Butter on Burns? Does it Really Work?

You may want to think twice about putting butter on your burn. Although, it’s a popular folk remedy you’ve probably heard countless times before, there’s no evidence that it works. In fact, putting butter on your burn can cause an infection and prolong the healing process.

Butter does not have any of the properties needed to treat a minor burn— it’s not a cleanser (antiseptic), it doesn’t fight infection (antibiotic), nor does it provide pain relief (analgesic).

To effectively treat a minor burn, physicians recommend that you cool the burn by running it under cool water until the pain subsides or placing a cool cloth over the burn. Do not use ice, however. Next, clean the burn with soap and water, making sure you don’t break any blisters. After it’s clean, put a thin layer of ointment on it, such as petroleum or aloe vera, and lastly, cover it with a gauze bandage. If needed, take an over-the-counter- pain reliever.

If you want to use a household item out of the pantry for your burn—try honey instead. Research has shown that honey has several healing properties.

If your burn, however, is from a fire, electrical wire, or chemicals, or larger than two inches, you should seek medical attention.

 

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.

Household Pests: An Avoidable Asthma Trigger

Those annoying little insects and rodents commonly found in crowded inner-cities do more than just disgust people. They also trigger asthma.

According to the American Lung Association, pests, such as rats, mice, and cockroaches, produce allergens that aggravate asthma by inflaming the airway of the lungs and causing them to tighten. It is also being determined if allergens can actually cause asthma to develop in preschool aged children.

Pests produce allergens when they shed skin, leave behind waste products, or die. These pest-related asthma triggers, as well as the pesticides used to eliminate them, can worsen asthma. When possible, pesticides should be avoided.

“Asthma affects almost 20 million Americans and is one of the most chronic childhood diseases,” said Dr. Alan Roth, Chairman of Family Medicine at Jamaica Hospital. “It accounts for countless work and school absences, as well as frequent emergency visits and hospitalizations. In crowded urban areas, such as New York City, the environment can play a role in the onset of symptoms.”
Instead, Dr. Roth suggests individuals take the following precautions to safeguard their homes:

  • Keep food sealed and stored properly
  • Clean kitchen floors and counters daily
  • Seal cracks and holes in homes
  • Keep basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry

“If you’re aware of what triggers your asthma, you can take steps to avoid them, which can ultimately help prevent an asthma attack,” said Dr. Roth.

If you suffer from asthma and would like to schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-206-6942.

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 Pain? You May Have a Herniated Disc

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, between 60% and 80% of people in the United States will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. Herniated discs are considered the cause in a high percentage of all sufferers.

The spinal column is made up of 26 bones, called vertebrae. In between the vertebrae are soft discs that cushion them. A herniated disc occurs when one of these discs rupture and begin to irritate nearby nerves. This can cause a person to experience arm or leg pain, numbness or tingling, and/or muscle weakness.

“Herniated discs commonly occur in the lower back, and often in the neck as well. In both instances, a herniated disc can be very painful,” explained Dr. Nader Paksima, Chairman of the Division of Orthopedic Surgery at Jamaica Hospital.

Dr. Paksima, adds: “With inflamed spinal nerves and intense pressure on these nerves, the pain experienced by someone with a herniated disc can be debilitating and lead to further problems.”

There are several risk factors that can increase the likelihood of suffering from a herniated disc. In addition to gradual wear and tear, the following risk factors can also cause a herniated disc:

  • being male
  • improper lifting
  • being overweight
  • repetitive activities that strain your spine
  • frequent driving
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • smoking

Being aware of these risk factors is extremely important as people can have a herniated disc, in the neck or back, without knowing it. Sometimes, spinal images show a herniated disc although the person has no symptoms.

Physicians can diagnose a herniated disc with either a physical exam or imaging tests. Most people usually recover with rest, pain and anti-inflammatory medicines, and physical therapy. In some cases, herniated discs are treated with surgery.

If you’re experiencing neck or back pain that travels down your arm or leg, or is accompanied by numbness, tingling or weakness, you should seek medical help. To schedule an appointment with one of Jamaica Hospital’s orthopedic surgeons, please call 718-206-6923.

 

 

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.

Skin Complications When You Have Diabetes

Believe it or not, skin complications are sometimes the first sign that you may have diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), people with diabetes develop skin diseases much more easily than those without the condition, making them more susceptible to general skin conditions such as bacterial infections, fungal infections, and localized itching. More specifically, styes, boils, jock itch, athlete’s foot, and ringworm.

“When you have too much sugar in the blood for a long time it can cause several complications, including those of the skin,” said Dr. Richard Pinsker, Endocrinologist at Jamaica Hospital. “Your body loses fluid which causes your skin to become dry. Additionally, nerve damage decreases the amount you sweat, which usually helps keep the skin moist. Dry skin can then crack and peel, allowing germs to enter the body to cause an infection.”

Dr. Pinsker added, “a reduced blood supply to the skin and a resistance to insulin can also lead to skin complications.”

There are several skin conditions that mostly affect or only affect people with diabetes, such as diabetic dermopathy and diabetic blisters. Some of these conditions are painful, while others are found to be embarrassing.

Fortunately, most of these conditions can be prevented or easily treated, if caught early. To reduce the risk of developing skin-related complications of diabetes, it is recommended that individuals keep their glucose levels in a safe range by eating healthy, exercising and taking their medication. It is also important that proper skin care is practiced. Individuals with diabetes should consider the following tips for good skin care:

  • Keep skin clean and moisturized.
  • Avoid very hot baths and showers, and use moisturizing soap and mild shampoos.
  • Treat cuts right away. Wash minor cuts with soap and water.
  • During cold, dry months, keep your home more humid. Bathe less during this weather, if possible.

If not cared for properly, these conditions, in a person with diabetes, can turn into a serious problem with potentially severe consequences. If you have diabetes and have noticed changes to your skin, please call 718-206-6742 to schedule an appointment with an endocrinologist or dermatologist.

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 Your BMI

When discussing weight, the term BMI is often used. Although we hear these letters quite frequently, do we really know what they mean?

BMI Defined
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. It applies to both  adult men and women and is broken up into the following four categories:

  • Underweight:              < 18.5
  • Normal weight:           18.5 – 24.9
  • Overweight:                25 – 29.9
  • Obese:                       30 or greater

Why is BMI Important?

BMI is an estimate of body fat and can be used to determine one’s risk for weight-associated diseases. Adults with a BMI of 25 or greater are typically at risk for developing conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers.

It is recommended that adults who are obese or overweight lose weight, especially if they have a family history of heart disease, smoke cigarettes, are sedentary, or have high blood pressure. Simply losing between five and 10 percent of your current weight can help lower your risk of developing diseases associated with obesity.

If you are concerned about your weight and would like to know your BMI click here or download a BMI calculator app for your phone. If you would like to consult with a physician to discuss your BMI and other risk factors for weight-related diseases, call Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment.

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.

Obesity: Lifestyle or Genetics?

“How does she eat so much and not gain any weight?”

It’s a question that has left many puzzled and quite frustrated. The conversation about weight, however, is a longstanding one. Today, especially, weight gain and weight loss remain relevant discussions, as the United States faces an obesity epidemic.

Though several health initiatives to help fight obesity have been implemented over the past few years, it is important to first understand what factors contribute to obesity. According to a National Institutes of Health funded study conducted by UCLA, not only does behavior and environment affect obesity, but genetic factors can also play a significant role in causing obesity.

How our genes actually influence obesity varies. As explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), genes give the body instruction for responding to changes in its environment. Some research has linked genes to metabolism, pointing out that genetics affects how one’s body responds to high-fat diets. Genes can either cause an increased tendency to store fat or a diminished capacity to use dietary fats as fuel. Other research has suggested that genes influence behaviors, such as overeating and being sedentary.

The conversation about obesity can now change since research has shown that body weight is hereditary and that genetic disposition affects weight. In all efforts to fight obesity, living environments where high calorie foods are prevalent and physical activity is limited should be looked at more closely.

We understand that the road to healthier choices isn’t easy to travel, especially alone. Here at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center our outpatient registered Dietitians assist patients to grow their knowledge about nutrition, wellness and healthy eating. To schedule an appointment the outpatient nutrition services department can be reached directly at 718-206-7056.

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 Safe is Hookah Smoking?

Hookah smoking is a growing trend among teens and young adults. Though the practice of smoking specially-made tobacco from water pipes is believed by many to be a safe alternative to cigarette smoking, medical research has shown otherwise.

When one smokes hookah, tobacco is heated by charcoal in a smoke chamber. The smoke then passes through water and is drawn through a rubber hose to a mouthpiece. Hookah smoking typically takes place in a group setting and generally last about an hour.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “hookah smoking delivers the addictive drug nicotine, is as toxic as cigarette smoking, and poses several health risks.” In a typical hookah session, smokers take approximately 200 puffs, compared to cigarette smokers who average 20 puffs a session. Additionally, the volume of smoke inhaled during a hookah session is much higher than the smoke inhaled while smoking a cigarette, 90,000 milliliters compared to 600 milliliters.

It is also believed that the charcoal used to heat the tobacco increases toxicity levels of various compounds, including carbon monoxide and heavy metals. Therefore, hookah smoking is linked to lung and oral cancer, as well as reduced lung function. These are the same harmful health effects as cigarettes.  Since hookah smoking involves using, and often sharing a mouthpiece, there is also the risk of developing and spreading infectious diseases, such as herpes, influenza, and hepatitis.

Although research on hookah smoking is still developing, there is enough evidence that suggest it is just as dangerous as cigarette smoking, if not worse. Hookah smoking and its use of flavored tobacco is marketed to young adults but it’s important to understand there is no such thing as smoking hookah safely.

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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.

The Harmful Truth about High Heels

High heels can make you look long and lean, and can definitely add some glitz to your outfit—but unfortunately, that’s not all they’re doing. According to podiatrists at Jamaica Hospital, high heels, shoes with at least a two inch heel, can also lead to several medical problems.

“Prolonged wearing of high heels can lead to foot pain, ingrown toe nails, bunions, nerve damage, or damage to leg tendons,” explained Dr. Nicholas Camarinos, Chief of Podiatric Medicine at Jamaica Hospital. “Additionally, lower back pain, osteoarthritis of the knee, and overworking an injured leg muscle can also result from wearing high heels over time.”

These problems are likely to develop because the feet are forced into an unnatural position when they are in high heels, therefore placing increased weight on the toes. The incorrect redistribution of weight causes the body to lean forward and puts a strain on the back, knees, and hips. In addition, the change in posture also puts pressure on the nerves which can trigger numbness and pain throughout the entire body.

The conditions that result from wearing high heels don’t develop immediately. They occur from frequent high heel wear. Dr. Camarinos understands that it’s hard to discourage women from entirely eliminating heels from their wardrobe. Instead, he offers the following recommendations:

  • wear a sensible heel height or consider a wedged shoe
  • use insoles to help reduce the impact to your knees
  • wear the correct size shoe
  • wear heels on days you expect limited walking or standing
  • alternate shoes throughout the day or from day to day
  • stretch your calf muscles and feet a few times a day

“Ultimately, our advice isn’t to forbid women from wearing heels. Wearing heels are fine, as long as they aren’t worn all the time and for everything,” explained Dr. Camarinos. “Moderation is key.”

If you frequently wear high heels, are experiencing foot pain, and would like to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist, please contact Jamaica Hospital’s Division of Podiatry at 718-206-6712.

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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.

The Power of Power Naps

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.

The Dangers of Energy Drinks

Whether they are used for a midday boost, as an all-night study aid, to enhance athletic performance, or for recreational consumption with alcohol, energy drinks or energy “shots” are used by a variety of people, for many different reasons, but concerns about their potential risks are now being raised.

Hospitals across the United States are reporting increased numbers of Emergency Room visits linked to the consumption of energy drinks. In 2009, over 113,000 people were taken to the E.R. due to complications from energy drinks, ten times the number reported in 2005, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

According to Dr. Geoffrey Doughlin, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Jamaica Hospital, “one of the biggest potential risks associated with drinking these products is the effect on the heart. Containing over 35 mg of caffeine per ounce, energy drinks can possess nearly three times the caffeine as a cup of coffee. The consequences of ingesting such large amounts of caffeine include elevated blood pressure and accelerated heart rate.” In addition, energy drinks are loaded with sugar and taurine, an amino acid also know to boost heart rate.

Even though most agree that consuming energy drinks does not elevate blood pressure and heart rate enough to pose a threat to healthy individuals if taken in moderation, medical professionals do urge those with an existing heart disease to avoid energy drinks. People with hypertension or a heart arrhythmia have also been warned to stay away from these beverages.

It is also recommended that individuals do not combine energy drinks with  alcohol.  By mixing caffeine (a stimulant) with alcohol (a depressant) individuals have a difficult time gauging their level of impairment. Believing the caffeine has sobered them up, those who mix alcohol and energy drinks experience “wide awake impairment,” a feeling of increased alertness.

The marketing of energy drinks has sparked some controversy. They have been promoted to provide a quick boost of energy and many athletes have taken them to increase performance. Dr. Doughlin adds “The problem with this idea is, exercise already increases heart rate and blood pressure. Adding a boost of caffeine only puts unnecessary strain on the heart.  In addition, caffeine is a known diuretic, causing athletes to lose water when they should be trying to stay hydrated”.

What many do not realize is that energy drinks are considered dietary supplements, and therefore, are not regulated by the FDA in the same manner as soda or other drinks that contain caffeine. In fact, the manufacturers of these products often do not disclose the amount of caffeine they contain. Many lawmakers are now calling for increased regulations for the energy drink industry, including improved labeling disclosures.

Dr. Doughlin provides this tip for those who are looking for an alternative to energy drinks, “If you eat healthy, exercise daily and sleep between seven and eight hours every night, you will naturally have more energy.”

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.