Protecting Yourself From Wildfire Smoke and Poor Air Quality

Ongoing wildfires in Canada have brought significant amounts of smoke to New York City, resulting in record levels of air pollution. This smoke presents a variety of health hazards, particularly for certain at-risk groups. However, it is important to note that high levels of smoke can affect anyone, even people who are otherwise healthy.

Wildfire smoke in particular includes a mixture of gases and fine particles that can cause coughing, sneezing, eye and sinus irritation, and shortness of breath. In people with certain medical conditions, exposure to smoke may cause symptoms of those conditions to worsen. People who are at the highest risk include:

  • People with lung diseases such as COPD or asthma
  • People with cardiovascular disease
  • Older adults and children
  • Expectant mothers

Anyone who may be exposed to smoke should take effective measures to protect themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that you:

Reduce smoke exposure as much as possible: You should minimize the amount of time you spend outdoors for as long as poor air quality alerts due to the smoke remain in effect. While inside, keep all doors and windows closed; if possible, use an air purifier or make sure your air conditioner has high efficiency filters that can prevent fine particles from entering your home.

Wear a mask: If you must go outside while air quality alerts remain in effect, make sure to wear a mask. N95 respirators are ideal, as these offer the highest level of protection against airborne particles.

Consult your doctor: If you are at heightened risk of adverse health effects due to smoke, talk to your doctor about what you should do if your symptoms worsen and about any medication you should have on hand to manage them.

If you experience smoke-related medical problems, contact your doctor as soon as possible. If a medical emergency occurs, please dial 911 immediately.

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’s Bugging You?

Summer usually means picnics and family reunions, but it also means a reunion with insects that can wreak havoc on outdoor activities. Follow these tips to minimize the potential for bug bites and bee stings.

When outdoors – especially in wooded areas – wear long sleeves, pants, and socks to help protect your skin from insect bites. Be aware that insects may be drawn to scented soaps and perfumes. Also, cover food and drain or dump standing water, which attracts most insects.

Mosquito bites can be more than just annoying and itchy, they can also make you really sick. Using insect repellent is the best way to protect yourself and your family, especially when traveling overseas. Repellent is the best way to prevent diseases like Zika that are primarily spread by mosquitoes.

Treating Bites and Bee Stings

If a sting occurs, remove the stinger as soon as possible by scraping the area with your fingernail or something with a flat surface, such as a credit card. For bee and wasp stings and non-poisonous spider bites, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water and apply ice to reduce swelling. Continue to wash two or three times daily until the skin has healed.

Severe Reactions

If you are stung in the mouth, seek medical attention immediately. Severe swelling occurs quickly in oral mucous membranes and can block airways, making breathing difficult or impossible.

If you have a severe reaction to a bug bite, go to the nearest hospital Emergency Room or call 911. Otherwise Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center is available to help, to schedule an appointment, please call 718-206-7001.

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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.

How Does Cupping Therapy Benefit Your Health?

cupping 484372683Anyone who watched the Olympics this summer couldn’t help but notice the large, circular marks on the bodies of many of the competitors. These are the result of cupping therapy, a growing trend among athletes and celebrities.

While gaining a great deal of attention recently, the practice of cupping actually dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Middle Eastern cultures where it is believed to help with pain, blood flow, and relaxation.

How does cupping work? First, it’s important to know that there are two different types of cupping.

Dry cupping is one type of therapy that involves a therapist placing special cups on the patient for a few minutes to create a suction sensation. The suction is created by placing a flammable substance inside the cups to start a fire. Once the fire inside the cup is extinguished, they are placed upside down on the patient’s skin. As the air inside the cups cools, it creates a vacuum which causes the skin under the cup to rise and redden as the blood vessels expand. The suction process takes approximately three minutes.

While dry cupping ends after this process is completed; a second form of cupping, known as wet cupping can take place if desired. During the wet cupping process, the therapist will make light cuts in the skin with a scalpel after the cups are removed, then reapply the cups to draw a small quantity of blood (and presumed toxins) out of the body. After the cups are removed the second time, ointments and bandages are applied to prevent infection.

Those who practice cupping as a form of therapy usually get anywhere from three to seven cups applied per session.

While there is very little research to prove the effectiveness of cupping, some studies have stated that it could be used to help with the management of pain and assist with conditions such as acne, herpes zoster and cervical spondylosis.

Cupping is considered safe is performed by a qualified therapist, but it can lead to mild discomfort and in some cases, it can cause burns, bruises, or skin infections. It is recommended that you speak to your doctor before you start cupping.

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.