National School Backpack Awareness Day

As students begin a new school year, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is taking the opportunity to inform our community about backpack usage, potential medical issues that it can cause, and ways to prevent these issues for National School Backpack Awareness Day.

Most students use backpacks to carry the books and supplies they need for school each day, often hauling loads weighing as much as 20% of their body weight. When students frequently carry this kind of weight, the muscles and joints in their back, neck, and shoulders can become strained or injured due to continuous stress. This can also lead to posture problems, causing misalignment in the musculoskeletal system, interfering with proper joint movement and function, and wearing away the spine.

Your child’s choice of backpack can substantially help to avoid these problems. Look for a backpack that:

  • Fits your child properly
  • Features two wide, padded shoulder straps and a waist strap
  • Has a padded back
  • Is lightweight

These features are most helpful when utilized properly. All straps on a backpack should be tightened to keep the load as close to a student’s back as possible, reducing the stress it places on their muscles. Additionally, keep the heaviest items low and toward the center of the backpack, removing any items that aren’t necessary for the day. Lastly, be sure your child is lifting the weight of the backpack from their knees, not their back.

If your child is experiencing frequent or chronic back pain, you can schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center to diagnose and treat the problem by calling (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.

What Is Anemia?

Anemia is the most common blood condition in the United States and affects over two billion people globally. More women suffer from iron deficiency anemia than men. Anemia reduces the number of healthy red blood cells available to carry oxygen throughout your body, leaving you feeling tired and weak.

The symptoms of anemia can range from mild and temporary to chronic and severe, potentially causing life-threatening complications such as heart failure. Severe symptoms may be more likely for people over the age of 65.

The severity of anemia mainly depends on its cause, which can include factors such as:

  • Deficiency of iron, folate, or vitamin B-12
  • Acute or chronic inflammatory diseases
  • Radiation and chemotherapy
  • Infections and autoimmune diseases
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Bone marrow disease
  • Blood disease
  • Genetics

Not all forms of anemia are preventable, particularly if it’s inherited genetically or the result of a condition with unclear causes. Increasing your intake of foods rich in iron, folate, and vitamins B-12 and C can help prevent certain forms of anemia or manage anemic symptoms.

Additionally, you may be able to prevent anemia associated with other conditions by managing the risk factors of those conditions. This may include reducing your intake of alcohol or avoiding exposure to toxic substances as much as possible.

A hematologist can provide treatment to help relieve anemia symptoms through intravenous infusions, red blood cell transfusions, bone marrow transplants, erythropoietin injections, or surgery to stop internal bleeding that may cause the condition.

If you’re looking for a diagnosis or anemia treatment, you can schedule an appointment with a hematologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center by calling (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.

Head Lice Prevention Month

Since 1985, healthcare organizations have informed communities about head lice symptoms, diagnosis, and prevention for National Pediculosis Prevention Month, also known as Head Lice Prevention Month.

Although reliable data isn’t available on this condition, pediculosis (head lice infestation) is fairly common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately six to 12 million infestations affect children between the ages of three to 11 each year. Adults can also develop infestations through contact with both children and other adults.

Head lice typically spread through contact with the hair of an infested person, though it can also occur when people share clothes or lay on furniture after an infested person has recently used them. Lice typically remain on a person’s scalp; however, in rare instances, they may move to the eyelashes or eyebrows.

Signs of pediculosis include the feeling of something moving through the hair, itching, the development of sores on the scalp, and difficulty sleeping due to the increased activity of head lice in the dark. A diagnosis is generally made when live head lice are found on the scalp.

You can prevent the spread of head lice by teaching your child to avoid sharing clothes or supplies, using furniture recently used by an infested person, or coming into head-to-head contact with friends or classmates. It’s also helpful to encourage them to regularly comb their hair. You can keep yourself free of head lice by following these recommendations, as well.

If an infestation has already developed, lice removal kits are a non-chemical solution for combing lice out of an infested person’s hair. Several over-the-counter and prescription lice removal shampoos, creams, lotions, and drugs are also available.

If you or your child need a diagnosis or treatment for head lice, schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’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.

Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Over 100,000 Americans suffer from sickle cell disease. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Black and Hispanic-American babies are most often born with the disease. Additionally, one in every 13 Black babies is born with sickle cell trait (HbAS), which generally doesn’t cause symptoms of sickle cell disease, but may lead to health issues in response to physical stresses such as dehydration or strenuous physical exercise.

A person with sickle cell disease has abnormal hemoglobin, causing their red blood cells to become hard and sticky. These cells form into a shape resembling a sickle and have a short life cycle, leading to a constant shortage of red blood cells and symptoms that include pain, infections, strokes, and acute chest syndrome.

There are also several different forms of sickle cell disease. Common types include:

  • Sickle cell anemia (HbSS), which causes standard sickle cell disease symptoms as well as potential issues such as delayed puberty and vision problems
  • HbSC, a typically mild form of sickle cell disease
  • HbS beta thalassemia, in which a child inherits the genes for both sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia, another cause of abnormal hemoglobin

Rare forms of sickle cell disease include:

  • HbSD, in which a child inherits the sickle cell “S” gene and a “D” gene
  • HbSE, in which a child inherits the “S” and “E” genes
  • HbSO, in which a child inherits the “S” and “O” genes

Sickle cell disease can be diagnosed through a blood test shortly after a baby’s birth or through a sample of the amniotic fluid surrounding a baby in the womb. A blood test can also be used to diagnose an adult with sickle cell disease.

People with sickle cell disease can manage their symptoms by staying hydrated, regulating their body temperature, and avoiding spaces with low oxygen levels. Practicing good hand hygiene can also help.

If you need help managing symptoms of sickle cell disease or sickle cell trait, schedule an appointment with a hematologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Internal Medicine 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.

Meet Our Doctors: Dr. Elizabeth Fontana

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is proud to introduce the newest member of our medical team: Dr. Elizabeth Fontana, a neurosurgery specialist, and Trauma Liaison. Neurosurgery includes the surgical treatment of conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, or any other parts of the nervous system.

“Neurosurgery is a job that is interesting, different, rewarding, and challenging every single day,” said Dr. Fontana. “I am always learning from colleagues and patients. It is a privilege to be able to practice medicine in this field.” She also has a particular interest in brain tumors and the field of oncology in general.

As Trauma Liaison, Dr. Fontana works with Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma service, the busiest in New York City and one that consists of a team of highly-trained surgeons who provide life-saving treatment to critically-injured patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Dr. Fontana grew up in a small town west of Boston, where she attended public school before studying at Harvard. Later, she moved to New York City for medical school, completing both her studies and residency at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and spending a year in Seattle to complete her fellowship in tumor treatment.

Before joining Jamaica Hospital, Dr. Fontana worked for Northwell Health on Long Island but came to work here because she recognized it as an exciting opportunity to participate in the growth and development of our neurosurgical program.

“The neurosurgery department is relatively new, but has made really great strides in the past few years,” said Dr. Fontana. “The administration has been extremely supportive of this growth effort, and I felt like it was a place where I would really be able to contribute to the development of the neurosurgical program and provide valuable services to this community.”

You can schedule an appointment with a specialist at Jamaica Hospital’s Division of Neurosurgery for diagnosis and treatment by calling (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.

The Monkeypox Vaccine

Monkeypox cases have emerged across most of the United States. Symptoms of the virus include:

  • Fever
  • Aches and pains
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Respiratory symptoms

Most people with monkeypox also experience a rash that’s typically located near the genitals or anus. It may also be present on other parts of the body, including the face, hands, feet, and chest.

Two vaccines are now available that may effectively offer protection against monkeypox. JYNNEOS is the only vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for anyone at risk of contracting the virus. Another vaccine, ACAM2000, may also be used to prevent monkeypox under the Expanded Access Investigational New Drug system, but is not recommended for people with a weakened immune system, an exfoliative skin condition like eczema, or people who are pregnant.

Studies have shown side effects such as myocarditis, pericarditis, brain or spinal cord swelling, and infection in patients who received ACAM2000. These reactions have not been observed in patients who received JYNNEOS.

Your doctor can help you determine which vaccine is right for you, but vaccination in general, combined with practices like safe sex, maintaining distance from infected people and animals, and disinfecting your home when an infected person has been there, can help protect most people against the virus. Children in particular may benefit from vaccination, as their symptoms are likely to be worse than those of infected teens and adults.

You can make an appointment for monkeypox treatment and prevention at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s on-site Ambulatory Care Center by calling (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.

Three Essential Back to School Health Tips

Although your child may be exposed to several health risks as the new school year begins, you can help them stay healthy by following these tips:

Getting your child vaccinated: Ensuring that your child receives their recommended immunizations is a simple, effective way to keep them from getting sick. In fact, many schools require students to receive their immunizations in order to attend classes.

Hand-washing and sanitization: Hand-washing and sanitizing alone go a long way toward staying in school; according to the Centers for Disease Control, hand-washing can reduce the risk of respiratory illness by up to 21%. Following and promoting sanitary practices at home may make it easier for them to continue these practices while at school.

Creating a mentally healthy environment: Physical illness isn’t the only health risk your child may face in class. Stress, bullying, or even issues like undiagnosed ADD or ADHD can negatively impact their mental health and their ability to stay focused on their studies. Staying aware of the causes of mental health issues, creating a supportive environment at home, encouraging your child to maintain healthy routines, and helping them learn effective coping mechanisms can make it easier for them to maintain a healthy state of mind throughout the school year.

Visit Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center to get your child the medical help they need to stay engaged with their studies. You can also visit our Psychiatry Department for help addressing mental health challenges that arise before, during, or after the school year.

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 Immunization Awareness Month

A nurse administers immunizations to a young patient.August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and we’re here to help you learn more about what makes getting vaccinated so important, which immunizations you should receive, and what they protect you against.

Vaccinations against prevalent, dangerous diseases are an important part of protecting both your own health and the health of those around you. Issues like pneumococcal disease, hepatitis A and B, chickenpox, and more can introduce potentially lifelong complications that may reduce your quality of life or even shorten it. Immunization awareness is a critical part of combating these illnesses.

The benefits of vaccinations hold true at any age, though some immunizations are more important at certain ages than others.

Children whose immune systems are still developing, for instance, need them not only as a protective measure for themselves but often as a requirement for enrolling in school and participating in other activities. Adults over 60 years of age may need vaccines such as pneumococcal vaccines and seasonal flu vaccines to help protect their health.

Though the list of necessary immunizations evolves as new diseases are discovered and researched, the most common vaccinations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control include:

  • HepA, HepB (Hepatitis A and B)
  • DTaP (Diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough)
  • Hib (Haemophilus influenza type B)
  • IPV (Polio)
  • PCV (Pneumococcal)
  • RV (Rotavirus)
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • MMR (Measles, mumps, and rubella)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Meningococcal conjugate
  • HPV
  • Zoster

To speak with a doctor about appropriate vaccinations, please schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital by calling (718) 206-6000 or your primary care physician as soon as possible.

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.

Psoriasis Action Month

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease, meaning that your body’s immune system is attacking its own normal tissue.

Psoriasis particularly affects your skin, speeding up the growth cycle of cells. This most commonly presents in the form of a rash, or itchy, scaly patches on the knees, elbows, trunk, and scalp, among other parts of your body.

The rashes created by psoriasis may flare up in cycles of weeks or months. In people who are genetically pre-disposed to developing the disease, it may be triggered by infections, cuts, burns, or medications.

Psoriasis may also lead to psoriatic arthritis and psoriatic disease. Both of these may be treated with the use of prescription medications or using creams and ointments.

Treatments for psoriasis may include topical therapy, light therapy, and oral or injected medications.

If you’re suffering from symptoms associated with psoriasis or psoriatic disease, a dermatologist can provide an accurate diagnosis and create a treatment plan. If your symptoms potentially indicate psoriatic arthritis, a consultation with a rheumatologist may be recommended.

There is no cure for psoriasis, so the treatment plan you follow will focus on managing your symptoms and providing as much relief as possible.

The most effective way to take action against your psoriasis is to visit a medical professional and begin treatment as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Division of Dermatology by calling (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.

Gastroparesis Awareness Month

This month, we’re shedding light on a health condition you may be at risk of developing if you’ve been diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes. Gastroparesis (also referred to as “delayed gastric emptying”) is a disorder that disrupts the movement of food from your stomach to your small intestine.

Out of 100,000 people, about 10 men and 40 women may suffer from gastroparesis, adding up to about 5 million people throughout the United States. Although gastroparesis is rare, you may be more likely to develop it based on certain factors.

Diabetes, certain cancer treatments, and any surgery that may have injured your vagas nerve may contribute to an increased risk of developing this disorder. Out of these factors, diabetes is the most commonly-identified cause.

A few different symptoms may indicate signs of gastroparesis, including a feeling of fullness in your stomach before or after finishing a normal-sized meal, stomach pain or discomfort, or nausea.

The first doctor you may see when you start to present symptoms of gastroparesis is your primary care physician. This doctor may then refer you to a gastroenterologist if they believe those symptoms may indicate gastroparesis.

When diagnosing you with gastroparesis, a doctor conducts a physical exam, measures stomach emptying, and takes your medical history into consideration. These factors, in addition to your symptoms, complications, and most likely cause help determine the best course of treatment for you. If diabetes is determined to be the cause of your gastroparesis, your doctor will focus on helping you control your blood glucose levels.

You can also tackle your symptoms from a dietary angle by reducing fat and fiber intake, avoiding tough-to-chew foods as well as carbonated and alcoholic beverages, and increasing your intake of water and liquids containing glucose and electrolytes. Light physical activity after each meal can also be helpful for stimulating your digestive processes, relieving feelings of fullness and allowing you to process food more easily.

Are you suffering from symptoms that may be signs of gastroparesis? Schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center by calling (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.