offer more options and benefits, such as quality in materials, accurate vision correction, lens clarity, as well as scratch and glare resistance.  Additionally, unlike OTC readers, prescription glasses can help with astigmatism, myopia or glaucoma.

If you are having difficulty with your vision, you should schedule an appointment to have your eyes examined.  To schedule an appointment with the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ophthalmology Center 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.

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer.  It affects the tissue that lines the body’s internal organs. There are four main types of mesothelioma based on location, they include:

  1. Pleural Mesothelioma (Lungs)
  2. Pericardial Mesothelioma (Heart)
  3. Testicular Mesothelioma (Testes)
  4. Peritoneal Mesothelioma (Abdomen)

Most people who develop the disease are those who have swallowed or inhaled asbestos particles over a period of time (Mesothelioma can take many years to develop after exposure; it may take anywhere between 20 to 60 years to form).  There are other contributing factors that increase the risk of the mesothelioma including living with someone who works with asbestos, having a family history of the disease or receiving radiation therapy to the chest.

Symptoms of mesothelioma may vary depending on the location of which the cancer develops.  They can include:

  • Painful coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fluid buildup around the lungs
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Nausea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pain in the testes
  • Swelling in the scrotum

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and are at risk for developing mesothelioma, it is advised that you see your doctor as soon as possible.  Your doctor can order a series of tests that may include a biopsy, imaging or blood tests.  Testing can help your doctor detect mesothelioma and assign a stage.

There is no cure for mesothelioma. Treatment for the disease is dependent on the stage and location of the cancer,  as well as certain aspects of your health.   According to the National Cancer Institute, treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or targeted therapy.

To learn more about mesothelioma, please visit the National Cancer Institute’s website at www.cancer.gov.

 

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.