National Handwashing Awareness Week

A wide variety of viral illnesses, including respiratory, diarrheal, and gastrointestinal diseases, frequently spread through direct contact via the hands. People use their hands to touch a multitude of surfaces countless times throughout each day, allowing germs to spread easily.

Regular handwashing offers the simplest solution to reducing your risk of illness and restricting the spread of germs among your friends, family, and community. Handwashing with soap removes germs effectively, preventing a substantial percentage of respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses when done correctly. Less people getting sick also reduces the need for antibiotics in many cases, reducing viruses’ resistance to these medications.

Washing your hands is typically most effective at key moments, such as after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, or immediately after you’ve touched a point of infection such as food (cooked or raw), garbage, physical wounds, mucus, or a sick person. You should never touch your eyes, nose, mouth, or food without washing your hands with soap first.

Handwashing is most effective as a preventative measure against disease when it’s performed correctly. You should lather the front and back of your hands, as well as between the fingers and under the nails, using soap and water, scrubbing them for 20 seconds before rinsing and drying them with a tower or air dryer.

Although hand sanitizer can also effectively remove many germs and is acceptable when handwashing is not possible, it does not remove as many germs or chemicals from your hands as washing with soap and water, and is therefore not ideal. When you use sanitizer, make sure it contains at least 60% alcohol.

If you’re sick with a viral infection, you can schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s 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.

How to Prepare for the End of Daylight Saving Time

Each year on November sixth, daylight saving time comes to an end, setting clocks back by one hour. This means an earlier sunrise in the morning and sunset in the evening, which may contribute to a few different types of health issues in many people throughout the United States.

When daylight saving time ends, sunlight is absent for a greater part of the day for most people. This can be disruptive to the body’s circadian rhythm (the cycle of physical, mental, and behavioral functions that operates on a 24-hour cycle). While the effects of this may often be as simple as feeling hungrier or drowsier at an earlier time of the day, it could also lead to more significant, long-lasting problems such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Seasonal affective disorder, also known as seasonal depression, is typically characterized by a lack of energy and motivation in many people, but can lead to symptoms as serious as suicidal ideation in some cases. It can last as long as five months and affects up to three percent of the United States population.

There are steps you can take to avoid symptoms of seasonal affective disorder and other adverse effects that accompany the end of daylight saving time. These include:

  • Adjusting your sleep schedule to increase sunlight exposure: Going to bed and rising earlier will allow more time spent during daylight. Be sure to get enough sleep each night and wake up at a set time each morning.
  • Focusing on a healthy diet and regular exercise: A balanced diet and exercise are beneficial for both your physical and mental health. This remains true when it comes to coping with an adjusted daily schedule, as both of these can improve your mood throughout the day and counter-act increased drowsiness and symptoms of depression.
  • Investing in a light box: Light therapy is an artificial means of providing your body with ultraviolet light. It can help with adjusting to a decrease in available sunlight. Before purchasing a light box, ensure that it’s designed to treat SAD, that it’s bright enough, that it protects your eyes, and that it can fit securely and comfortably within one or more spaces that you frequently occupy.

If you’re experiencing negative mental health symptoms as daylight saving time comes to an end, you can schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Mental Health Clinic by calling (718) 206-5575.

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.

Halloween 2022 Safety Tips

Halloween is a family-favorite holiday full of spooky fun and lots of candy.  However, it can also present many opportunities for injury as kids take to the streets in pursuit of trick-or-treat goodies.

Statistics show that roughly four times as many children between the ages of five and 14 are killed while walking on Halloween evening compared to other evenings of the year. Injuries due to falls and other accidents are also common among children on Halloween.

Parents can help minimize the risk of children getting injured on this holiday by following these safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Safety Council.

On Halloween, children should:

  • Go only to well-lit houses.
  • Remain on porches without actually entering a house.
  • Travel in small groups accompanied by an adult.
  • Use flexible, non-sharp plastic props for costume pieces such as knives and swords.
  • When walking through neighborhoods trick-or-treating, use flashlights, stay on sidewalks, and avoid crossing yards.
  • Cross at appropriately-designated crosswalks and do not cross between parked cars.
  • Be sure to stop at all corners and stay together in a group before crossing.
  • Wear clothing or costumes that are bright, reflective, and flame-retardant.
  • Consider using face paint instead of masks that can obstruct a child’s vision.
  • Avoid wearing hats that will slide over children’s eyes.
  • Avoid wearing long, baggy, or loose costumes or oversized shoes that may cause kids to trip.
  • Be reminded to look left, right, and left again before crossing a street.

On Halloween, parents and adults should:

  • Supervise trick-or-treating for children under the age of 12.
  • Avoid giving choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys as treats to young children.
  • Ensure the safety of pedestrian trick-or-treaters.
  • Make sure children under the age of 10 are supervised as they cross the street.
  • Drive slowly.
  • Watch for children in the street and on medians.
  • Exit driveways and alleyways slowly and carefully.
  • Have children get out of cars on the side of the sidewalk, not the street.

Follow these tips to keep both your children and yourself safe this year. Have a happy and fun Halloween!

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 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.

Supplements And Drug Interactions

It is common for people to take dietary supplements while using prescribed medications.  However, many do not disclose this information to their doctors.

Informing your doctor of prescription and supplement usage is important because some supplements when combined with certain medications can cause interactions that endanger your health.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), warns against combining the following medications and supplements as doing so can result in adverse reactions:

  • Drugs for HIV/AIDS, heart disease, depression, treatments for organ transplants, and birth control pills are less effective when taken with St. John’s wort, an herbal supplement.
  • Warfarin (a prescription blood thinner), ginkgo biloba (an herbal supplement), aspirin, and vitamin E (a supplement) can each thin the blood. Taking any of these products together may increase the potential for internal bleeding or stroke.

Other examples of dietary supplement and prescription medication interactions are:

  • Goldenseal – it is highly advised that goldenseal not be combined with most over-the-counter and prescription medicines. It may interact with blood thinners, chemotherapy and HIV drugs.
  • Calcium- may interact with certain antibiotics, thyroid or osteoporosis drugs.
  • Co-Q10- may interact with blood thinners and cancer drugs.
  • Valerian- may interact with anti-anxiety drugs.

It is important to keep in mind that while many supplements are labeled as natural, they may not always be safe, especially when taken with certain medicines. The FDA advises patients to always consult with their physicians before taking any dietary supplement and medication combinations.

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.

Wearing Compression Socks During Long Flights

Staying seated during long-haul flights lasting four or more hours can slow down the flow of blood in the legs.

A slow-down in circulation can increase the risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when blood clots form in the deep veins in the legs.  Pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when there is a blockage in the pulmonary arteries in the lungs.  This is most likely caused by a blood clot that traveled from the deep veins in the legs to the lungs.

DVT  and PE can lead to serious and potentially fatal complications.  However, there are several things you can do to reduce the risk of developing these problems while flying, one of which is wearing compression socks.

Compression socks work by squeezing or placing pressure on the veins in the legs and feet. This helps with improving circulation and preventing blood from pooling in the veins.

Additional health benefits gained by wearing compression socks are:

  • They can help ease swelling in the feet
  • They can provide some relief to tired and achy feet
  • They can help improve lymphatic drainage

When purchasing a pair of compression socks, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • They have different levels of pressure, measured in mmHg
  • You likely have the wrong size if they feel too tight or painful

If you are flying for an extended period, consider wearing compression socks. But first, speak with your healthcare provider to decide if they are right for you. Compression socks may do more harm than good if not worn properly or if they do not fit correctly.

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 Offers Memorial Day Safety Tips

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of Summer for many.  Whether you are planning a weekend road trip, firing up the grill, or heading out on the water, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center wants you to have a fun and safe holiday weekend by following some of these simple safety tips.

Driving Safety Tips:

  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely and use caution in construction zones.
  • Be sure to make frequent stops and use multiple drivers if necessary.
  • Ensure that your vehicle’s gas tank doesn’t get too low.
  • Let someone know where you’re going before you leave.
  • Avoid distractions such as cell phones, and always buckle your seatbelt

 Backyard Barbeque Tips:

  • Keep your grill out in the open and away from overhangs, enclosed areas, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Make sure that no one gets too close to the grill, such as children or pets.
  • Use long-handled tools as to avoid any burns.
  • Never add starter fluid if your coals have already been lit.

Water Safety Tips:

  • Learn CPR in case of an emergency and ensure that all swimmers are skilled.
  • Actively supervise children and stay within arms-reach of new swimmers.
  • If you’re on a boat, wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Remain within eyeshot of a lifeguard and swim with a buddy.
  • Keep a life preserver nearby, and in case of drowning, throw it, but don’t jump in.

By following these tips, you can ensure not only just a fun Memorial Day weekend, but a safe Summer.

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.

Sharing the “Jamaica Journey” of Diana Masabanda

Over 3,000 employees work for Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. Each has a different career path that brought them to where they are today. Today we share the Jamaica Journey of one such employee.

Diana Masabanda came to Jamaica Hospital as an intern in 2011 as part of a one-year New York City Department of Health grant. She was hired to assist colonoscopy patients by making sure they were prepared for their tests and helped them coordinate follow-up care after their procedure.

Coincidentally, just as the grant was about to expire, Jamaica Hospital was launching its Patient Navigator program, and based on her excellent work, Diana was offered a job in the newly formed department where she would continue to help patients coordinate their care.

However, as a Registered Nurse, Diana wanted to utilize her degree to provide direct patient care, so when an RN position became available in 2013, she applied for the job and was hired to work the evening shift in the hospital’s telemetry unit. Diana explained, “I loved working on the telemetry unit and I learned so much from my colleagues and supervisors but I knew I wanted another challenge.” So after waiting 3 ½ years to satisfy her desire to expand her knowledge, Diana transferred to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) in 2016.  There she treated critically ill surgical patients, while at the same time earning her Master’s Degree in Nursing.

Now, having earned her degree, Diana wanted to take all that she learned from the past eight years working at Jamaica Hospital and share it with others in a managerial capacity. According to Diana, “I saw the difference a good manager can make and that is what inspired me to earn my degree.”

Diana applied for and was promoted to Assistant Nurse Manager of the SICU in 2019. At the time, there was only one nurse manager for both the MICU and SICU, but soon after, hospital leadership decided that each unit required its own dedicated supervisor, so, in April of 2022, Diana was promoted once again to the Nurse Manager of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit.

Diana credits her Jamaica Journey to the hospital’s culture of giving their employees opportunities to grow. She believes that Jamaica Hospital is “A great place to grow and learn.”  As a Queens resident, Diana also sees great value in her work, stating, “I understand how important Jamaica Hospital is to this community, and how much our patients need us. That is one of the reasons I am here.”  The other reason Diane enjoys working for Jamaica Hospital is the bonds she has created with her co-workers. “We really work well together. We have great teamwork and that results in better care for our patients.” 

Jamaica Hospital thanks Diana Masabanda for her many years of service to our patients.

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.

Helpful Spring Cleaning Tips

Studies show that an unclean and cluttered environment can negatively impact our physical and mental health.

Particles such as dust, dander, mildew, or mold in the home can trigger allergies and affect respiratory health.

A cluttered space can make some people feel mentally overwhelmed and can contribute to depression. Clutter has also been shown to affect sleep. In a study conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, it was found that people sleeping in cluttered environments were more likely to develop sleep disorders.  Lastly, clutter can increase the risk of falls and injury.

A thorough spring cleaning and decluttering of the home can greatly improve environmental and air quality and help reduce the risk of illness or injury.

Here are a few helpful tips to make spring cleaning easier and our homes more conducive to better health:

  • Always remember to read the labels of cleaning products before using them. Certain chemicals such as ammonia, sodium hypochlorite, and formaldehyde can trigger allergies
  • Clean blinds with a duster or damp microfiber cloth (dampened cloths will attract more dust)
  • Clean windows with a glass cleaner
  • Wipe down walls, door frames, and baseboards. These areas are notorious for collecting dust but are often ignored
  • Use a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter vacuum, to clean carpets, fabric shades, and drapes, also pay attention to fabric couches and mattresses
  • Organize clutter by sorting items into four categories: donate, store, dispose and keep
  • Clean wooden furniture by using a duster or microfiber cloth
  • Mop hard-surface floors with a microfiber mop
  • Wash bedding as recommended by the manufacturer. Don’t forget to also wash bedding accessories such as pillows, throw pillow covers and stuffed animals
  • Thoroughly clean bathrooms to avoid a buildup of mold and mildew. A cleaning solution of three parts water and one parts bleach is often recommended for cleaning mold and mildew
  • Clean kitchen cabinets and drawers with cabinet cleaner and degreaser
  • Clean air conditioning and heating filters
  • Don’t ignore hard-to-reach places such as ceiling fans and light fixtures. These can be cleaned by using a duster with an extendable handle

Spring cleaning can offer great benefits. For many, this includes achieving a sense of accomplishment and having a home that is tidy and free from clutter. The most important benefit however is, that spring cleaning helps to minimize exposure to allergens and other environmental hazards that can be harmful to our health.

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

Signs That A Headache Is More Than A Headache

Headaches are very common. They can be caused by a variety of reasons including eye or neck strain,  stress, strong smells, bright lights, infections, or high blood pressure.

Typically, headaches are not indicative of a life-threatening emergency.  However, there are times when our bodies are trying to alert us to a problem requiring urgent medical attention.

Here are a few warning signs:

  • A sudden or very intense headache
  • Changes in headache patterns
  • Headaches following head injury
  • Headaches that begin to occur regularly in those over the age of 50
  • Headaches accompanied by speech and vision changes
  • Headaches accompanied by a stiff neck and fever
  • Headaches accompanied by redness and pain in the eyes
  • Headaches accompanied by changes in behavior
  • Headaches with nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches that interrupt sleep
  • Headaches that begin after sneezing, coughing or straining the body
  • Headaches that worsen with movement
  • Headaches that prevent normal day-to-day activities
  • Headaches persisting for more than 24 hours

These tell-tale symptoms should not be ignored as they are often associated with serious health conditions such as brain tumors, stroke, hemorrhaging, concussions, meningitis, or hypertensive crisis. See a doctor right away for immediate medical intervention as timely treatment can prevent further complications.

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