Prepare for Cold and Flu Season With These Tips

As the fall season begins, so does cold and flu season. There are a few essential steps you should take to prevent the spread of disease among your family and friends during this time. These include:

Getting Your Flu Vaccine: The flu vaccine is updated each year to keep up with new flu mutations and viral strains; it is the most simple, effective step you can take to protect against the flu. You can receive the flu vaccine from your doctor, local clinics, or at many major pharmacies.

Practicing Regular Hand Hygiene: Physical contact with other people, either directly (as with a handshake or hug) or indirectly (as when you hold a handrail on a bus or train), can be extremely difficult to avoid, but both of these methods of contact can spread germs that spread colds or the flu, particularly when those germs come into contact with your hands. You can keep your hands clean by washing them frequently with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can also help, but is less effective.

Maintaining Healthy Lifestyle Habits: Good nutrition, as well as the avoidance of substances such as tobacco or alcohol, can keep your immune system strong and better able to defend against disease. Regular exercise also boosts your immune system, in addition to providing numerous other benefits; however, if you’re sharing exercise equipment with other people, such as at a gym, make sure to sanitize both your hands and the equipment you’re using before and after usage.

You can receive the flu vaccine, as well as medical treatment for the flu, a cold, or other illnesses and conditions, from Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center. To schedule an appointment, 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.

Winter Cold or Allergy?

The winter months can be challenging to your health. The drop in temperatures often results in symptoms that could be either a winter cold or allergies.

While many of the symptoms of colds and allergies are similar, the causes of each are very different.

Colds are contagious and they are contracted when a person is exposed to an individual infected with a cold virus.  Our body’s immune system will launch a counter attack against the virus. This response usually brings on the classic symptoms, such as a runny nose or cough.

An allergic reaction is caused by an overactive immune system that mistakes harmless things, such as mold or dust mites and attacks them. To combat what it thinks are germs, your body releases chemicals called histamines as a defense. The release of these histamines can cause a swelling of the nasal passages and result in coughing and sneezing. While many of the symptoms are similar, the easiest way to determine if you have a cold or are suffering from allergies is the duration of your condition. While most colds last from three to 14 days, allergies can last for months as long as the person is in contact with the allergen. Other differences are:

  • An allergic reaction will begin immediately after exposure to an allergen while cold symptoms usually take approximately three days to appear after exposure
  • A cold virus can sometimes cause fever and body aches while allergies never do
  • An allergic reaction can often result in itchy, watery eyes, which a cold rarely produces this type of reaction
  • Allergies are not contagious.

Once a determination between cold or allergy is made, the appropriate treatment can be applied.

There is no cure for a cold, but there are medications that can help alleviate the symptoms. Cough syrups, pain relievers, decongestant sprays, or multi-symptom cold relief medicines can all be used to help, but should only be taken after consulting your doctor, especially if you are taking other medications or if you have other underlying health conditions. Drinking plenty of liquids also speeds up the recovery process.

To treat allergies, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter antihistamine to block the reaction to the allergens. There are many forms of antihistamines and some may cause drowsiness so be sure to look for the non-drowsy formula or only take them at night. Decongestants may also be suggested to relieve nasal congestion and avoid an infection.

If you are not sure if you have a cold or allergies, please speak with your doctor. If you do not have a doctor, Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center can help. To make an appointment, 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.

True or False – We Lose Most of our Body Heat From Our Head?

Now that the colder weather has arrived, we all are reminded to cover our heads to stay warm. One of the reasons we do this is because of the age-old theory that we lose approximately half of our body heat through our heads, but is this bit of advice really true?

The origin of this belief comes most likely from an old U.S. Army Field Manual from the 1950’s based on arctic survival research. The problem with the study is that while the research was performed on subjects wearing cold weather gear, they were not wearing hats. Naturally, in circumstances like this, body heat will escape from whatever area is exposed – in this case, the subjects uncovered heads.

Since our heads represents only 10% of our body’s total surface area, it would have to lose about 40 times as much heat per square inch as other parts of the body for this theory to be true.

Another factor in why this myth is thought to be true by many has to do with how our blood vessels are composed. We tend to feel colder in places where blood vessels are densely packed, like the head, and less where aren’t such as the legs.

Even though there is no factual basis to the concept of losing excess body heat through our heads, most will agree that if you want to stay warm this winter, you should cover your entire body to prevent heat from escaping…including your head.

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 Sleep Affect Your Immune System?

Hispanic girl lying on her mother's lap

Lack of sleep can affect your immune system, but how? Studies show that people that don’t get quality sleep or enough hours of sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus like the flu. The recovery time from a cold is also prolonged as a result of not getting enough sleep.

Sleep deprivation may decrease production of the amount of infection-fighting antibodies and cells that strengthen the immune system. Essentially our bodies need sleep to fight infectious diseases and recover faster from common cold viruses.

How much sleep do you need to bolster your immune system? The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.

It’s very common to be told to get some rest when fighting off a cold or infection. Now we know why. As we move through cold and flu season, the key to staying healthy might just be getting a good night’s sleep.

However sleep does not always come easy to everyone. If you or someone you know is experiencing trouble with their sleep patterns, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Sleep Center is available to treat you. This state-of-the-art Sleep Center is a 4-bed unit that features comfortable, homelike rooms with sound proof walls for total privacy. For more information please call, 718-206-5916.

For more hospital events, highlights, health and  fitness tips, visit us on 

Facebook.com/JamaicaHospital and follow us on Twitter @JamaicaHospital !

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.

Asthma and Flu Season

Young woman using throat spray

Asthma is a lung disease that is caused by chronic inflammation of the airways, which can result in an asthma attack. During an attack, people experience symptoms such as wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing. Many things can trigger an asthma attack and one of the most common is the flu.

With flu season upon us, what impact can the flu have on those with asthma? According to the CDC, though people with asthma are not more likely to get the flu, an infection can be more serious for people with asthma, even if their asthma is mild or their symptoms are well-controlled by medication. An influenza infection can trigger asthma attacks and a worsening of asthma symptoms. It also can lead to pneumonia and other acute respiratory diseases. In fact, adults and children with asthma are more likely to develop pneumonia after getting sick with the flu than people who do not have asthma. Asthma is the most common medical condition among children hospitalized with the flu and one of the more common medical conditions among hospitalized adults.

If you have asthma, it is recommended that you get an annual influenza vaccine. Flu shots are generally recommended for people six months and older regardless of whether or not they have asthma. The flu shot has a long established safety record in people with asthma. In addition to getting the flu vaccine, proper hand-hygiene is strongly advised in order to prevent the spread of the flu.

If you do get sick with flu symptoms, speak with your doctor immediately to see if antiviral medications are an option for you. If prescribed, anti-viral drugs should be administered with 48 hours after the on-set of symptoms and can help minimize the effects of the flu. For people with asthma, this can help by reducing the risk of influenza from progressing into pneumonia or other respiratory diseases.

If you have asthma, and would like to receive a flu shot, please call Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment or visit our website at www.jamaicahospital.org to find our closest MediSys Family Care Center to your home.

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 tell the difference between a long lasting cold, bronchitis or pneumonia

difference between a cold and bronchitisThat dreaded time of year is here, it is cold season.  In the United States, this season starts around September and typically lasts until March or April.

Chances are like many, you may catch a cold. If you do, you may display symptoms that include sneezing, scratchy or sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, coughing, congestion or a low-grade fever. These symptoms are normal but can worsen when left untreated and may cause serious illnesses such as bronchitis or pneumonia to develop.

It is important to know when your condition is worsening. There are several signs that can help you to recognize when your common cold has become something more.

Here are some symptoms of bronchitis to look out for:

  • A cold that persists for two weeks or more
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Coughs that produce thick clear, white, green or yellow mucous or blood
  • Rapid breathing
  • Soreness of the chest

Pneumonia can develop after having a serious cold or flu. Symptoms can be mild or severe depending on factors such as age and your state of health. The symptoms of pneumonia can include:

  • Violent coughing spasms that produce very little mucous
  • Coughs with bloody or yellow or greenish mucous
  • Fever
  • Sharp or stabbing chest pain when you breathe deeply or cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Clammy skin or excessive sweating
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches

If your cold persists longer than two weeks and you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important that you contact your doctor as soon as possible. In severe cases, pneumonia can be life threatening.

To schedule an appointment with a physician 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.

Grandma’s Chicken Soup

chickensouppic

 

 

 

When you have a cold or flu, it is best to keep hydrated and drink at least eight glasses of fluid a day.  A great way to keep hydrated, help relieve the symptomscongested nose and sore throat is to eat chicken soup.

Researchers believe that substances in chicken soup can help reduce the inflammation associated with a cold or flu.

If you would like to test the effects of chicken soup on your cold or flu you may want to try

Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe –

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups wide egg noodles

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

12 cups chicken broth

1 ½ tablespoons salt

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup cornstarch

¼ cup water

3 cups diced, cooked chicken meat

Directions:

  1. Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add egg noodles and oil, boil for 8 minutes, or until tender.  Drain and rinse under cool running water.
  2. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine broth, salt, and poultry seasoning.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in celery and onion.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water together until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Gradually add to soup, stirring constantly.  Stir in noodles and chicken, and heat through.

Serves 12

For this and other easy, delicious recipes you may want to visit www.allrecipies.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.

Should You Breast Feed When You Are Sick?

BreastFeeding.SickThere are many benefits to breast feeding, but is it harmful to your child’s health when you are sick with a cold or virus?

Even when you are sick, your baby will almost always benefit from breastfeeding. In most instances, viruses are most likely transmitted before symptoms even occur. Breast feeding can actually help protect your baby from the virus since your breast milk produces the necessary antibodies to stave off the illness. In fact, even if your baby gets sick, it is usually a much milder case than anyone else in the house.

It is not a good idea for you to stop breast feeding abruptly because your breasts can become engorged, which can lead to painful inflammation, known as mastitis. Instead, while you are sick, ask a family member to bring the baby to you to nurse and take him way when you’re done so you can rest. Also, drink plenty of fluids when you are sick so you don’t become dehydrated and your milk supply does not decrease.

Some moms may also be concerned about taking medications while breastfeeding, but with few exceptions, over the counter medications are just fine. Some suggestions include:
• Avoid using extra or maximum strength pain medication or fever reducers.

• Medications that contain ibuprofen are recommended over those that contain acetaminophen.

• Try to use single ingredient, short acting forms of cold, cough, and allergy medications.

• Avoid taking aspirin as there is a small risk of infants developing Reye’s syndrome.

It is important however to carefully read medication labels and check with your physician before taking any drug while you are nursing. If you do not have a doctor, contact Jamaica Hospital’s Women’s Health Center at 718-291-3276 to make an appointment.

For more hospital events, highlights, health and  fitness tips, visit us on Facebook.com/JamaicaHospital and follow us on Twitter @JamaicaHospital !

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.