Learning More About Keratosis Pilaris, A Skin Condition That Can Worsen In Cold Weather

Weather associated with the Fall and Winter months can negatively impact your body in many ways, including how it affects your skin.  Jamaica Hospital Medical Center would like to share information about one such skin condition, keratosis pilaris, that is normally associated with cold, dry weather.

Keratosis pilaris is a common, chronic skin condition that causes small, scaly bumps on the skin where there are hair follicles. These bumps are the result extra keratin, which is a type of protein that’s part of skin, hair, and nails. Keratin forms under the skin, blocking the opening of the hair follicle. When the hair follicle becomes plugged it leads to tiny rough, red patches on the skin that often resemble goose bumps. These bumps can appear on the upper arms, thighs, and buttocks. They can also appear on the cheeks and on the sides of the torso.

It is unknown as to why keratin builds up, but you are considered more at risk of developing it if you have a parent or sibling who has it. Also, those who already have eczema or atopic dermatitis are believed to have an increased chance of having the condition.

While understanding what causes keratosis pilaris is still somewhat of a mystery, we do know one factor that can exacerbate the condition – the weather. Even though keratosis pilaris is not officially considered a seasonal condition, it usually becomes worse in dry or cold conditions, typically associated in the Fall and Winter months. This is because cold weather breeds dry skin, which in turn seems to irritate keratosis pilaris. For some, thankfully, the rash will disappear once warmer temperatures return.

Although there is no cure for keratosis pilaris, for some the condition can improve with age and without treatment.  For others, symptoms can be managed through a few different treatment options, including the use of topical exfoliants or retinoids or, in severe cases, laser therapy. There are also many things you can do at home to reduce the symptoms of keratosis pilaris, including:

  • Using a moisturizer or a lubricating lotion
  • Not vigorously scrubbing the skin
  • Drying off gently after showering
  • Using a humidifier to eliminate dry air
  • Avoiding the use of harsh cleansers and soaps

It is important to note that treatment may improve the appearance of the bumps, but the condition often comes back if treatment is stopped.  You should speak with your doctor or dermatologist to determine the correct course of treatment for your skin condition.

To make an appointment with a dermatologist at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-206-7001.

Health Benefits of Pumpkins and a Recipe to Enjoy

Did you know that pumpkins are not only tasty, they are quite healthy?

Some health benefits of pumpkins are:

  • They are highly rich in Vitamin A
  • They contain antioxidants and immune boosters that may reduce your risk of chronic illnesses
  • They are high in nutrients and low in calories
  • They contain compounds that promote healthy skin.

Now that you know about some of the health benefits of pumpkin, why not try this tasty gluten free, vegan Creamy Pumpkin Soup recipe. It’s healthy, easy to prepare and delicious.

Serves: 3

Prep time – 5 minutes

Cook time – 25 minutes

Total time – 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • ½ pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, diced
  • 4-5 cups vegetable broth
  • ½-1 cup coconut milk

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for a few minutes until translucent. Add pumpkin and garlic and continue to cook for a few more minutes.
  2. Add rosemary and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until pumpkin is soft and cooked through. Add salt to taste.
  3. Puree soup in a blender (in batches) and return to the pot.
  4. Add coconut milk and simmer for another minute or two.

Give this recipe a try. It is simply delicious and healthy too.

ACL Tears

With school in full swing and more children participating in team sports, it is important to talk about injuries that can happen during physical activity. Some of these injuries involve damage to ligaments, which are pieces of connective tissue that connect two bones together.

The anterior cruciate ligament, known as the ACL, is the most injured knee ligament with approximately 100,000 – 200,000 ACL tears occurring each year in the United States.

ACL injuries happen most during sudden, cutting or pivoting movements which are common in sports such as soccer, basketball, and football.

Although anyone can injure their ACL, there are several factors that can place an individual at a greater risk.  Risk factors include:

  • Participating in the aforementioned sports, as well as lacrosse, skiing, tennis and gymnastics
  • A previously torn ACL
  • Being female (Females are more likely to get injured than males due to differences in anatomy)
  • Poor conditioning
  • Wearing poor fitting footwear

Most patients who experience an ACL tear report hearing a pop at the time of injury. Other symptoms can include severe pain or tenderness, swelling and knee instability with walking or a loss of range of motion (Squatting and walking downstairs are particularly difficult movements after obtaining an ACL tear).

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms following an injury to the knee, it is important that you see a doctor immediately.

When you arrive at your doctor, they will ask you for details about how the injury occurred. They will then examine the injured knee by comparing it to the uninjured knee. During the exam, your doctor may perform tests such as the Lachman and Anterior Drawer test to help determine if the ACL was damaged. Several imaging studies such as an x-ray may be ordered to see if there are associated fractures of the surrounding bones.  An MRI may also be required to assess damage to soft tissue and check the extent of the ACL tear.

As with many injuries, acute management begins with RICE therapy which stands for rest, ice compression, elevation. If the knee appears unstable, crutches may be provided. A specially fitted brace may be another option to help stabilize the knee. Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen can help control the pain. Further treatment options may include physical therapy or surgery.

ACL tears can be prevented by performing stretching and strengthening exercises that focus on the lower body and core, warming up before playing sports, as well as participating in year-round training and conditioning.

If you suspect that you or your loved ones may have injured your ACL or have incurred any other type of injury, our physicians at the Family Medicine Clinic would be happy to evaluate you and discuss a treatment plan based on your goals.

To schedule an appointment with one of our incredible physicians please call our office at (718) 657 -7093.

Abraham Perl, M.D.

Former Patient Shares His Recent Experiences at Jamaica Hospital

When Arthur Warren called 9-1-1 last June, he expressed some reluctance when the paramedics informed him they were taking him to Jamaica Hospital.  “At the time, I still had negative memories from my previous experiences at the hospital. I felt the level of care and compassion provided during that time was not as good as it could be.”

However, despite his objections, the paramedics took Mr. Warren to Jamaica Hospital’s Emergency Department and as it turns out, he was thankful that they did.  “I recall that the staff was overwhelmed at the time with a high volume of COVID patients, but I had suffered a blot clot and despite being extremely busy, they provided me with life-saving care.”

Thankfully, Mr. Warren was discharged a few days later, but unfortunately, over the next few months, he had to be admitted to Jamaica Hospital two more times to treat an acute case of pancreatitis. Both times he was admitted to the 6 South unit where he found the care to be “greatly improved.”

Mr. Warren described his encounters “I was pleasantly surprised of the changes. It was like I was in an entirely different hospital, and it was a total reversal of my previous experience.”  Some of the many things that Mr. Warren pointed out was the empathy the staff displayed. “It was evident that the nurses cared a lot about me based on the way they spoke to me.” Mr. Warren also cited the improved communication by the doctors. “I was very impressed when my doctor refused to leave my room until he was confident that I understood my condition and the care plan.”

Mr. Warren added “It is obvious to me that everyone at Jamaica Hospital, including the social work, environmental services, and pain management team put an emphasis on putting the needs of the patient first. Upon discharge, they worked with me to manage my medications and adjust my diet so I can better control my condition. I commend Jamaica Hospital on a job well done. Thank you.”

Tremors

A tremor is defined as the unintentional or uncontrollable movement of a part of the body. 

Tremors are sometimes the result of movement disorders, neurological conditions, or other health problems.

There are two types of tremors: resting and action. Resting tremors mostly affect the hands or fingers. They occur when a person is sitting still and tend to go away once an individual begins to move around. Action tremors occur when there is movement of the affected part of the body.

In addition to type, tremors can be further categorized by their appearance and cause. These categories include:

  • Essential tremor- results from a neurological disorder that causes the hands or other parts of the body to shake involuntarily and rhythmically.  Shaking typically tends to worsen during movement than when at rest.
  • Dystonic tremor- occurs in individuals with dystonia, a movement disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions. Dystonia causes repetitive or twisting movements.
  • Parkinsonian tremor- is a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease.  Tremors occur mostly at rest. Involuntary and rhythmic tremors often start in one side of the body and eventually progress to both sides.
  • Cerebellar tremor- is caused by lesions or damage to the cerebellum from a tumor, stroke, or diseases such as multiple sclerosis.  Cerebellar tremors can also be caused by inherited degenerative disorders such as ataxia as well damage to the cerebellum resulting from chronic alcoholism.
  • Orthostatic tremor- is a movement disorder characterized by a rapid tremor in the legs that occur when standing.
  • Psychogenic tremor- is the most common psychogenic movement disorder. It occurs often in patients who have conversion disorder. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Conversion disorder is a disorder in which a person experiences blindness, paralysis, or other symptoms affecting the nervous system that cannot be explained solely by a physical illness or injury. Symptoms usually begin suddenly after a period of emotional or physical distress or psychological conflict.”  Many patients with psychogenic tremors have underlying psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.
  • Physiologic tremor- is barely visible to the naked eye and is typically reversible once the cause is corrected.  It can become more pronounced when there is a reaction to certain drugs, alcohol withdrawal or medical conditions such as hypoglycemia or hyperthyroidism. These tremors may also present during periods of muscular fatigue, anxiety, or emotional stress.

Tremors can be diagnosed during a physical examination.  Your doctor may order urine, blood or neurological tests to check for underlying medical conditions.

Tremors are treated based on the underlying cause and may include physical therapy, psychotherapy Botox injections, medications or surgery.

MediSys Family Care Center in Howard Beach

This month, we would like to shine our spotlight on the MediSys Family Care Center in Howard Beach.

This center moved into its current location at 156-10 Crossbay Blvd in 2011, after having been one block south on Crossbay Boulevard since 1995. This site currently offers seven state-of-the-art exam rooms and is staffed by 13 employees.

The MediSys Family Care Center in Howard Beach offers a wide range of services including:

  • Internal Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Podiatry
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Neurology

The staff shares with us why they enjoy working at MediSys Howard Beach. Dr. Lawrence Marino enjoys working at this office and tells us “I have been privileged to be part of this community for the past 30 years and ever more privileged to work with such a dedicated team”. Nilsa Valentine a Patient Access Representative in this practice says, “I have been working for the past 21 years in MediSys Howard  Beach. The patients have become more than just an appointment. We treat them like family which makes for a great relationship. My team in this office has given me the care and support that I appreciate so very much”. Keven Ogando, an Ambulatory Care Representative at this office states that, “throughout my year of working here I enjoyed how kind and helpful my coworkers have been”.

The current hours of operation are:

Monday – Thursday  7:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Friday and Saturday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Free parking is available in the rear of the building. The site is also accessible by public transportation using the Q41, Q52, and Q53 buses.

To schedule an appointment at Medisys Family Care Center in Howard Beach please call 718-323-3589.

Causes of Watery Eyes

There are a number of ailments that can cause your eyes to be watery.  The three most common causes are a cold, allergies and Dry Eye Syndrome. The most common medical cause being, Dry Eye Syndrome.

According to healthline.com some other causes of watery eye could be:

  • weather conditions such as dusty weather, wind, cold, and sunshine
  • environmental factors such as bright light and smog
  • inflammation of the eyelid 
  • eyelid turned outward or inward 
  • ingrown eyelash 
  • pink eye  or other infections
  • injury, such as a cut or scrape on the eye
  • some prescription medications

(to see the entire list of common causes, visit healthline.com)

According to the American Optometric Association, some symptoms affiliated with watery eyes or Dry Eye Syndrome are:

  • Gritty, irritated, scratchy or burning eyes
  • The feeling of something in the eyes
  • Excess watering
  • Blurred vision

Watery eyes can develop for a number of reasons including medical conditions such as diabetes and thyroid disease, aging, your gender or certain medications you are taking that can reduce tear production.

In mild cases, symptoms can often me managed using over the counter artificial tear solutions.

In either case, if symptoms persist you should seek medical attention.  If you are experiencing prolonged symptoms and would like to make an appointment to see one of our doctors, please call the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center Ambulatory Care Center at 718-206-7001 for an appointment.

The Importance of Sleep in Children

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of children (4 months- 17 years) living in the United States, get less sleep than what is recommended for their ages.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends:

• Infants 4 months to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours

• Children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours

• Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours

• Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours

• Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours

A lack of sleep can affect children in several ways. Children who do not receive adequate sleep are at a higher risk for developing health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, poor mental health, and obesity.  Sleep deprivation can also contribute to the development of behavioral or academic problems.

There are several ways parents can help children achieve a good night’s sleep. This includes:

  • Turning off devices at least an hour before bedtime
  • Ensuring beds are comfortable
  • Creating a consistent bedtime routine (changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, etc.)
  • Establishing and keeping a consistent sleep schedule (This includes weekends and vacations)
  • Keeping children from going to bed hungry or too full
  • Avoiding scary movies, books or television shows before bed
  • Helping to alleviate bedtime fears or anxieties by talking about them and providing comfort

It is important that children receive adequate sleep as it is beneficial for their overall health and development. If your child is consistently having problems falling or staying asleep despite practicing healthy sleep hygiene, you should consult a doctor.

To schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5916.

Can you get a flu vaccine at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine ?

According to information published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the answer is yes. The CDC tells us that you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time.

Even though both vaccines can be given at the same visit, people should follow the recommended schedule for either vaccine: If you haven’t gotten your currently recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccine, get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can, and ideally get a flu vaccine by the end of October.

While limited data exist on giving COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines, including flu vaccines, experience with giving other vaccines together has shown the way our bodies develop protection and possible side effects are generally similar whether vaccines are given alone or with other vaccines.

If you have concerns about getting both vaccines at the same time, you should speak with a health care provider.

For further information regarding the Covid vaccine you can visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html

Patient Story: What Started Out As a Mild Headache Quickly Turned Into A Medical Emergency.

While going about his usual routine on a warm summer day, Norbert Silva began to experience a mild headache.  As the day progressed, his symptoms grew more severe.  Hoping desperately to find some relief, Mr. Silva decided to take a few painkillers but still, the pain intensified.

Shortly after, Mr. Silva began to vomit. His body was warning him that something was terribly wrong. He immediately went to a local hospital to seek medical attention.

Following a thorough examination, it was decided by doctors to transfer Mr. Silva to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center to further investigate a suspected tumor. “I remember feeling nervous, everything was happening so fast,” shared Mr. Silva.

Upon his arrival at Jamaica Hospital, the E.R. team worked quickly to conduct a series of diagnostic tests. It was discovered that Mr. Silva developed a large tumor in the brain which was compressing his optic and oculomotor nerves.  “Throughout this process, the staff made it a priority to keep me informed and as comfortable as they could,” said Mr. Silva.

Shortly after this discovery was made, Mr. Silva realized that his vision was becoming blurry, he was rapidly losing the ability to see and move his right eye. “I was scared but all I could think about was my family. Thinking of them helped me to build up my courage,” he said.  

Neurosurgeon Dr. Amrit Chiluwal was consulted to further assess Mr. Silva’s condition and it was determined that surgery should be performed right away. “Dr. Chiluwal visited me and explained why I needed surgery and what to expect. I felt confident that he would take good care of me,” said Mr. Silva.

Mr. Silva’s surgery was performed by Dr. Chiluwal and fellow neurosurgeons Dr. Shamik Chakraborty and Dr. Mohsen Nouri.  The operation was successful thanks to the physicians’ expert training. “Our goal was the remove the tumor from the brain and decompress the nerves safely and in the least invasive manner possible,” shared Dr. Chiluwal. “Within 24 hours after surgery the patient’s vision was back to normal and he was able to move his right eye normally.”

Mr. Silva had a positive recovery in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). He said, “Everyone involved in my care treated me well.  The nurses in the ICU were amazing.  Dr. Chiluwal came to see me in the day and night. He’s a nice guy, a great doctor.”

Mr. Silva was released from the hospital just in time to celebrate his birthday. “I thank Dr. Chiluwal and the entire team for giving me the opportunity to celebrate another year of my life. I got to go home and see my family,” shared Mr. Silva,

Today, life is back to normal for Mr. Silva. He reports that his vision is now better than it was before and that he cherishes each day. His advice to others is to listen to their bodies and “don’t delay going to the E.R. if something does not feel right.”