The Benefits of Coconut Milk

There is always something new coming on the scene that is healthier for you than other choices.  Lately, the buzz is all about the benefit of Coconut Milk.

Coconut milk can be a tasty substitute for cow’s milk.  Coconut Milk is found in the white flesh of fully ripened brown coconuts.  Like, cream, coconut milk has a thick consistency and a rich texture.

Often times, people mistake coconut milk for coconut water.  These two liquids are very different.  In fact, coconut water comes from less ripened green coconuts.

Some health benefits of coconut milk are:

  • Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Builds muscle and helps reduce fat
  • Is rich in electrolytes and can prevent fatigue
  • Can assist in weight loss
  • Improves digestion
  • Relieves constipation

So, if you are looking for an alternative to cow’s milk, try coconut milk in your smoothie or cereal for a healthy change.

 

 

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 Introduces Robotic Pet Therapy to Provide Comfort to Patients

Being hospitalized can be a difficult situation for many. In addition to dealing with being sick or injured, patients struggle with feelings of depression, stress and loneliness. To help them cope with these emotions, Jamaica Hospital has recently implemented an innovative pilot program that is receiving very encouraging feedback.

Under the guidance of Dr. Sharon Wexler, PhD, RN, nurse researcher at Jamaica Hospital, a study is being conducted at the hospital to determine the benefits of robotic pets on hospitalized older adults (65 and older). These patients were selected because they are among the group most likely to demonstrate feelings of depression or loneliness during hospitalization.

According to the robotic pet program, patients receive a free, lifelike, battery-powered cat or dog with an audible heart beat to care for and play with. These pets interact with the patients by purring or barking, snuggling, turning their heads, opening and closing their eyes, wagging their tails, moving their paws, and showing their bellies. The pets, which come with a collar, identification tag, and grooming brush, cost approximately $100 and are single patient use only, so patients get to take them home with them once they are discharged.

Some may ask why use robotic pet therapy when actual pet therapy is available?  The answer is Jamaica Hospital, like many other hospitals across the country does recognize and utilize live pet therapy for our patients. While pet therapy has been widely proven to improve the spirits of patients and potentially improve clinical outcomes, there are some limitations to this service. Unfortunately, traditional pet therapy services are not available 24 hours a day. In addition, some patients may have a fear of animals or be allergic to them. By introducing robotic pet therapy in addition to traditional pet therapy as an intervention, Jamaica Hospital now offers our patients a technologically advanced and effective additional service to boost their outlook and recovery process.

Prior to using realistic looking robotic pets, the hospital had older patients care for an avatar virtual service animal by using a tablet computer. The results were extremely positive as these patients exhibited increased cognition levels and reported fewer feelings of loneliness and depression, making the decision to continue with the robotic pet service an easy one.

While robotic pet therapy has been utilized at many extended care facilities, Jamaica is the first hospital to explore the potential of this service in an acute care setting. The hospital has already enrolled dozens of patients into this program, which began only a couple of months ago, and early indications are very promising, with patients expressing very positive feedback about their experience.  The hospital looks forward to the continuation and expansion of this program in the future.

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 the Facts About the Measles

The measles virus has received a great deal of attention recently in New York City due to an infected tourist potentially exposing many residents in the five boroughs.

As the closest hospital to John F. Kennedy International Airport, where millions of foreign travelers fly in and out of each year and because we serve one the most ethnically diverse populations in the nation, Jamaica Hospital wants to provide our community with some very important information about the measles virus.

While vaccination programs have largely eliminated the measles in the United States, it is still common in other parts of the world with over 90,000 reported deaths attributed to the disease worldwide each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  In fact, most U.S. cases of the measles result from an unvaccinated international traveler exposing U.S. residents to the virus.

The measles virus is highly contagious and is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs.  Fever is typically the first symptom, followed by cough, runny nose and red eyes. Soon after, those infected will develop a rash of tiny red spots. The rash starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Symptoms usually present ten to 14 days after exposure. Those with the disease can develop even more serious complications, and it is especially dangerous for young children.

The best way to prevent becoming infected is to get the MMR vaccine, which prevents against measles, mumps and rubella. The CDC recommends children receive two doses, the first between 12 to 15 months of age, and the second at four to six years old. Teens and adults should also be up-to-date with their MMR vaccination.

The MMR vaccine is safe and highly effective. The recommended two doses have proven to be 97% effective in preventing the measles virus.  While the MMR vaccine is recommended for everyone, it is especially important for those individuals who travel internationally or are exposed to travelers from foreign countries .

If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with the measles, seek medical attention immediately, but call your doctor or local hospital before arrival to prevent infecting others.

To learn more about the MMR vaccine, or to schedule an appointment to become vaccinated at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care 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.

Winter Cold or Allergy?

The winter months can be challenging to your health. The drop in temperatures often results in symptoms that could be either a winter cold or allergies.

While many of the symptoms of colds and allergies are similar, the causes of each are very different.

Colds are contagious and they are contracted when a person is exposed to an individual infected with a cold virus.  Our body’s immune system will launch a counter attack against the virus. This response usually brings on the classic symptoms, such as a runny nose or cough.

An allergic reaction is caused by an overactive immune system that mistakes harmless things, such as mold or dust mites and attacks them. To combat what it thinks are germs, your body releases chemicals called histamines as a defense. The release of these histamines can cause a swelling of the nasal passages and result in coughing and sneezing. While many of the symptoms are similar, the easiest way to determine if you have a cold or are suffering from allergies is the duration of your condition. While most colds last from three to 14 days, allergies can last for months as long as the person is in contact with the allergen. Other differences are:

  • An allergic reaction will begin immediately after exposure to an allergen while cold symptoms usually take approximately three days to appear after exposure
  • A cold virus can sometimes cause fever and body aches while allergies never do
  • An allergic reaction can often result in itchy, watery eyes, which a cold rarely produces this type of reaction
  • Allergies are not contagious.

Once a determination between cold or allergy is made, the appropriate treatment can be applied.

There is no cure for a cold, but there are medications that can help alleviate the symptoms. Cough syrups, pain relievers, decongestant sprays, or multi-symptom cold relief medicines can all be used to help, but should only be taken after consulting your doctor, especially if you are taking other medications or if you have other underlying health conditions. Drinking plenty of liquids also speeds up the recovery process.

To treat allergies, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter antihistamine to block the reaction to the allergens. There are many forms of antihistamines and some may cause drowsiness so be sure to look for the non-drowsy formula or only take them at night. Decongestants may also be suggested to relieve nasal congestion and avoid an infection.

If you are not sure if you have a cold or allergies, please speak with your doctor. If you do not have a doctor, Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center can help. 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.

How Do You Know When It’s Safe to Go Back to Work After the Flu?

Doctors often recommend staying home when you have the flu. Going to work when you are symptomatic puts others at risk for contracting the virus and getting sick.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.”

Knowing when to return to work and applying preventative measures to avoid the spread of the virus can reduce the risk of getting others ill. Most health care practitioners agree that you should stay home for a long as you have severe symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, and cough with mucus or vomiting. Some doctors may advise that you do not return to work for five days after the onset of symptoms and 24 hours after your fever has cleared. Advice may vary by provider.

It is important to keep in mind that even when you begin to feel better, you may still be contagious for several days. The CDC advises, “Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.” During this time, take the following actions to prevent the spread of the flu:

  • Sanitize your hands
  • Cover your  nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing
  • Limit your contact with others
  • Do not share utensils or sanitize before sharing
  • Frequently disinfect areas that may be contaminated

This year, we are experiencing a rather severe flu season. Anyone who suspects they have the virus should seek treatment from their doctor as soon as possible and take the necessary steps needed to avoid infecting others.

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.

To Juice or Not to Juice? That is the Question.

Juicing or juice cleanses are growing in popularity as more people are using this practice as a way to lose weight or improve their health.  Juice bars are becoming a common fixture in shopping malls as the demand for freshly-made and all-natural juices increase.  There are a few advantages that can be achieved by juicing.

Some advantages of juicing include:

  • Juicing may be an easier way for some to obtain the daily fruits and vegetables that are essential in maintaining a healthy diet. Many people find it more convenient and less time consuming to drink fruits and vegetables instead of eating them.
  • Juicing can help in promoting weight loss- if it is done correctly and the body is not deprived of vital nutrients and fibers.

There also disadvantages associated with all-juice diets. The disadvantages that are associated with all-juice diets include:

  • An all-juice diet for a prolonged period of time is not recommended as studies have shown that LDL cholesterol levels may increase. Depriving the body of whole foods that are rich in nutrients could also weaken its ability to fight infections and function properly.
  • Juicing can prove dangerous for individuals with chronic health conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease. High levels of fructose, which is the sugar found in fruits can elevate blood sugar levels.  Excessive juicing can cause high levels of potassium and minerals to build up in the blood- this can become hazardous if one has kidney disease.
  • Juicing may not be the healthiest or most effective way to lose weight as your body may think it is starving and lower its metabolic rate. If your body is being deprived of the daily recommended caloric intake it could begin to burn muscle tissue instead of fat to provide energy, causing the loss of muscle mass.

If you choose to juice, consult your physician, especially if you have chronic health conditions and juice in moderation. Juicing can be beneficial if it is done properly and is supplemented with nutrient-rich whole foods. It is recommended that a glass of juice can be used to substitute one meal for example breakfast or lunch for the day. Most healthcare practitioners caution that juicing should not surpass the duration of a few days.

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.

Follow These Tips to Avoid Getting the Flu at Your Super Bowl Party

The Super Bowl is this weekend and so many Americans look forward to celebrating this national event by watching the game with their friends and family. With flu season at its peak throughout the U.S, attending a gathering to watch the big game can be risky if you are not careful. Whether you are the host or a guest at a party this weekend, be sure to follow these tips to minimize catching the flu or any other virus this Sunday.

  • Avoid others if you are sick – The best way to avoid contracting or spreading the flu is to avoid others if you are feeling symptoms. If you are invited to a party but you or someone in your house is not feeling well, stay home. If you are hosting and experiencing flu-like symptoms, cancel the party.
  • Practice appropriate hygiene – If you are at a party and suddenly develop symptoms, make sure you cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze. Avoid using your hands when covering up. Instead use your upper sleeve. Also discard all tissues immediately after using them.
  • Exercise proper hand hygiene – Super Bowl parties offer many opportunities for you to shake hands or exchange high-fives with other party- goers. Expressing excitement is great, but when doing so, be sure to wash your hands frequently to avoid spreading germs. If you are hosting, it might be a good idea to have plenty of hand sanitizers available.
  • Be smart about how food and drinks are served – Most big game celebrations are sure to offer two things; plenty of food and drink. Be smart about how they are served by ensuring that there are appropriate utensils at the party, such as tongs to grab wings and scoopers to avoid hands in the chip bowls. Additionally, avoid sharing beverages. One idea to avoid mistakenly grabbing the wrong drink is to mark all plastic cups with the names of your guests with a magic marker.

By following these tips, you can enjoy all the fun that Super Bowl Sunday brings and reduce your chances of suffering with a cold or flu immediately after.

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.

I Need a Nap

An office protocol, that normally would have been grounds for termination, is now being considered for its many benefits. Several companies are now acknowledging the health benefits of a short nap during the workday, which include increased alertness, enhanced brainpower, and fewer sick days.
It is recommended that adults sleep for at least eight hours every night, however, research has shown that most individuals suffer from broken sleep and fail to get a good night’s rest. For these individuals, a short nap can help. A quick 15 to 20 minute power nap can provide the boost needed to effectively complete your workday.

There are several progressive companies, such as British Airways, Nike, Pizza Hut and Google, who are now seeking to reap these benefits. These companies have created designated nap rooms or “renewal rooms” for their employees, allowed their employees to bring a nap mat for the office, or simply encouraged their employees to sleep at their desk.

Some employers are now encouraging napping for the wellness of their employees. People who take daily 30-minute naps are 37 percent less likely to die from heart disease than those who don’t nap, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2007. Naps can also boost the immune system—theoretically leading to fewer sick days—and propel employees into their most alert, energetic, and creative states, say nap advocates. Believers in this protocol feel that a well-rested employee is a pleasant employee, noting that if you’re sleep deprived, you’re going to be moody.

Napping Further Explained
Naps can be broken down into four categories:

  • Planned napping, also known as preemptive napping, involves taking a nap before you get sleepy. It is a good thing to do if you know you’re going to have a late night.
  • Emergency napping is exactly as it sounds— taking a nap when you’re so sleepy that you can’t properly engage in your current activity.
  • Habitual napping is the practice of taking a nap at the same time every day.
  • Appetitive napping is the act of napping strictly for enjoyment.

As noted, napping increases alertness, learning capacity, memory and performance— and we have known this now for several decades. Naps can also reduce stress, as well as lower blood pressure, which is important for our overall health. So, with the research and results on “power napping,” it is safe to say that a well-rested employee is a more productive employee.

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.

Is Your New Years Resolution to #StressLess ?

For many, each New Year their resolution is to lessen the stress that seems to have become a way of life.

There is a reason we all strive to lessen the stress in our daily lives. When you are stressed the body releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline- which causes the fight or flight reaction. This can speed up the normal function of several organs, including the heart.  The fight or flight reaction is appropriate when we face immediate threats but can be damaging if prolonged; as our bodies are only designed to deal with the effects of stress for short intervals.

Extended periods of stress can take its toll on our health in many ways. Long-term stress is known to negatively affect several systems of the body, including:

  • The Nervous System– High levels of cortisol and adrenaline can impair the nervous system, which regulates heart rates, the excretion of waste, breathing rates and the dilation and constriction of blood vessels.
  • The Immune System– Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, which increases the risk of infections, infectious diseases, skin problems such as eczema and can slow down wound healing rates.
  • The Digestive System– Excessive levels of stress can stimulate the muscles of the intestines and cause diarrhea or constipation. It can also lead to indigestion or nausea and increase the risk of ulcers or irritable bowel syndrome.
  • The Endocrine System– Stress hormones can cause the liver to increase blood sugar levels. This is particularly dangerous for diabetics.

Some helpful techniques that can assist you in managing your daily stress are:

  • Meditation – is helpful to the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress
  • Breathing Deeply – triggers our parasympathetic nervous system, neutralizes stress and elicits a calming feeling
  • Exercise – all forms of exercise can ease depression and anxiety by helping the brain releasing feel-good chemicals giving your body a chance to practice dealing with stress
  • Eating Healthy – choosing a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and fiber may reduce the chance that stress can boost the body’s natural defense system

It is important to reduce excessive and prolonged periods of stress. A healthy lifestyle that helps manage stress often requires changing your mindset. But, if you are willing to make the changes that will improve your health, the impact can be far-reaching.

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.

Vitamin D Deficiency in Winter

It is very important for our bodies to have a sufficient amount of vitamin D all year long, especially during the winter months.

The body uses vitamin D to help it absorb calcium from the foods that we eat while they are in the gastrointestinal tract. Calcium is essential for maintaining bone strength, fortifying our immune system, keeping the heart healthy, preventing strokes, preventing depression and may help with the aging process.

A great source of natural vitamin D comes from the ultraviolet B rays found in sunshine, and the more daylight we are exposed to, the more vitamin D our skin will be able to synthesize. However, during the winter months getting enough is difficult. We spend more time indoors and even when we are outdoors, we tend to wear heavier clothing which blocks the sun from hitting the skin. The best time of day to be outdoors is midday when the sun is usually the strongest. During the summer months, 10 – 15 minutes every day is usually sufficient, but during the winter months, you may require 30 minutes or more to get the adequate amount of sunlight and your daily dose of vitamin D.

Here are other sources of vitamin D that can be helpful during the year and especially during the winter:

  • Eating beef liver, pork, egg yolks and cheese
  • The skin of fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon
  • Drinking milk that is fortified with vitamin D
  • Taking a vitamin D3 supplement

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital to discuss your health this winter, please call 718-206-7001

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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.