Antibody Testing

Antibody testing has become a popular topic during the COVID-19 pandemic.  There have been ongoing discussions as to whether or not this form of testing can provide answers to some questions we have about the disease.

Common questions asked about COVID-19 antibody testing include: “Can antibodies help detect past infections?” and “Does having antibodies reduce our risk of infection?”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the presence of antibodies (proteins produced by our body’s immune system to fight antigens such as viruses) can help to determine if you had a past infection of the virus that causes COVID-19.

A blood test, known as a serology test, is required to detect disease-specific antibodies.  Testing is typically recommended for individuals who have fully recovered from COVID-19 or those who suspect they had or were exposed to the virus but were asymptomatic.

Positive or negative results could mean several things for your health:

  • A positive antibody test result indicates that you may have had a COVID-19 infection in the past. However, results can also be false-positive, meaning you have developed antibodies but for a different kind of coronavirus such as the one that causes the common cold. It is very important to remember that a positive test does not guarantee immunity from the disease; so there is a possibility that you can become re-infected. Therefore you should continue to exercise the proper safety precautions to protect yourself and others around you.
  • If you test negative, this may mean that you have not had a prior COVID-19 infection. But it can also mean that you may currently have the virus and have not yet produced antibodies (If you have symptoms of the disease or believe you have been exposed, you can take a viral test to learn if you have the virus.)  For those who have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 but tested negative, please keep in mind that it may take 1-3 weeks after infection to develop antibodies.

Although antibody testing is providing some answers about COVID-19, there is still a degree of uncertainty about the accuracy of the information we are obtaining.  COVID-19 is a novel disease, and ongoing studies are revealing new details about it each day.  Until we are more certain in our knowledge of the disease, the CDC recommends that we continue to practice social distancing and other safety measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

To learn more antibody testing please consult your physician or visit the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/serology-overview.html

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 Importance of Monitoring Chronic Illnesses During the COVID-19 Crisis

Many health care facilities have seen a decrease in people seeking care for chronic conditions due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This can be attributed to fears of being exposed to the virus in public places or the temporary suspension of certain services offered by healthcare providers.

Although the outbreak has caused alterations in the way we live, one thing that should remain unchanged for those living with chronic illnesses is monitoring their health. It is important that they pay attention to symptoms that warn of serious health problems, because ignoring them may put their lives at risk.

Symptoms of chronic illnesses that should not be ignored include:

  • Chest pain, pressure in your chest, shortness of breath or other heart attack symptoms
  • Sudden numbness, weakness, confusion, loss of vision or other stroke symptoms
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heavy bleeding
  • High fever
  • Spikes in blood sugar (Diabetes)
  • Nausea

If these symptoms are persistent, please contact a physician for a medical consultation or seek emergency treatment. Medical facilities are well equipped to safely treat non-COVID-19 patients and many doctors are offering telehealth appointments. Some hospitals are also reopening their outpatient locations. 

In addition to monitoring symptoms, it is important to maintain healthy habits. This can be achieved by keeping routine appointments (virtually or in person), taking prescribed medications, exercising, and eating a well-balanced diet.  

If you have a non-COVID-19 related chronic medical condition or symptoms and would like to see a doctor, please contact Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’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.

Tips On How To Prepare for a Telemedicine Appointment

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we conduct our day-to-day routines.  To prevent the spread of the disease, most of our activities are now done from home. In some instances, this includes seeing our doctors for medical appointments.

Telehealth or telemedicine appointments have become the norm for many who require consultations from their physicians during the pandemic.  These appointments connect patients and doctors by utilizing video conferencing technology.  Although these virtual visits may not take place physically in a doctor’s office, they are private.  Information and conversations shared between participants remain confidential. Many of Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s doctors are now accepting appointments for virtual visits.

To prepare for your telemedicine appointment at Jamaica Hospital, please follow these helpful tips:

  • Sign up for Medisys MyChart. (This is preferred, however, if you do not have MyChart, we can still schedule a virtual visit through Zoom directly through zoom.us/join). 
  • Have access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer with a camera enabled with visual and audio.
  • Download the Zoom video communications application.
  • Test your equipment before your scheduled virtual visit.
  • Close other running programs or unnecessary tabs to avoid delays or pauses in your connection.
  • Find a quiet space.
  • Adjust the lighting in your space. Utilize overhead lights if they are available and block sunlight from windows. ( This will prevent you from having too much background light)
  • Prepare to answer questions pertaining to your medical history, symptoms, lifestyle changes, or any aspect of your health.
  • Have a pen and paper ready to write down your doctor’s recommendations or information about your treatment plan.

It is important to note that while most virtual visits are like normal appointments, there may be limitations based on your condition.  Please contact your doctor’s office if you have questions about scheduling a virtual visit.

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 Discharges New Mom After Battle With COVID-19

Jamaica Hospital’s doctors, nurses and other frontline staff have provided life-saving care to thousands of patients with the coronavirus since the onset of the outbreak. As a team, they have overcome several obstacles but when they were confronted with saving the life of a pregnant woman and her unborn child, the challenge became that much greater.


On March 24, Mrs. Tasnim Shaheen was 24 weeks pregnant with her third child when she was taken to the Queens-based hospital, located at the epicenter of the global pandemic with flu-like symptoms. She was initially admitted to the hospital’s labor unit for coronavirus, but within two days, her symptoms intensified and she was transferred to the intensive care unit and placed on a ventilator.


The ICU team closely monitored her condition over the next few weeks but became increasingly concerned as Mrs. Shaheen developed acute kidney injuries as well as pneumonia. The doctors determined that it was in the best interest of the patient and her unborn child if they performed a C-section. “At this point, Mrs. Shaheen was 28 weeks pregnant and we felt as if the baby had a good chance of survival if we delivered,” stated Dr. Kavitha Ram, Director of Obstetrics at Jamaica Hospital. “In addition, we felt that removing the fetus would give Mrs. Shaneen a better opportunity to resolve her kidney issues as well as her pneumonia.”

After consulting with the patient’s husband, the decision was made to perform the surgery on April 22nd. The patient was taken directly from the intensive care unit to the operating room where Dr. Ram and her team delivered a 940 gram (approximately 2 lb.) baby girl, the couple’s first daughter. According to Dr. Ram, “The baby came out kicking and screaming and was very healthy.” The baby was immediately taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and mom returned to intensive care.

Soon after the delivery, Mrs. Shaheen began showing signs of improvement. Within two days her kidneys began to recover, within three days she was taken off of the ventilator and after five days she was moved out of intensive care and back to the labor unit.

One of the factors that Dr. Ram attributes to Mrs. Shaheen’s recovery was the hospital’s ability to connect her to her family despite not being able to see them due to visitation restrictions. “Throughout the entire admission, our Palliative Care team did an excellent job of communicating with the patient’s family through video conferencing. Mr. Shaheen had daily contact with his wife even when she was on a ventilator, which allowed him to be involved in her care.” Dr. Ram added, “When Mrs. Shaheen was eventually taken off the ventilator, she was able to not only see and speak with her husband and sons, but also her extended family in Bangladesh. We feel this greatly contributed to her recovery.”
Perhaps the greatest moment, however, was when Jamaica Hospital was able to connect Mrs. Shaheen from her hospital bed to her baby girl, Reeda Birt Shaheen in the NICU. ‘We were overjoyed to be able to provide her with the opportunity to see her daughter for the first time,” stated palliative care physician Dr. Medha Chunduru.

Now, approximately seven weeks after being admitted, Mrs. Shaheen is being discharged. Jamaica Hospital is inviting members of the media to share in this joyous occasion and even see baby Reda through video conferencing technology.

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.

Q & A: Can COVID-19 Affect My Pregnancy?

A:   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “We do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result.”

COVID-19 is a new disease. Therefore, we are learning more about how it spreads and the effects it can have on our health every day.  While we continue to learn more about COVID-19, we encourage women who are pregnant to exercise all recommended precautions to protect their health.  These measures include:

  • Frequently washing and sanitizing your hands
  • Frequently cleaning surfaces of your home
  • Avoiding people who are sick
  • Practicing social distancing

If you are pregnant and experiencing symptoms that include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, chills, headache, a new loss of smell, or taste please inform your doctor. Testing may be required to see if these symptoms are the result of COVID-19. If you have tested positive, you may require specialized care during pregnancy and delivery. After giving birth, there is the possibility that your baby may need to be separated from you. This separation helps to prevent you from infecting your baby.

It is important to remember that prenatal care is unique to each individual. Speak with your OB/GYN about their plans to monitor your pregnancy and protect your health during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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.

Stay At Home Tips

Practicing social distancing and staying at home is crucial in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, but isolating ourselves from others and disrupting our daily routines can be challenging.

Here are some tips to help you during this difficult time:

  • Structure your day – Try creating a daily schedule. Make your own routines and break up the day in order to stave off monotony and keep everyone as busy as possible.
  • Stay active – Try an at home workout that can help keep you moving and combat the sense of malaise and boredom that can come from being stuck inside day after day.
  • Identify new activities – Whether it is tackling a project at home that you have been putting off or discovering a new hobby, new activities can provide a sense of purpose or achievement.
  • Communicate – Staying in contact with others via telephone, text or social media not only staves off boredom, but it is also critical for minimizing the sense of isolation.

We hope these tips will help you get through this challenging time.

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.

Do’s and Don’ts: Wearing A Surgical Mask

We’re sharing some Do’s and Don’ts of wearing surgical masks to help you to protect your health.

DO:

1. Wash and sanitize your hands before putting on the mask

2. Check for defects such as holes or tears

3. Make sure that the mask fits snugly to your face

4. Wash and sanitize your hands after removing the mask

DON’T:

1. Touch the mask once it’s on your face, doing so can expose you to pathogens

2. Hang the mask around your neck

3. Reuse single-use masks

4. Touch the front of the mask when removing it

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.

Tips for Exercising at Home

When you’re starting a home workout program it can be hard to figure out what exercises you should perform, particularly if you don’t have the budget for pricey equipment or personal training.
Most experts will tell you that a home training program for fitness should target all your major muscle groups are targeted at least once each week. It is recommended that your program includes 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise no more than three to five times a week.”
Most importantly, stretching should be a part of the workout regime. Stretching helps with both strength and flexibility.
Some proven home exercises that won’t break your piggy bank are:
• Squats. Standing upright, feet wider than shoulders apart. With your arms extended forward or your hands on your hips for balance, squat down. Push your knees outward as you descend until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Continue pushing your knees outward as you stand.
• Partial-body push-ups (with knees on the floor).
• Modified jumping jacks. Instead of moving your arms over your head, do these while you press the palms of your hands together at chest level, holding your elbows out to make a straight line.
• Chair crunches. Sit on a chair with your hands under your behind, arms straight, and fingers facing inward toward one another. Contract your pelvis and lower abs, and, keeping your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, lift your feet off the floor and tuck your knees in toward your chest while bending your upper body slightly toward your knees. Do as many as you can until you reach fatigue.
• Chair dips. Place your hands on the side of the chair and wrap your fingers around the edge. Scoot forward until your bottom is on the edge of the chair and your arms are fully extended. Keep your feet about 3 inches apart with your legs extended, so your knees are at approximately a 150 degree angle with your heels grounded. With your elbows pointed back and tucked in tight alongside your body, do 15 to 20 dips, 3 seconds down and 1 second up. Keep your chest up and your shoulders back.
It is important to speak with your Physician before beginning any exercise program, even if it is an at home program.

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.