Common Summer Illnesses

Typically when we think of seasonal illnesses, we think of conditions such as allergies, the cold and flu as they relate to winter, spring and fall months. However, it is important for us to remember certain illnesses are more likely to occur during the summer than at other times of the year.

Although the summer provides us with lots of sunshine and opportunities to enjoy recreational activities, warmer temperatures and elements of our environment can increase our risk of exposure to factors that affect our health.

Hot weather provides the perfect climate for bacteria to grow that causes food poisoning. Therefore, we have to be especially careful during summer months to make sure our food is stored and prepared correctly to avoid illness.

A favorite summer past time for many is swimming; however, the bodies of water in which we swim can serve as the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that causes recreational water illnesses (RWI) and can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea.  We also have to be mindful of properly draining or drying our ears after swimming, as this can encourage bacteria to grow, potentially leading to an infection known as swimmer’s ear.

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that peaks during the summer months when we are more exposed to ticks in wooded or grassy areas.   Therefore it is important to take the proper precautions to prevent tick bites while we are participating in outdoor activities such as hiking.

Coxsackie is a common summer virus that mostly affects children. The hand, foot and mouth disease is spread from person-to-person by saliva, blister fluid, feces and mucus.  Outbreaks peak in the summer; however, you can control the spread of the virus by frequently washing hands and cleaning surfaces that children touch most often.

Summer heat and places of recreation can provide the perfect environment for illness-causing bacteria and viruses to flourish.  Remember while soaking up the sunshine or lying by the lake to take the proper steps to reduce your chances of getting sick.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Signs of an Iron Deficiency

Iron is essential to our health. This mineral is an important component of hemoglobin which is the substance in our red blood cells that carries oxygen from our lungs and transports it to every cell in our bodies.

Iron deficiency anemia is the term used to describe having insufficient amounts of iron in our bodies.  If we don’t have enough iron, we are incapable of making adequate amounts of healthy, oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Iron is also needed to promote the health of our skin, hair and nails.  A deficiency can result in skin problems as well as brittle nails and hair loss.

Symptoms of a deficiency tend to appear and intensify with severity.  People with low to moderate anemia may not experience symptoms but as the body becomes more deficient they may experience:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • A sore tongue
  • Frequent infections
  • Pale skin
  • Pica( Craving non-nutritive substances such as dirt and chalk)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is advised that you see a doctor as soon as possible.  Your doctor will order tests to determine if you are iron deficient and investigate underlying causes.  If there is an underlying cause for your deficiency such as an iron-absorption problem, he or she will treat it accordingly.   Your doctor may also recommend taking supplements or adding foods that are rich in iron such as spinach to your diet.

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 Should You Go to The ER For High Blood Pressure?

Complications caused by hypertension (high blood pressure), is one of the most common reasons for emergency room visits.  Elevated blood pressure levels can cause substantial damage to our bodies and lead to conditions that can become life-threatening.

Knowing when to seek immediate emergency care can help you avoid delays in getting medical attention, and decrease your risk of developing severe complications caused by extremely high blood pressure.

According to the American Heart Association, when blood pressure levels increase severely and reach measurements of 180/110 or greater, you should seek immediate medical attention.

There are other warning signs coupled with high blood pressure that indicate you are having a hypertensive crisis and require emergency care. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe headaches accompanied by blurred vision and confusion
  • Seizures
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe anxiety

The cause of a severe spike in your blood pressure and these symptoms could be the result of missing your blood pressure medications, a stroke, a heart attack, kidney failure or an artery rupture.

A hypertensive crisis can lead to complications or damages to your body such as fluid in the lungs, memory loss, vision damage, and damage to vital organs.  This is why it is important that you go to your nearest hospital emergency room and receive the treatment needed to lower your blood pressure.  Damage to your organs will be assessed and your doctors will immediately address complications.

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.

Understanding Hormone Therapy For Breast Cancer

In order to better understand hormone therapy, it is important to differentiate it from hormone replacement therapy (HRT); as the two are sometimes confused.

HRT is a form of treatment used to alleviate symptoms that are associated with menopause; while hormone therapy is often recommended as a form of treatment for women with hormone receptor-positive (ER-positive and/or PR-positive) breast cancers.  HRT is used to increase estrogen levels, and hormone therapy is used for the opposite effect—to block or lower estrogen levels in the body.

In women diagnosed with hormone receptor-positive breast cancers or hormone-sensitive breast cancer, elevated levels of the hormone estrogen help cancer to grow. Hormone therapy can be administered by medication or by surgical interventions to either lower estrogen levels or to completely stop estrogen from stimulating and growing breast cancer cells.

Hormone therapy is mostly used after breast cancer surgery to help reduce the risk of cancer returning, decrease the risk of cancer developing in other breast tissue, stop or slow the growth of cancer that has spread.  There are some instances in which treatment may begin before surgery as neoadjuvant therapy.

As with all forms of medical treatments, there are side effects associated with hormone therapy.  Side effects depend on the course of treatment but are known to include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, mood swings, and depression and bone loss.

Treatments vary from person to person but there are guidelines set in place to ensure that all patients receive quality healthcare. Guidelines are based on research and agreement among experts. Updated guidelines and overviews can be found in resources provided by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

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.

May is National Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), the number of people living in the United States who suffer from allergies and asthma has doubled over the last 20 years.  Last year alone, there were over 2 million emergency room visits due to asthma and allergy attacks.

In an effort to bring attention to numbers that continue to grow and approach epidemic proportions; the White House has designated May as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. The month of May was chosen to raise awareness as it coincides with the peak season and a perilous time for allergy and asthma sufferers.

Education is the primary objective of Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.   It is hoped that by educating the public about both chronic health conditions, more action will be taken to prevent symptoms and improve the quality of life of those affected.

Prevention and awareness are the best defenses against asthma or allergy symptoms. The first step in preventing symptoms is becoming aware of your triggers, which can be achieved through testing.  Dr. Lisa Roth, Allergist and Immunologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, explains, “It is important that you speak to your doctor about receiving allergy tests. Testing can help to determine the cause of your symptoms. Often people purchase over the counter medications to treat symptoms but they may not be treating the correct cause for their discomfort.”  Once your triggers are identified you can learn how to lessen their effects and seek proper treatment.

Dr. Roth recommends the following tips to lessen your exposure to triggers and alleviate symptoms:

  • Monitor pollen and mold counts
  • Keep doors and windows shut in your home and car,
  • Take medications as prescribed by your doctor
  • Clean the air in your home with a HEPA filter
  • Wash your face and hair as soon as you get home
  • Wash linens and clothing frequently.

To learn more about Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s website http://www.aafa.org/page/asthma-and-allergy-awareness-month.aspx

To schedule appointment with an allergist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-6742.

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.

Burns

Burns are one of the most common injuries to occur in the home.  An estimated 250,000 children under the age of 17 are treated annually in hospitals and ERs for burn injuries.

There are three primary types of burns:

  • First-degree burns- damage is done only to the outer layer of the skin. These burns  can result in minor swelling, blisters or redness
  • Second-degree burns- damage is done to the outer layer and the layer underneath the skin. Skin may develop blisters or begin to thicken
  • Third-degree burns- damage is done to deeper tissue. Skin might appear charred, white or leathery in appearance

When treating minor burns that do not require emergency care such as first-degree burns, doctors recommend:

  • Holding the burned area under cool (not cold) running water or applying a cool compress. Do not apply ice as this can cause further damage
  • Taking over-the-counter-pain relievers
  • Applying an anesthetic lotion that contains aloe vera  to the affected area
  • Applying an antibiotic ointment
  • Bandaging the burn , with a sterile, non- adhesive, gauze bandage (not cotton balls as small fibers can adhere to the burn)

You should seek medical attention if:

  • There are signs of an infection
  • The burn blister is larger than three inches in diameter
  • Pain endures for several hours
  • The burn appears deep
  • The burn affects a widespread area such as the face, feet, hands, groin or buttocks

Burns in the home can be prevented when proper safety measures are practiced.  The National Fire Protection Association offers helpful tips to help keep you and your family safe. Please visit their website https://www.nfpa.org for more information.

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.

National Healthcare Decision Day

Today, Jamaica Hospital recognizes National Healthcare Decision Day.    On this day, our goal is to help members of our community understand the importance of planning end-of-life-care and providing advance directives.

Although planning end-of-life-care is difficult, it is necessary. Taking the time to prepare for this stage of life can help you and loved ones with making challenging decisions about your care that may arise in the future.

When planning your end-of-life care it is important to consider what your wishes are and how they should be carried out.

Advance directives are legal documents (which includes the creation of a living will and choosing a healthcare proxy) that allow you to spell out your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time. They give you a way to tell your wishes to family, friends, and health care professionals and to avoid confusion later on.

To receive further information about planning end-of-life care, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Palliative Care Division recommends utilizing comprehensive resources such as The Conversation Project.  The organization provides a starter kit, “a useful tool to help people have conversations with their family members or other loved ones about their wishes regarding end-of-life care.”  For more information, visit www.theconversationproject.org.

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.

Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is a common condition that many of us experience at some point in our lives. It is the feeling of nausea, dizziness or uneasiness that can develop during a bumpy or rocky ride. For some, this sensation may occur while traveling in a car, boat, train, plane or other modes of transportation.

Motion sickness also referred to as seasickness, carsickness or airsickness is caused when the brain receives mixed signals from our balance-sensing system which consists of our eyes, inner ear (semicircular canals) and sensory nerves.    Mixed signals are received by the brain because your eyes cannot see the motion your body is feeling, or conversely, your body cannot feel the motion your eyes are seeing. Motion sickness can start suddenly, typically with a feeling of uneasiness then progressing to other symptoms such as dizziness, a cold sweat, headaches or vomiting.

Children and pregnant women are most susceptible to motion sickness. However, anyone who is traveling can be at risk. Factors that can increase the chances for symptoms to appear include poor ventilation in a vehicle, the type of vehicle, fears or anxieties about traveling or the orientation in which a person is sitting or standing.

Treatment for motion sickness may include medication, home remedies or applying simple changes to your environment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends the following interventions for treatment or prevention:

  • Being aware of and avoiding situations that tend to trigger symptoms.
  • Optimizing position to reduce motion or motion perception—for example, driving a vehicle instead of riding in it, sitting in the front seat of a car or bus, sitting over the wing of an aircraft, holding the head firmly against the back of the seat, and choosing a window seat on flights and trains.
  • Reducing sensory input—lying prone, shutting eyes, sleeping, or looking at the horizon.
  • Maintaining hydration by drinking water, eating small meals frequently, and limiting alcoholic and caffeinated beverages.
  • Avoiding smoking—even short-term cessation reduces susceptibility to motion sickness.
  • Adding distractions—controlling breathing, listening to music, or using aromatherapy scents such as mint or lavender. Flavored lozenges may also help.
  • Using acupressure or magnets is advocated by some to prevent or treat nausea, although scientific data on efficacy of these interventions for preventing motion sickness are lacking.
  • Gradually exposing oneself to continuous or repeated motion sickness triggers. Most people, in time, notice a reduction in motion sickness symptoms.

Most cases of motion sickness are mild. Symptoms are typically self-treatable or go away when a person is no longer in motion.  However, medical professionals recommend that you see a doctor if you experience motion sickness repeatedly or if symptoms persist after your journey.

To schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, 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.

April is National Donate Life Month

organ donor 2017April is National Donate Life Month, a month dedicated to celebrating the lives of people saved by organ donation and the donors who made a difference. In 2016, over 33,000 lives in the United States were saved thanks to the men and women who decided to give the gift of life.

During National Donate Life Month, organizations such as LiveOnNY carry out missions or campaigns to educate communities about the importance of organ donation.  These initiatives are very important because they address many concerns people may have about becoming a donor, such as:

  • Religion- Most major religions such as Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and others are in support of organ donation.
  • Age – If you have been given approval by your doctor to be a donor, you are never too old. The oldest person in the U.S. on record to be a donor was 93 years old.
  • Health conditions- It is important that you do not rule yourself out as a donor due to medical conditions. Each case is different.
  • Premature death- The primary goal of doctors is to save your life. Donation is only considered when all efforts to save a patient’s life have failed.

Jamaica Hospital is encouraging people to help play a role in saving or improving lives by registering as organ donors.   Research shows that 90 percent of New Yorkers support organ donation but only about 30 percent are registered.  By registering, you can make a difference and help save up to eight lives.For more information please visit, http://www.liveonny.org/  or www.organdonor.gov

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Types and Stages Of Lung Cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) are the two major types of lung cancer. About 80 to 85% of diagnosed cases of the disease are attributed to NSCLC and the remaining 10 to 15% to SCLC.

Once diagnosed, a doctor will try to determine how much cancer has spread; this process is known as staging.  Different stages of the disease describe how much cancer is in the body and can help doctors to decide on suitable treatment options.

The staging system most commonly used for NSCLC is the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM system.  There are four stages which include:

Stage 1- Cancer is found only in the lungs and has not spread to lymph nodes.

Stage 2 – Cancer is found in the lungs and surrounding lymph nodes.

Stage 3- Cancer is found in the lungs, lymph nodes, and in the middle of the chest.

Stage 4- Cancer is found in the lungs, fluid in the area around the lungs, as well as other parts of the body and other organs.

The stages of SCLC are based on the results of biopsies, physical exams, imaging tests or any additional form of testing used to determine how far this type of cancer has advanced. Doctors typically use a two-stage system to help them to decide which form of treatment is best.  The stages of SCLC are:

Limited Stage- This is when cancer is found in only one side of the chest and in the lymph nodes above the collarbone – on the same side of the chest.

Extensive Stage- This describes when cancer has spread to lungs, the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.

Treatment for each type of lung cancer varies by stage.   Typical approaches for NSCLC may include surgery, radiation, immunotherapy or chemotherapy.  Radiation or chemotherapy are the most common types of treatment used for patients diagnosed with SCLC.

Smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products contribute greatly to the development of lung cancer. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of developing this deadly disease.

If you are ready to quit smoking, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center provides a free smoking cessation program. To learn about our Freedom From Smoking program please call, 718-206-8494 or visit www.JamaicaHospital.org.

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.