Summer Is Kidney Stone Season

They are less than a centimeter in size, yet they can cause intense discomfort.  Kidney stones are one of the most painful urologic disorders, and they occur more frequently during the summer because our bodies loose more water due to sweating, which can result in dehydration.

Kidney stones are small, hard masses made of mineral and acid salts that develop in the urine.  No single factor causes kidney stones, and not everyone is susceptible to them.  Several factors often work together to create an environment in which at-risk people develop kidney stones.  People most at risk for kidney stones include:

• Adults
• Males
• Those with family or personal history of kidney stones
• Those with personal history of digestive diseases and/or surgery

In general, kidney stones form when the fluid and various mineral and acids that make up urine are out of balance.  “With adequate hydration, calcium and other crystal-forming substances properly dissolve in the urine,” says Ricardo Ricciardi, MD, Director of Urology at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. 

Although genetics, family history, and some medical conditions can increase your odds of developing kidney stones, you can still play a role in preventing them through the following steps:

• Drink enough water. “If you’re prone to kidney stones, your best defense is to stay hydrated during hot summer months,” says Dr. Ricciardi.  “Hot temperatures make your body lose more water than usual, so it is important to replenish it throughout the day, depending on your weight and activity level.”

• Eat less meat.  Diets rich in animal protein increase your risk for kidney stones; so try to incorporate other protein sources, such as beans, nuts and seeds, instead.

• Limit your salt intake.  Excess salt absorbs water in your system, which can also dehydrate you.  Limit your daily sodium intake to 1,500 mg or less by avoiding fast food, reading nutrition labels when you buy groceries, and cooking with less salt and more herbs and spices.

• Drink less caffeine.  Even though you may think you are getting enough liquid by consuming caffeinated sodas, coffee, or tea, caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it can dehydrate you.
Sneaking Symptoms

Kidney stones often do not cause symptoms.  If the crystals are small enough, they may pass through the urinary tract and out of the body without being felt.  If a stone is large enough to attract attention, however, the first symptom is usually severe pain in the backside that begins when the stone moves into the urinary tract, blocking the flow of urine.  The pain may later spread to the groin and lower abdomen.  Other symptoms include a persistent urge to urinate, painful urination, and pink, red, or brown urine.

Seek medical attention if you have pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting or fever and chills, or if pain is so severe that you cannot sit still or find a comfortable position. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned, or suspect you have Kidney Stones and would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center 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.

Employee Spotlight Shines on Paula Utilla

This month we are proud to shine our Employee Spotlight on Paula Utilla, Lactation Coordinator in the OB / GYN Department. Paula has been at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center for seven years.

Paula moved to the United States in 2003 from Canada where she grew up in Pickering  a small town on the outskirts of Toronto.  She attended Holy Redeemer Elementary School, St. Mary’s High School and Durham College. Paula currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their two children, a son who is 14 years old and a daughter who is 18 years old. Also living with them is their very sweet one year old 120 pound pit bull named Canelo.

Paula spends her free time gardening, jewelry making, and assisting her daughter in the kitchen with baking all kinds of goodies. She loves traveling to places that have cultural and historical significance. She has already visited Egypt and Rome and her goal is to get to Greece one day. She enjoys all types of food, the spicier the better. Paula likes to listen to music from the nineties especially Hip Hop and R&B.

Paula is a very big advocate for a woman’s right to breastfeed. Teaching moms how to breastfeed is something she is very passionate about. She aims to make a difference in the lives of moms and their newborn babies.

Paula enjoys working at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center for many reasons, one of which is the diversity of the patients that she sees. We are fortunate to have Paula on our team and we look forward to her continuing to make a difference in the lives of mothers and their babies for a long time to come.

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.

Swim Safety Tips

The weather is warming up and people will be looking for ways to keep cool. One way that has always been popular during the warm summer months is swimming in a pool. Every year there are countless accidents and also fatalities at or near swimming pools. Many of which  could have been avoided had precautions been taken.

Safety Tips to follow:
• Never leave children unattended near a pool
• Only swim when there is a lifeguard present
• Every pool should have proper drain covers
• Pools should have alarms and proper fencing
• Keep the pool clean
• There should be no diving allowed in pools that are shallow
• Never swim alone
• There should be no horseplay in or near a pool
• Do not swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
• Do not swim in a thunderstorm
• It is a good idea to give children swimming lessons before the start of the summer
• Children who don’t know how to swim should be given flotation devices to wear

There are many organizations around the country that offer swimming lessons for children and adults of all ages. If you don’t know how to swim, look into getting some lessons before heading out to the pool. You will have a good time and you will also be a lot safer this 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.

Jamaica Hospital Warns Against Using Fireworks This July 4th

With July 4th holiday approaching, Jamaica Hospital  Medical Center wants everyone to know the potential dangers associated with fireworks so you can avoid injuring yourself or others.

Fireworks are ILLEGAL in New York State, and are extremely dangerous when they are not being used by a professional. They burn at extremely high temperatures and can rapidly burn through clothing and skin.  Items such as sparklers are mistakenly thought to be safe, but they are actually quite dangerous too.

In states where it is legal to purchase and operate fireworks, please be sure to follow the following safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
  • Older children should use them only under the close supervision of an adult
  • Never light fireworks indoors
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Soak unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks in case of fire

This year, have a safe Fourth of July and leave the firework displays to the trained professionals. If you have questions about fireworks displays and safety, you can visit The National Council on Firework Safety webpage at http://www.fireworksafety.org.  Take the test and learn just how much you know about fireworks safety.

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.

Benefits of Pineapple

Pineapple’s have been trending in both pop culture and as an amazing source nutrition packed with antioxidants that can fight inflammation and disease.

According to healthline, some of the most widely known benefits of pineapple’s are:

  • Packed with nutrients.
  • Contains disease fighting antioxidants known as flavonoids and phenolic acids.
  • Contains enzymes that can ease digestion.
  • May help reduce the risk of cancer.
  • May boost immunity and suppress inflammation.
  • May ease the symptoms of Arthritis.
  • May speed recovery after surgery or strenuous exercise.
  • Tastes delicious and is easy to add to your diet.

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of pineapple’s, visit healthline.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.

Jamaica Hospital Welcomes Dr. Ugochi Akoma

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center would like to introduce our community to Dr. Ugochi Akoma, our new Obstetric Gynecologist, specializing in Maternal Fetal Medicine.

Dr Akoma, who grew up in the South Bronx, earned her Bachelor and Doctor of Medicine degrees at Brown University. She returned to her Bronx roots to complete her residency at the Montefiore, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  After completing her residency training, Dr. Akoma demonstrated her commitment to her caring for her community by dedicating five years of clinical service to treat thousands of underserved pregnant women in the Bronx.

During that time, Dr. Akoma encountered many high-risk patients facing challenges such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and infections in pregnancy. These experiences further inspired her goal to complete a fellowship in Maternal Fetal Medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. There she acquired the necessary tools to provide her patients with an expertise in diagnosing and managing high risk pregnancy conditions.  

Dr. Akoma joined Jamaica Hospital earlier this year and her current title is Director of Perinatal Diagnostic Centers- Obstetric Ultrasound, and Director of Quality Improvement in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In addition to her training in the medical and surgical management of high-risk pregnancies, Dr. Akoma also specializes in the management of a broad range of high-risk complex medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, preeclampsia, multifetal pregnancy, cervical insufficiency, preterm birth, and placental previa.

 Dr Akoma is a first generation American who understands the health disparities many women in our community face due to reduced access to safe housing, healthy foods, education, and quality health care. Dr. Akoma recounts, “After attending the best Ivy League undergraduate and medical schools, and residency programs, and having been a witness to seeing the vast health inequities in my community, I made a personal commitment to come back home and work towards the goal of reducing maternal morbidity and mortality and adverse outcomes.”

To make an appointment with Dr. Akoma, please call Jamaica Hospital’s Women’s Health Center at 718-291-3276.

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.

MediSys Family Care Center in East New York

This month, we would like to shine our spotlight on the MediSys Family Care Center in East New York, Brooklyn.

The center is located at 3080 Atlantic Avenue and is the only MediSys Health Network facility in the borough. It was originally opened in 1996 and later expanded in 2000.  This site currently offers 30 state-of-the-art exam rooms and is staffed by 45 employees.

The MediSys Family Center in East New York offers a wide range of services including:

  • Family Medicine
  • Podiatry
  • Pediatrics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Social Services
  • X-ray
  • Dental
  • Nutrition
  • WIC
  • Pulmonary Medicine
  • Dermatology

Our staff has been warmly embraced by the community and a few of our providers have shared their thoughts as to why they enjoy working at this site. “We treat our patients like family. We love what we do, and we love serving the East New York Community,” said Dr. Anastasia Fokas. Beth Giaquinta, Physician Assistant, shared that she has been at this location for 23 years and has seen generations of patients during that time.  Dr. Angelo Canedo added, “The East New York team is united, and we have one common purpose, to serve a community in need”.

The hours of operation are:

  • Monday 7:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Thursday 7:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Friday 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Saturday 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM

To schedule an appointment at Medisys East New York please call 718-647-0240.

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.

Interesting Facts and Myths About Using Sunscreen

During the summer months, basking in the glow of the sun becomes a national past time.  Bronzed, or tanned skin comes from the sun activating a color pigment in the top layer of your skin, the color only lasts between six to 10 days. However, the long-term effects of your skins over exposure to the sun may cause longer lasting conditions, even if you have a darker skin pigmentation.

Myth:  People with darker skin tones do not need to apply sunscreen because they are not as susceptible to getting sunburned.

Fact: Health experts suggest that no matter your skin tone, you should use sunscreen to prevent sunburn and sun-induced damage to your skin.  People with darker skin tones may believe they do not need to apply sunscreen because they are not as susceptible to getting sunburned as quickly as those with a lighter skin tone, but they are still susceptible to the damage the sun can cause to their skin, such as sunspots and wrinkles and cancer.

To maintain the health of your skin after tanning you should:

  • Exfoliate – The night before you are lying in the sun to ensure that your skin prepped for tanning, slough away dead skin cells with a gentle exfoliator. Dry skin can lead to peeling and, in some cases an uneven tan.  It is easy to create your own body scrubs by combining a few heaping spoonsful of rock salt with essential oils or your regular olive oil from the kitchen.
  • Protect – Wearing sunscreen is vital when exposed to the sun, not only to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, but also if you want a long-lasting tan.  Wearing sunscreen with a skin protection factor (SPF) of 30, will help protect against damaging your skin. Make sure to opt for a sunscreen with a broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) and re-apply throughout the day.
  • Hydrate – Water helps extend the life of your skin cells, so drink as much as possible.  Melons, cucumbers, and celery are also high in water content and make the perfect skin-friendly snack this summer.
  • Moisturize – In addition to drinking lots of water, it is also important to keep the peeling at bay with a daily dose of moisturizer.

While tanning, keep in mind that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.  Exposure to the sun, without the benefit of sunscreen increases the risk of melanoma.

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.

COVID and Warm Weather

With summer quickly approaching, many are looking forward to enjoying the season and all the activities it brings. However, as we enter our second summer of the pandemic, the question remains as to whether warmer temperatures affect the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Last year, in June, July, and August, New York state experienced a significant decrease in the number of new COVID cases. This trend led many people to believe that the virus was seasonal and followed a similar pattern to the flu where transmission rates are lower during the summer months.

Although COVID rates were lower in New York, scientific evidence does not support a link between the decline in numbers and warmer weather. While parts of the U.S. experienced lower rates, other countries around the world with consistently warmer climates saw different results. For instance, Brazil- which suffered from a very large increase in COVID cases.

Furthermore, in a study conducted by the World Meteorological Organization, it was found that regulations such as mask requirements, and quarantines had more of an impact on reducing the spread of the virus than higher temperatures. The study also concluded that transmission dynamics were greatly influenced by other factors such as human behavior, demographics, and highly contagious variants.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show safety regulations were proven effective in decreasing the number of COVID cases last summer. This year, it is anticipated that new developments will make a difference in COVID-19 numbers. Millions of vaccines have been administered to people all over the United States, we have also gained more insight into how the virus spreads and the most effective ways to prevent it.

Summer is associated with more social interaction than any other time of the year. Now that many establishments have reopened and there is a renewed sense of normalcy, it may be easy to forget that we are still living through a pandemic. Keeping this in mind, it is important to remember to exercise caution and follow guidelines when in large groups so you can keep everyone as safe as possible.

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.

Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month which gives us the chance to make the public aware of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease being very important health issues.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s have profound effects on many people. There are an estimated 5 million people with the disease and 15 million people who are caring for them. It is said to be the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

It has been said that Alzheimer’s is the only disease that can lead to death that cannot be slowed down, cured, or prevented. It acts by slowly killing brain cells which affects all of our ability to function normally.

Brain exercises may help mental functionality in areas of memory, focus, concentration and understanding.

Some suggested ways to keep our brains healthy are:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Staying physically active
  • Eating properly
  • Not smoking
  • Challenging your mind with social interaction
  • Taking classes
  • Being aware of challenges that could lead to depression

If you would like to schedule an appointment at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

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.