What is Popcorn Lung and Can Vaping Cause It?

“Popcorn lung” is the nickname for bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious and irreversible lung disease that can damage the smallest airways in your lungs, resulting in coughing and shortness of breath.

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The condition got its nickname because of the chemical diacetyl, a buttery flavored chemical that was commonly found in microwave popcorn.  After workers at the factories that produced microwave popcorn began to experience symptoms associated with bronchiolitis obliterans after inhaling diacetyl, manufacturers removed it from their products.

While diacetyl is no longer a threat from microwaved popcorn, many are now being exposed to it through e-cigarette vapor. Diacetyl is often added to “e-juice” liquid by some e-cigarette companies to complement flavorings such as vanilla, maple, coconut and more. In fact, recent studies have found that more than 75 percent of flavored e-cigarettes and refill liquids tested positive for diacetyl

So how does diacetyl cause popcorn lung? Your lungs are where your blood receives oxygen before carrying it to cells in the rest of your body through tiny air sacs called alveoli. Exposure to diacetyl can irritate or scar the alveoli, causing inflammation or narrowing, making it difficult for them to deliver oxygen to your blood.

The main symptoms of popcorn lung are a dry cough and shortness of breath. These show up between two weeks and two months after you’ve been around a toxic gas or had an illness. You’re especially likely to have them after exercising or heavy labor.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Flu-like illness with fever
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Wheezing
  • Eye, skin, mouth, or nose irritation, if caused by chemical exposure

Popcorn lung is often misdiagnosed as asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema. To diagnose popcorn lung, your doctor will order an X-ray, CT scan or a surgical lung biopsy. Your doctor may also want to measure your lung’s function by conducting a pulmonary function test.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for popcorn lung, but there are treatments to help alleviate the symptoms or slow the progression of the disease. Treatment options include prescription corticosteroids, cough suppressants, bronchodilators to open the airways or immunosuppressant therapy to decrease your body’s immune response. In severe cases oxygen supplementation may be needed. If left untreated, popcorn lung can be fatal in some cases.

The best way to prevent developing popcorn lung is to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals like diacetyl, found in e-cigarettes.

If you are experiencing symptoms of popcorn lung, make an appointment to see your doctor. To make an appointment with a Pulmonologist at Jamaica Hospital, please call our Ambulatory Care Department 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.

Tips To Make Sure the Ice in Your Freezer is Clean

There is nothing more refreshing on a warm summer day than an ice-filled cold beverage, but before you host your next summer gathering, make sure that the ice you serve is clean and free of harmful bacteria.

While ice is rarely considered to be the source of trouble, there are good reasons to take a second look at how ice is dispensed in your own home.  You may think most bacteria wouldn’t survive the icy conditions of a freezer. But they can. Bacteria and viruses such as listeria, E-coli and salmonella can live in freezing temperatures, meaning they may be alive in your ice cubes. With proper precautions however, you can eliminate the risk of these contaminants existing in the ice you serve.

Here are some tips:

  • Change Your Filter – Most ice makers in freezers use a secondary water filter to stop particles from contaminating the ice. To keep your ice clean, change the freezer’s water filter as frequently as the manufacturer recommends, about every six months.
  • Regular Cleaning – Don’t forget to defrost and deep clean your freezer at least once a year. As a rule of thumb, if the ice buildup in your freezer is a quarter-inch or thicker, then it’s time to defrost and clean it.
  • Use Ice Regularly – The slight melting and refreezing of cubes can allow pathogens to take hold. To avoid this, remove the ice storage bin from the freezer and dump any clumps into the sink. Since inactivity causes ice clumps to form, the easiest solution is to use the ice maker more frequently.
  • Organize Your Freezer – Make sure frozen foods are properly sealed or double-wrapped and avoid having them come into direct contact with ice in trays or bins. Also label all food with a use-by date and remove all expired foods from your freezer.
  • Don’t Use Your Hands – While all of the above tips are useful, the fact is that the most common way to spread germs is by placing unwashed hands in an ice container. Instead of using your hands, use a designated scooper or other tool to handle ice.

It is important to note that while the existence of contaminants in your ice might be disturbing to learn, the health risks associated with it is fairly minimal to the average immune system and the transmission of viruses are rare. Those more at risk are pregnant women, children, and people with a compromised immune system.

Regardless, it is always a good idea to take the proper precautions to reduce your chances of getting yourself or your guests sick.

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 Benefits of Couples Counseling

There are many changes that couples can go through during the course of their relationship.  In some instances, these changes can lead to undue stress, strain and conflict on their relationship.

During these times, couples may benefit from counseling.  Couples counseling can be effective in helping you and your partner heal, foster forgiveness and help you reconnect.

Some benefits from counseling are:

  • Learning how to communicate in a non-adversarial way
  • Understanding the importance of listening to your partner and how to process what your partner is saying
  • Learning how to get your point across with assertion and not aggression or anger
  • Finding a way to discuss your issues without fear of retaliation or hurting the feelings of your partner
  • Learning how to work through your issues in a safe environment
  • Getting your feelings out in the open and not letting them fester
  • Re-committing to work out your issues together without engaging in conflict
  • Developing a deeper understanding of your partner and what their needs are

By entering into counseling, you may find that you and your partner are willing to put in the work needed to get through a difficult time. If the opposite is realized, you will then feel less guilt when you make the decision to end the relationship knowing you have given it every chance.

If you and your partner would like to speak with a counselor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, call 718-206-5588 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.

What Will Your New Year’s Resolution Be For 2019 ?

Some popular resolutions that people be make for 2019 are to:

• Lose weight
• Get organized
• Spend less
• Quit smoking
• Fall in love

The percentage of people who make New Year’s resolutions is about 45% of the population. People in their twenties tend to be more successful at maintaining their resolutions as compared to people over the age of 50. By the end of the first month 65% of the people are still doing a good job of keeping to their resolution, however by the end of six months that number drops to around 44%.

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.

Can Journaling Help Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Did you know that keeping a journal is a great tool for relieving anxiety and stress?  According to Verywellmind.com, “Journaling can relieve stress by helping you work through your anxious feelings.”

By journaling, you can minimize thoughts that may have you anxious.  Writing down what is causing you to stress may help you shift feelings of fear and hopelessness to empowerment and solution orientated thoughts.

Some tips on how to get started are:

  • Start journaling for five to 15 minutes – Too much time shouldn’t be spent on your journaling. Write about what is concerning you most.
  • If an event is currently causing difficulty write it down in detail. If it is not a current issue, but something that has been plaguing you, focus on writing that you worry about the “what could possibly happen” factor.
  • Write how these feelings affect you in your daily life
  • Once your thoughts are arranged, you can write about what positive measures you can implement to help relive how you are feeling (i.e. meditation, exercise, support groups)

The hardest part about journaling is getting started.  Many people think that they don’t have the time to journal, but if you have the time to fret, you have the time to put pencil to paper and work on feeling better!

For more tips on how to benefit from journaling visit – www.verywellmind.com

 

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.

Running Do’s and Don’ts

It is no secret that exercise does wonders for your health.  Running, in particular, offers many benefits, and is known to improve your mental and physical wellbeing.

In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, it was found that” five to 10 minutes a day of low-intensity running is enough to extend life by several years.” Similar studies have also indicated that running can help reduce the risks associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers.

Given the benefits, your doctor may recommend that you include running as part of your exercise regimen. If you decide to run, there are a few things you should keep in mind in order to prevent injury and optimize your workout. Here are some running dos and don’ts:

The Do’s:

  • Keep your head up -This will keep your body in alignment and prevent injuries
  • Stretch and warm up-This reduces muscle tightness and increases your range of motion
  • Start slowly -Starting off too fast can lead to overexertion which may result in side aches
  • Schedule rest days –Allow your body days to recover and reduce the risk of exhaustion
  • Remain hydrated- Drinking enough water will prevent dehydration

The Don’ts:

  • Do not run in shoes that are worn or not intended for running- Shoes that are worn or not designed for running may lack support and lead to injuries
  • If running outdoors, do not run with headphones – It is important to be aware of your surroundings and avoid hazards
  • Do not eat big meals before running-Eating too much can slow you down
  • Do not ignore injuries- It is important that you rest if you are injured, not doing so can lead to complications

The most important thing to consider before starting your running routine is to speak with your doctor. Experts recommend that you receive a full medical checkup if you are over the age of 40, have preexisting medical conditions, are obese or have a family history of heart disease.  Your doctor will be able to assess your health and determine if running is best for you.

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 Causes Night Sweats?

A common concern shared by patients with their doctor is night sweats.  This is the occurrence of excessive sweating at night while sleeping.

If you are experiencing night sweats while sleeping in a warm room, wearing too much clothing to bed or sleeping with too many blankets, the cause for excessive perspiration is most likely the result of your sleep environment.

However, if neither applies and you are experiencing night sweats frequently, there is a chance that this may be caused by an underlying medical issue.

There are several conditions that are known to cause night sweats, some of these are:

  • Hormone disorders
  • Cancers
  • Stroke
  • Infections
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Menopause
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Idiopathic hyperhidrosis
  • Thyroid diseases

Certain medications are also known to cause night sweats. You should speak with your doctor if night sweats:

  • Occur on a regular basis
  • Are accompanied by symptoms such as fever or pain
  • Occur after menopausal symptoms have subsided after several months
  • Interrupts your sleep

To schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call   718-206-7001.

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

Can you get the flu in the summer?

FluAlthough it is possible to get the flu during the summer, it is highly unlikely that you will.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that while influenza viruses circulate year-round, they are most common during fall and winter months.   These viruses survive better in colder and drier climates. Therefore the chances that you will get the flu in the summer, which consists of hot and humid conditions, are greatly reduced.

Flu-like symptoms that occur during the summer are most likely caused by other illnesses. Some illnesses that present very similar symptoms to the flu include:

  • The common cold – symptoms include sore throat, coughing, sneezing and congestion
  • Pneumonia-symptoms include fever, headaches, chills and coughing
  • Gastroenteritis- symptoms include body  aches, pain, fever, headaches  along with diarrhea and abdominal cramps
  • Bronchitis- symptoms include fatigue, coughing, fever, chills and shortness of breath

Getting the flu during the summer is unusual but possible.  If you suspect that you have the flu or are experiencing the aforementioned symptoms, it is advised that you see your doctor.  He or she will conduct an examination and order tests to determine all possible causes for your symptoms as well as appropriate treatment methods.

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.

Treating A Bee Sting

One of the things we least look forward to while enjoying summer weather is being stung by a bee.  In the event that this happens, you should know how to properly treat stings.

Treating bee stings depends on severity. People who are allergic or people who have received multiple stings should seek immediate emergency care. However, if you are not allergic, and have not received multiple stings, you can do the following to relieve pain and swelling:

  • Remove the stinger as soon as possible, in any way that you can ( using tweezers or your fingernails are some ways that you can)
  • Wash the area with soap and water
  • Apply ice or cold compress to reduce swelling
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever as instructed
  • Apply hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion  or take oral antihistamines to relieve itching or swelling

If you have a severe reaction to a bee sting, go to the nearest hospital Emergency Room or call 911.

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.

Safely Grilling Food Outdoors

Summertime is a popular time of year for outdoor grilling. Food that is grilled outdoors always seems to delight our family and friends, but if we don’t practice proper food safety, people could get food poisoning.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when grilling food in order to avoid food poisoning:
• Always make sure the utensils you are using are clean before and after you use them
• Keep raw food away from cooked food by using separate plates
• Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching uncooked food
• Use a meat thermometer to ensure that meat is cooked at the right temperature
145 degrees for whole beef, pork, veal, lamb
145 degrees for fish
160 degrees for hamburgers and ground beef
165 degrees for poultry and hot dogs
• Check the date on the meat package to ensure it is fresh when you buy it
• Don’t leave raw meat or poultry out at room temperature for more than two hours
• Keep uncooked meat refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower
• After food is cooked, keep it hot until served at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter
• Wash all of the utensils used for grilling after you are done with them
• Do not partially cook food and finish it later
• Keep food out of direct sunlight
• Use a meat thermometer to ensure that meat is cooked at the right temperature

• By following these simple tips, you will ensure a wonderful meal will be enjoyed by everyone.

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.