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.

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.

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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.

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.

5 Flu prevention tips

Flu-126438163According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu (influenza) season can begin as early as October and last until May. The peak season for flu activity within that period is estimated to be between December and March. During these months you should take the following precautions to help reduce your risk of spreading or contracting the virus.

  1. Keep your hands clean – Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of germs and the flu; however, if you are unable to wash your hands using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is also helpful.
  2. Avoid contact – Avoiding contact with those who have the flu is an effective way to prevent transmission. It is also recommended that you stay away from others if you have the virus. Take special care not to spread germs to children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems as they are more susceptible to getting the flu.

3:  Clean surfaces – Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with germs.

4: Avoid touching the eyes, mouth and nose – The eyes, nose and mouth all serve as points of entry for germs to get into your body.

5: Get the flu vaccine – The flu vaccine is highly effective in preventing the spread of the virus.  The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of six months should receive vaccination.  The vaccine can reduce the probability of serious flu-related illnesses or hospitalizations.

In addition to following these given tips, be sure to take care of your body by eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep.  Utilizing this flu-fighting combination will provide you with an effective strategy to help reduce your risk of contracting the virus.

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.