January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month.

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Jamaica Hospital would like to join the national effort to increase awareness about birth defects and what can cause them.

While not all birth defects are preventable, there are certain healthy behaviors that can be practiced to increase your chances of having a healthy baby.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following tips for preventing birth defects:

  • Take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. Folic acid is important because it can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. Most vitamins contain the recommended amount of folic acid, but women should check the label to be sure it contains 100% of the daily value (DV) of folic acid.
  • Speak with your healthcare provider before you begin or stop taking any medicine. If you are planning to become pregnant, discuss your current medicines with a healthcare provider, such as your doctor or pharmacist. Creating a treatment plan for your health condition before you are pregnant can help keep you and your developing baby healthy.
  • Remain up to date with all vaccines, including your flu shot. Vaccines help protect you and your developing baby against serious diseases. Get a flu shot and whooping cough vaccine (also called Tdap) during each pregnancy to help protect yourself and your baby.
  • Attempt to reach a healthy weight before getting pregnant. Obesity increases the risk for several serious birth defects and other pregnancy complications. If you are overweight (or underweight), speak with your healthcare provider about ways to maintain a healthy weight before you become pregnant.
  • Avoid harmful substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs during pregnancy. Smoking during pregnancy can harm the developing baby and can cause certain birth defects. Alcohol can also cause problems for a developing baby throughout pregnancy. Using certain drugs during pregnancy can cause health problems for a woman and her developing baby.

By following these recommended tips, you will be doing what is best for you and your baby.

Speak to your doctor about other ways to increase your chances of having a healthy baby. To make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Women’s Health 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.

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic bowel disease that affects the large intestine, or colon. People with UC experience inflammation of the colon, which is typically marked by swelling and irritation that eventually leads to the development of ulcers (open sores) that produce blood, pus, and mucus. There is currently no cure for UC so those with the disease usually have symptom flare-ups off and on for life.

Ulcerative colitis occurs when the immune mistakenly identifies food, good gut bacteria, and the cells that line your colon as intruders. When this happens, the white blood cells that usually protect us, attack the lining of our colon instead, which causes inflammation and ulcers.

While doctors don’t know definitively what causes UC, some believe that both genetics and environmental factors may play a role in the development of the disease for some. While other factors such as food and stress don’t cause UC, they can trigger a flare-up of symptoms.

The main symptom of u ulcerative colitis is bloody diarrhea. Other problems may include:

  • Crampy belly pain
  • Sudden urges to empty your colon right away
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling tired
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Feeling like you haven’t completely emptied your colon after you use the bathroom
  • Not being able to hold your stools in

Your doctor will use different tests to determine if you have UC or another type of gut disease. Tests typically include stool and blood samples, x-rays, or a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy where tubes containing cameras are used to view the inside of the colon and take a biopsy of its lining.

If UC is confirmed, your doctor will work with you to address your symptoms and prevent future flare-ups. This may include altering your diet and prescribing certain medications to reduce inflammation and stop your immune system from attacking your colon. In severe cases, a surgical procedure to remove your colon (colectomy) may be required.

If you are experiencing symptoms of colitis, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. If you do not have one, Jamaica Hospital has qualified physicians that can diagnose and help you manage this condition. To make an appointment, 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.

The Benefits of Choosing a Pediatric Dentist for Your Child

If you were to look in a textbook for a description of a pediatric dentist, you would read a definition that states “the branch of the dental healing arts that focuses on the condition of children and associated structures of the oral cavity.”  However, if you ask a pediatric dentist to define what they do, you will get a much different answer. The truth is a pediatric dentist is so much more and there are many benefits to having a pediatric dentist treat your child.

One of the biggest advantages of choosing a pediatric dentist is their gentle nature. Going to see the dentist can be overwhelming for many adults, so imagine how a young child must feel. Pediatric dentists are aware of these common concerns and because they have the training and skills to manage them, they are best suited to make your child feel comfortable and at ease once they are in the dentist’s chair.

While having a dentist who makes your child feel comfortable is important, it is equally as important to make sure that the person taking care of them is well qualified; this happens to be another advantage of selecting a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists receive an additional two years of formal training to focus on the growth and development of a child’s oral cavity, from birth through the teenage years. Since pediatric dentists specialize in caring for children’s teeth, they are naturally better equipped to address the many potential problems that may occur, such as a delayed loss of baby teeth or the development of cavities and tooth decay.

Pediatric dentists take a holistic approach to providing care to children and work with parents to identify environmental factors that may contribute to poor dental health, such as dietary choices and the potential risks associated with habits such as thumb sucking, teeth grinding or the use of a pacifier.  These interactive opportunities serve to empower the entire family to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Statistics indicate that pre-school children are getting more cavities than ever before, with one out of every four children having one by the age of four. In addition, children miss more time from school due to tooth aches than they do from the flu. Due to these alarming facts a pediatric dentist will practice developmentally-based dental care by focusing a great deal of time during your child’s initial visits on teaching them about good dental habits, such as how to properly take care of their gums and teeth.

The pediatric dental team at Jamaica Hospital is dedicated to treating all children, from the time their first tooth erupts through their high school years. They believe the world is a happier place when it is filled with smiling children and they take pride in maintaining those smiles.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Pediatric Dental Center, please call 718-206-6980.

 

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.

Today is the Great American Smokeout

Today is the Great American Smokeout, an annual event when the American Cancer Society encourages everyone to quit smoking. This event helps to make people aware of the dangers of using tobacco products as well as the tools that are available to help them quit smoking.

The Great American Smokeout started in 1970 in a small town in Massachusetts. People were asked to give up smoking for one day and to take the money that they would have spent on cigarettes and donate it to a local high school scholarship fund. The event spread to other cities both large and small and eventually led to legislation that bans smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and other public spaces both indoors and outdoors.

Smoking  is responsible for one in five deaths in the United States today. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in both men and women. Smoking is also the cause of cancer of the larynx, mouth, sinuses, throat, esophagus, and the bladder. The number of people who smoke has dramatically decreased in the United States since the anti-smoking campaigns began. In 1965 it was estimated that over 40 percent of the population were smokers and today that number is around 18 percent.

Smokers have the best chances of quitting if they use at least two of the following methods:

• Smoking Cessation Groups
• Nicotine substitute products
• Support from family and friends
• Telephone quit lines
• Counseling
• Prescription medications that help to reduce the urge to smoke

If you would like more information about quitting smoking please call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital to discuss smoking cessation, please call 718-206-8494.

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.

Jamaica Hospital Celebrates Infection Prevention Week

October 14th marks the beginning of Infection Prevention week, an annual effort to highlight the importance of infection prevention among healthcare professionals, administrators, legislators, and consumers.

Over the past 32 years, infection prevention week has gained a great deal of recognition around the world and patients are now benefiting from the safer healthcare practices that are shared during this week-long observance. The theme of Infection Prevention week this year is Protecting Patients Everywhere. 

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center supports the prevention of infection among our patients, visitors, and staff. To help eliminate the spread of bacterial infection we urge every person who steps foot inside our hospital to learn about the best ways to protect themselves and others.

Below is a list of ways patients can reduce the risk of infection provided by the Association of Professionals in Infection Control (APIC):

  • Speak up for your care
  • Clean your hands often
  • Ask about safe injection practices
  • Ask to have your room cleaned
  • Ask questions about your medications
  • Ask if you should shower before having surgery
  • Ask each day if you still need a catheter
  • Ask about vaccinations so you stay healthy
  • Learn about healthcare associated infections

Jamaica Hospital is proud to share that we have made great strides in our infection prevention and control initiatives.  We are currently at 97% hand hygiene compliance, which has led to very low hospital-acquired infection rates including urinary catheter infections, surgical site infections, and bloodstream infections.

Jamaica Hospital knows that by practicing good hand hygiene and adhering to other patient safety initiatives as well as continuing to educate our patients, we are creating an even safer environment for our patients, staff and visitors.

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.

Can Too Much Sleep Be Bad For Your Health?

“You have to get enough sleep if you want to stay healthy.” It’s a common phrase that emphasizes how important getting enough sleep is to our overall well-being. So if sleep is that important, it would make sense that the more we get of it, the better we will feel. However, the idea that there is no such thing as getting “too much sleep” is one that is totally wrong.  In fact, chronic oversleeping can lead to a wide variety of health issues.

While the recommended amount of sleep for adults varies based on age, activity level, and lifestyle habits, generally speaking, most adults should get an average of between seven and nine hours of sleep every night.  Sure, it’s okay to sleep in a little late on the weekends, but if you find yourself requiring over nine hours of sleep on a consistent basis, or feel that you don’t feel well–rested when you don’t, it may be a sign of a another issue.

For some, oversleeping could be due to a condition known as hypersomnia, which causes people to require unusually long periods of sleep at night and suffer from extreme sleepiness throughout the day.  Those with hypersomnia also have low levels of energy, experience problems remembering things and do not feel recharged from a nap like the rest of us do.

Hypersomnia is not the only reason one might require extra sleep. Other reasons may include the use of certain substances, such as alcohol or some prescription medications. Obstructive sleep apnea may also be another reason why someone needs more sleep as those with this condition have their sleep cycles obstructed, making them feel less rested.  Lastly, depression is another leading cause for oversleep in many individuals as those who are clinically depressed are more lethargic and more likely to want to stay in bed.

Regardless of the reason why someone sleeps too much, the condition needs to be addressed as studies have indicated that oversleep can lead to many other health problems, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Headaches
  • Back Pain
  • Depression
  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Fertility Issues

In addition to, or perhaps as a result of these other issues, those who oversleep have been found to have higher death rates than people who sleep seven to nine hours a night.

If you are oversleeping, it is important to address the reason why. If it is caused by alcohol or prescription medications, look to cut back or eliminate those substances from your daily routine. If you think you are oversleeping due to depression seek help from a mental health professional. Likewise, if you have been diagnosed with hypersomnia or another medical condition, treating the disorder may help you return to a normal night’s sleep.

You should also look to ensure that the sleep you get is restful by practicing good sleep habits. Try to establish a set bedtime and wake-up time, avoid eating a heavy meal or consuming caffeine before bed, and maintain a comfortable sleep environment. Exercising before bed can also help you relax and fall asleep easier.

Jamaica Hospital offers a comprehensive sleep center, which diagnoses and treats a wide variety of sleep disorders.  If you believe you require too much sleep, we can help you figure out why. To make an appointment at our Sleep Center, call 718-206-5916.

 

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.

Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Team Offers Driving Safety Tips to Seniors

Everyone remembers the day they passed their road test and received their driver’s license. Getting a license opens up a world of options for drivers and provides them with a sense of independence that they didn’t have before.

If you received your license a long time ago, and are now a senior citizen driver, you may begin to notice certain limitations that could potentially impact your ability to operate a vehicle. While for some, driving at an advanced age may no longer be advised, most seniors can still enjoy the benefits of driving by taking a few extra precautions.

Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Division is offering the following tips to senior drivers to help them avoid injury to themselves, other drivers or pedestrians while on the road.

  • Have Your Vision and Hearing Checked Regularly – Be aware of any ocular conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration that might affect your vision. If you wear glasses or contacts, make sure you wear them while driving. Similarly, if you require a hearing aid, make sure you don’t drive without one as it is an important device to help you hear car horns and emergency sirens.
  • Be Aware of Other Health Factors – Pain or stiffness in the joints can limit mobility and your ability to check mirrors or turn your head. Chronic fatigue can be a problem, especially during long drives, and certain chronic conditions such as diabetes or seizure disorders can affect your safety. Side effects from medications can also impact driving and should be discussed with your doctor or pharmacist before driving.
  • Know Your Limitations – As you age, it’s important to acknowledge that certain motor functions might not be as sharp as they once were and should be taken into consideration while on the road. It is advised that seniors should increase their following distance, use their brakes earlier, try to anticipate situations before they occur, and try to avoid highly trafficked areas when possible.
  • Avoid Dangerous Driving Conditions – Controlling your car in inclement weather, such as rain or snow is more difficult and therefore should be avoided. Driving at night can also pose increased risks because reaction times are often affected during this time of day.  Lastly, driving during rush hour presents additional opportunities for accidents to occur because other drivers tend to be more aggressive and inpatient. Under these conditions.

Getting older doesn’t mean that you can no longer drive. By following these tips, you can continue to drive without feeling as if you are a danger to yourself or others.

If however, you feel concerned about your ability to drive, it doesn’t mean you have to give up your independence. There are many car fare services and public transportation options that can still get you where you want to go.

 

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.

Know Your Rights as a Patient

When you or someone you love is being treated at the hospital there are so many things to keep track of and it can all seem quite confusing and frustrating.  While your primary focus during this time is on your recovery, it is important to know that each and every hospital patient has a number of rights that they are entitled to.

These laws and regulations help ensure the quality and safety of your hospital care. They outline that patients have the right to participate in decisions about their care and to understand what they are being told about their treatment plan.

Patients are encouraged to ask their doctors, nurses and other healthcare professional as many questions as they need to in order to help them fully understand their situation every hospital stay is different.  This includes learning about why certain procedures are being ordered and why certain drugs ae being prescribed.

Other rights pertain to receiving proper written discharge information when leaving the hospital, while others protect patients with special needs including those who are hearing or vision impaired as well as those who don’t speak English as their primary language.

Jamaica Hospital wants all of our patients to have a pleasant and well-informed hospital experience during their stay.  The next time you are in the hospital, feel free to ask a member of the staff to review the Patient Bill of Rights with you, or go to the New York State Department of Health’s website to read your rights now.

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.

Healthy School Lunch Tips

As parents, we do our best to make sure that our children eat healthy when they are with us. This includes preparing well-balanced meals for them and saying “no” when they want to overindulge on junk food.

Keeping an eye on what our kids eat can be a difficult enough task when they are in our presence, but the task is even harder when they aren’t – like when they are in school.

Most children spend an average of six hours a day in school. It is estimated that half of their daily caloric intake is consumed while at school, therefore it is important to make sure that they receive proper nutrition during this time.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States. The number of children and teens classified as obese has tripled since the 1970s and it is now estimated that one out of every five school-age children in the U.S. fits this criteria.

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and Jamaica Hospital wants to raise awareness about this growing problem and the serious consequences associated with it. Obesity puts children at greater risk of developing many other chronic health conditions and diseases, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, and type 2 diabetes. They also have more risk factors for heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Children with obesity can be bullied and teased more than their normal-weight peers and they are also more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem.

The good news is the childhood obesity is preventable. One way to reduce your child’s chances of becoming obese is to make sure they eat healthy at school. So, whether your child packs lunch or their school provides lunch for them, there are a few things you can do to make sure they are eating healthy during the school day.

SCHOOL LUNCH TIPS
If your child opts to receive the school provided lunch, do your homework and make sure their school is offering a healthy menu.  Many school districts across the country have changed their lunch menu to meet the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) standards. This includes providing children with the appropriate food portions with a concentration on more fruits and vegetables, increased whole grains and fat-free or low-fat options.

Also, check your school’s website as it often lists the menu for the month. If your child is a picky eater or has food allergies, knowing in advance what days he or she may not eat school lunch will help you prepare an alternate plan.  If getting out the door in the morning is a problem, consider signing your child up for school breakfast too as starting the day off with a good breakfast has many benefits.

PACKING LUNCH TIPS
If your child prefers to bring lunch from home make sure to have a variety of healthy options at home for them to bring to school. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and snacks with reduced saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.  Sometimes coming up with healthy options can be a challenge; if so, there are many websites that offer a variety of ideas for parents of even the most finicky eaters.

To help ensure that you plan wisely, avoid packing lunches in the morning when you might be in a rush. Instead, try preparing them the night before when you have more time to select the healthiest options. It is also important to make sure to have foods packed at appropriate temperatures. This may include inserting ice packs for yogurt or other dairy items or a thermos for chicken soup or other hot lunch options.

It is important to remember that whether parents choose to have their children buy school lunch or pack a lunch for them, they need to set a good example in the home by eating healthy themselves. Parents should also take the time to teach their children about what foods are healthy and why it is important to maintain a well-balanced diet.

Working together with your school system, you can ensure that your child will receive the proper nutrition this school year, which will benefit both their body and their mind.

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.

Jamaica Hospital Offers Information to Parents About Sports-Related Concussions

This fall, millions of children and teens across America will be returning to school and many of them will be trying out and playing for their school’s various sports teams.

While the health benefits, exercise and comradery associated with youth sports is undeniable, parents must also educate themselves and their children about the potential dangers of sports-related concussions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a concussion is “a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. This fast movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging the brain cells.”

Largely associated with football, concussions are actually prevalent in many major sports including soccer, gymnastics, hockey and lacrosse and they can occur while participating in any physical activity.

To minimize the chances of sustaining a concussion, it is important for coaches and parents to create a culture of safety in youth athletics. This includes teaching proper safety techniques on the field of play and making sure that children follow those rules.  Another key to reduce the chances of a child or teen suffering complications from a concussion is to educate them on their signs and symptoms. If children are aware of not only the symptoms, but the dangers of not reporting a concussion, they are more likely to inform a coach or parent when they experience one.

Symptoms of a concussion can include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headache or “pressure” in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down.”

It is important to understand that not all concussions are created equal. Those who suffer one many experience some, but not all symptoms and the severity of those symptoms may vary from person to person.

If you believe that your child has suffered a concussion, you should remove them from play immediately and have them seen by their healthcare provider who can assess the severity of his or her injury via an examination and conduct additional tests if necessary. Typically, treatment for a concussion involves rest and restricting the patient from activity.

If your child does not have a healthcare provider, or they are unavailable when they sustain a concussion, you should take your child to a nearby hospital emergency department, such as the one at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

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.