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.

Safety Tips on How to Avoid Being a Distracted Pedestrian

There has been a great deal of attention paid to the dangers associated with distracted driving.  We have seen the public service announcements warning drivers not to text or talk on their phones while behind the wheel, but what about the dangers of being a distracted pedestrian?

There has been a recent and dramatic increase in the number of pedestrians struck by automobiles and killed in recent years. While some of this can be attributed to distracted drivers, those not paying attention to their surroundings while crossing the street has also been reported to play a role in many incidents. One study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University concluded that the number of pedestrians (or “petextrians” as they are commonly referred to) injured while on their cellphones has doubled over the last decade.

Studies suggest that distracted walkers take longer to cross the street and are more likely to ignore traffic lights or neglect to look both ways while crossing. These problems are particularly prevalent among teens, but it’s important to note that all age groups are vulnerable to these dangers.

Safety experts agree that the most important advice for pedestrians is to never use a cell phone or other electronic device while walking. Here are some other tips to stay safe and avoid injury while crossing the streets:

  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street; looking left a second time is necessary because a car can cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time
  • Make eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles to make sure they see you
  • Be aware of drivers even when you’re in a crosswalk; vehicles have blind spots
  • Don’t wear headphones while walking
  • If your view is blocked, move to a place where you can see oncoming traffic
  • Never rely on a car to stop
  • Only cross at designated crosswalks
  • Wear bright and/or reflective clothing
  • Walk in groups

Walking is one of the best things we can do to stay healthy, but only if we put safety first. Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Division wants to warn our community that the risk for injury and death escalates when a pedestrian is not focused on his or her environment and our staff wants to spread the word on how pedestrians can avoid senseless injuries and death.

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.

Back To School – Time To Reestablish Your Child’s Sleep Schedule

Summer vacation is an opportunity for children to extend their bedtimes at night and sleep a little later in the morning. While most parents tend to be a bit more flexible with their kid’s sleeping habits during this time of the year, it’s important to remember that back to school is just around the corner and now is the time to reestablish a proper sleeping routine for your children.

After a relaxing summer, children might need some time to adjust to a regular schedule. Here are some tips to help your child ease into his or her school-time sleep pattern and to maintain healthy sleep habits throughout the year:

  • Every night, beginning 1-2 weeks before school begins, set an incrementally earlier bedtime and wake-up time.
  • Once your child’s sleep schedule is established, stick with it! Don’t use the weekend to “catch up on sleep.”
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine to allow your child to unwind including a bath and a bed-time story (for young children) or a reading time (for older children).
  • Limit television, video games, and other electronic distractions before and during bedtime.
  • Avoid big meals and caffeinated beverages close to bedtime as they may prevent your child from falling asleep.
  • Maintain a peaceful bedroom environment which includes a comfy bed, appropriate room temperature and lights turned off, or with a night light if your child needs one.
  • Be a role model by setting a good example for your child. Establish your own regular sleep schedule and maintain a home that promotes healthy sleep.

Getting your child back on track at bedtime will allow for a smooth transition for the first day of school and will help your children reach their full learning potential.

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 Effective, Non-Surgical Treatment for Varicose Veins

Jamaica Hospital now offers the VenaCure EVLT therapy to treat a condition that affects over 25 million Americans – varicose veins.

Varicose veins are bulging, bluish cords that run beneath the surface of your skin and are most prevalent on the legs and feet. They are sometimes surrounded by patches of flooded capillaries known as spider veins.   While varicose veins are usually harmless, in some cases they can become painful and tender to the touch. They can also lead to swollen ankles and hinder circulation in the limbs.

Up until recently, the most common way to treat varicose veins is through the use of compression stockings designed to help leg muscles push blood upward, or taking over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen to alleviate swelling. In more serious cases, doctors can perform a variety of interventions, including the use of heat with radiofrequency to close the veins, injecting chemicals into the vein, or even some surgical options that either strip or remove the vein entirely.

Now, Jamaica Hospital is offering a new and more effective way of treating varicose veins.  The VenaCure EVLT system is the number one physician choice in laser vein treatment and brings remarkable results and significant advantages to remedying superficial vein reflux.  During this laser vein treatment, a thin fiber is inserted into the damaged vein. A laser light is emitted through a fiber, delivering just the right amount of energy, causing these superficial veins to close and reroute blood flow to other veins.

This minimally invasive and clinically proven treatment option boasts a 98 percent success rate with minimal to-no scarring, offers less discomfort and a quicker recovery period than other forms of therapy for varicose veins.  The VenaCure EVLT procedure is also easy to perform, results in less complications, is done in your doctor’s office, and can get you back on your feet in less than an hour.

For more information about VenaCure EVLT treatment, or to schedule an appointment with one of Jamaica Hospital’s vascular surgeons, please call 718-206-7110.

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.

When is it Time to Address Your Child’s Lisp?

Most of us find it adorable when our children mispronounce different words and sounds when they are young and first learning to speak. While in most cases, these miscommunications are something they outgrow as they develop, certain distortions, such as lisps, may eventually require intervention.

A lisp is a term used to describe the mispronunciation of words.  The most common form of lisp occurs when a child makes a “th” sound when trying to make an “s” sound. This typically takes place when the child pushes their tongue out when making these sounds instead of keeping it behind their top teeth.

There are four types of lips:

  • A palatal lisp means that when your child tries to make an “s” or a “z” sound, his tongue contacts the soft palate.
  • A lateral lisp means that air travels out of either side of the tongue. Children with a lateral lisp produce “s” and “z” sounds that sound “slushy.”
  • A dentalized lisp means that your child’s tongue makes contact with his teeth while producing the “s” and “z” sounds.
  • An interdental lisp, sometimes called a frontal lisp, means that the tongue pushes forward through the teeth, creating a “th” sound instead of an “s” or “z” sound.

Lisps are very common in children and there are many reasons why they develop. While they are normal in early childhood development, if a child continues to have a lisp by the age of seven, you should seek professional assistance as the longer you wait to treat one, the harder they are to correct.  Your pediatrician, dentist, or school speech therapist can refer you to a speech language pathologist who can assess and treat your child for their lisp. These professionals offer a variety of techniques to correct a lisp and treatment can last anywhere from a couple of months to years of therapy.

In addition to having a speech language pathologist treat your child, parents can do a few things at home to help correct a lisp, such as:

  • Treating any existing allergy or sinus problems so your child can breathe through their nose as open-mouth breathing can cause the tongue to lie flat and protrude.
  • Keeping your child’s fingers out of their mouth as much as possible since thumb-sucking can contribute to a lisp.
  • Having your child use a straw in their drinks. This kind of sucking motion promotes good oral-motor strength, which is so important in language development.
  • Encouraging fun activities that can improve oral-motor strength such as having your child blow bubbles or playing with a toy horn.
  • Having your child look in a mirror and practice putting his teeth together while he makes an “s” This exercise can help him remember to keep his tongue behind his teeth

Most importantly, make sure that while you are supportive of correcting your child’s lisp, you do not point it out to them repeatedly or publicly as this can affect their self-esteem and result in them speaking less.

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.

Information About Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury is a very serious public health issue in the United States. A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is categorized into two major types of injuries: Penetrating Injuries and Closed Head Injuries. Penetrating injuries occur when a foreign object (e.g., a bullet) enters the brain and causes damage to specific brain parts. Closed Head Injuries result from a blow to the head as occurs, for example, in a car accident when the head strikes the windshield or dashboard.

Between 2002 and 2011, the number of children making trips to emergency rooms for brain injuries increased by 92 percent. During the same time, the number of those admitted to the hospital for further observation or treatment also increased by about 10 percent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called traumatic brain injury an “invisible epidemic,” because unlike other injuries, such as broken bones, the symptoms are not always immediately identifiable. According to the CDC, almost 500,000 emergency room visits for traumatic brain injuries each year are made by children under the age of 14. And each year, emergency rooms nationwide treat nearly 175,000 sports-related traumatic brain injuries among children under the age of 19.

With March being Brain Injury Awareness Month, The Jamaica Hospital Department of Surgery Trauma Division wants to make sure you and your loved ones recognize traumatic brain injuries in children.

Call 9-1-1 or take the child to the emergency department right away if after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body the child exhibits one or more of the following danger signs:

  • One pupil larger than the other
  • Is drowsy or cannot be awakened
  • A headache that gets worse
  • Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Slurred speech
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Cannot recognize people or places
  • Becomes increasingly confused, restless

The following are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Brain Injury Association of America to reduce the chances that you or your family members will have a brain injury:

  • Always buckle your child into a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt (according to the child’s height, weight, and age) in the car.
  • Make sure your children wear helmets when riding a bike, scooter, or playing a contact sport, such as football, baseball or ice hockey.
  • Avoid falls in the home by: Installing window guards to keep young children from falling out of open windows. Using safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around. Using non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors;

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.

When is a Sore Throat Not Just a Sore Throat?

We all develop a sore throat from time to time. There are many reasons for this. It might be due to a viral infection, an allergic reaction, or hoarseness from overuse.  In some case however, a sore throat can be a symptom of strep throat, which is a bacteria that if left untreated can lead to serious complications.

Strep throat is an infection of the throat and tonsils. You can get the infection from someone who is sick with it or is a carrier of it. Like other infections, it spreads from person to person or by touching objects that are contaminated and then touching your own eyes, mouth or nose. Strep throat is most common in children, but anyone can get it.

In addition to a sore throat some other symptoms of strep throat include:

  • A fever of 101 F or higher
  • Red, swollen tonsils
  • White patches in the throat
  • Tiny red spots on the roof of the mouth
  • Appetite loss
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting
  • Rash

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and can administer a test to confirm if you have strep. There are two ways to test:

  • A rapid strep test can identify a case in just a few minutes. The doctor will gently hold down your tongue with a depressor. Then, use a cotton swab to take a little bit of mucous from the back of the throat.
  • A throat culture is performed by rubbing the sample from the throat swab onto a special dish. If you have strep throat, the streptococci bacteria will grow in it. It usually takes about two days to get results from a throat culture.

If you have strep, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria that caused the infection. Most treatments last for about ten days. The medicine can make your symptoms go away faster and help prevent complications. It is important to take the full the dose of antibiotics. Stopping the medicine too early can leave some bacteria alive, which can make you sick again.

Other things you can take to treat the symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen to bring down a fever and ease pain.
  • Throat lozenges or piece of hard candy to soothe a sore throat.
  • Liquids such as tea and broth or something cold such as an ice pop.

The best way to prevent getting strep is to practice good hygiene. Don’t share cups, dishes, forks, or other personal items with someone who’s sick and wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer many times daily.

If untreated, strep can lead to scarlet fever, inflammation of the kidney, and rheumatic fever; a serious inflammatory condition that can affect the heart, joints, nervous system and skin.

Make an appointment with your doctor if you suspect that you or your child has strep throat. If you do not have a doctor, please call Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center at 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.