Pneumonia Vaccination

pneumonia vaccination jamaica hospital

Illnesses such as the flu and pneumonia are more prevalent during the winter season.  It is commonly known that getting the flu vaccine is one of the best defenses against the flu virus but did you know that there is a vaccine that can help to prevent pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by a variety of bacteria and viruses. It is most often caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. The pneumonia vaccine helps to prevent pneumonia infections and complications caused by these bacteria.

Symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild to severe, and may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

It is important to receive prompt treatment for pneumonia because bacteria can spread from the lungs to the bloodstream and then to other parts of the body. This may require hospitalization and if left untreated can lead to death. 

Who can get the pneumonia vaccine?

  • Children- Most children will receive the pneumonia vaccine in multiple doses as part of their childhood vaccinations before 2 years of age.
  • Adults- Adults aged 19 to 64 years old who smoke cigarettes, use alcohol excessively or have chronic heart, lung or liver disease are recommended to receive one dose of the pneumonia vaccine.
  • Elderly- All patients aged 65 and older should receive at least one dose of the pneumonia vaccine.

Unlike the flu vaccine, which is given every year during the fall/winter season, the pneumonia vaccine can be received at any time.  However, you do not have to get the pneumonia vaccine every year.  Speak with your doctor about recommendations based on your age and immunization status.

The vaccine is a good way to prevent yourself from getting pneumonia, but remember, if you do have pneumonia, the flu or even the common cold, always wash your hands and cover your face when sneezing or coughing to prevent spreading it to others. 

To speak with or see a Family Medicine doctor about the pneumonia vaccine, please call 718-206-6942.

Susan Ching D.O. Family Medicine Physician

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.

Ear Infections and Your Child

Ear infections are among the most common health conditions in young children and babies. However, some children are too young to tell you that they have ear pain. How can you tell if your child has an ear infection?

Look for the following symptoms, which are all signs of ear infections:

  • ear drainage
  • fever
  • trouble hearing
  • tugging on the ear, fussiness, or excessive crying
  • difficulty sleeping
  • difficulty eating or chewing

While ear infections are not always preventable, you can help minimize your child’s risk of developing them by keeping him or her away from second hand smoke and people with colds whenever possible. Frequent hand washing also helps. If your child has frequent ear infections it is advisable to see an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist for a complete evaluation.

Originating from germs found in the nose or throat, ear infections are easily treated. Over-the-counter pain medications can be given as needed for temporary relief.  Ear infections may resolve by themselves, however depending on the severity, antibiotics may be needed. It is best to speak to your physician to determine the proper treatment.

If you suspect your child has an ear infection, please call the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, Ambulatory Care Center at 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment with a pediatrician.

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 Spot and Prevent Frostbite

Frostbite is an injury caused to the skin and underlying tissues as a result of exposure to windy and cold- weather conditions.

Staying outside in extreme weather conditions for extended periods of time is the most common factor and risks increase when temperatures fall below 5°farenheit, or in conditions with above freezing temperatures and extreme wind chills. Additional factors may include:

  • Direct contact with ice, very cold liquids and freezing metals.
  • Wearing clothing that is not suitable to protect against cold weather.

Although frostbite mostly occurs on parts of the skin that are not properly covered, it is important to note that in extreme temperatures it can also develop on areas that are covered by clothing.

Our nose, fingers, cheeks, ears and toes are the parts of our bodies that are highly susceptible to frostbite. They are furthest away from our core and are first to decrease in blood flow in cold temperatures.

The symptoms of frostbite vary with severity and are categorized in three stages:

Frostnip:  This is a mild form of frostbite. Skin may turn pale or very red and feels cold.  The affected areas may also itch, burn, sting or feel tingly. Continued exposure may lead to a “pins and needles” feeling or numbness.

Superficial Frostbite:  Skin appears reddened or pale. Skin can become hard and look waxy or shiny.  At this stage, after the skin is thawed, blisters may form on the affected area. Skin may also appear blue or purple once rewarmed.

Severe (Deep) Frostbite:  Severe cases of frostbite affect all layers of the skin as well as the tissues that lie below.  Skin becomes very hard and cold to the touch. It may look blue and some instances black, as the tissue dies. The affected area may lose all sensation and joints or muscles may no longer work.

Some people are more at risk of developing frostbite than others, they include:

  • The elderly
  • Young children
  • Patients taking medication such as beta blockers that reduce blood flow to skin
  • Diabetics
  • People who use nicotine
  • People under the influence of alcohol
  • People with prior cold-related injuries

Frostbite is preventable. If you expect to spend time outdoors in cold weather, take care in protecting yourself. Dress appropriately and in layers.  When temperatures become extreme, stay inside as much as possible. It is also advised that you stay hydrated; dehydration increases your risk of frostbite. Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking if you know you will be outside in the extreme cold.

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 Cold Weather Affects Asthma

When very cold and dry air enters the body, and subsequently the lungs it can cause a tightening of the airways. Cold air can cause wheezing, tightness of the chest muscles, shortness of breath, coughing, a sense of dizziness and sometimes difficulty speaking.

Taking some precautions before going outside in very cold weather can help ease the symptoms. It is important to keep asthma under control at all times. It can be helpful to take a dose of an asthma inhalant ten minutes before going outdoors. This will aid in keeping the airways open. People with asthma should carry their medication with them if they know they are going to be outdoors for any period of time. Another good idea is to keep your mouth and nose covered with a scarf when you are outside in cold weather. This will help to warm the air you are breathing. Anyone who has asthma should avoid strenuous outdoor activities. Sometimes the act of just walking on a windy day can bring on symptoms of an asthma attack. Try breathing through your nose more and through your mouth less. This will help to warm the air that enters your lungs.

People with asthma know the effects it can have during the cold days of winter. Taking a few precautions can help minimize the effects of the cold air on the body.

If you are experiencing symptoms of asthma and would like to seek the advice of a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center, call 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment.

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.