January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month.

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Jamaica Hospital would like to join the national effort to increase awareness about birth defects and what can cause them.

While not all birth defects are preventable, there are certain healthy behaviors that can be practiced to increase your chances of having a healthy baby.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following tips for preventing birth defects:

  • Take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. Folic acid is important because it can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. Most vitamins contain the recommended amount of folic acid, but women should check the label to be sure it contains 100% of the daily value (DV) of folic acid.
  • Speak with your healthcare provider before you begin or stop taking any medicine. If you are planning to become pregnant, discuss your current medicines with a healthcare provider, such as your doctor or pharmacist. Creating a treatment plan for your health condition before you are pregnant can help keep you and your developing baby healthy.
  • Remain up to date with all vaccines, including your flu shot. Vaccines help protect you and your developing baby against serious diseases. Get a flu shot and whooping cough vaccine (also called Tdap) during each pregnancy to help protect yourself and your baby.
  • Attempt to reach a healthy weight before getting pregnant. Obesity increases the risk for several serious birth defects and other pregnancy complications. If you are overweight (or underweight), speak with your healthcare provider about ways to maintain a healthy weight before you become pregnant.
  • Avoid harmful substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs during pregnancy. Smoking during pregnancy can harm the developing baby and can cause certain birth defects. Alcohol can also cause problems for a developing baby throughout pregnancy. Using certain drugs during pregnancy can cause health problems for a woman and her developing baby.

By following these recommended tips, you will be doing what is best for you and your baby.

Speak to your doctor about other ways to increase your chances of having a healthy baby. To make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Women’s Health Center, please call 718- 291-3276.

When is the Best Time to Get a Flu Vaccine ?

Flu season can start in September and run until May. Even before the summer is over, pharmacies start advertising that the flu vaccine is available. While many people believe that the best time to get a flu vaccine is as soon as possible, getting it in October probably is the best option. Some research has shown that the effects of the vaccine start to wear off after six months so we want to make sure we are well protected when the height of the flu season is upon us.

Every year the flu vaccine is different, manufactured with the hope that it will be effective against the prevalent strain expected for that year. It is estimated that it takes approximately two weeks for the vaccine to become fully effective, so being covered early is important. Everyone who is going to be vaccinated wants to be prepared before the peak of the flu season which runs from December to late March. If you would to schedule an appointment for a flu vaccine in the Ambulatory Care Center please call 718-206-7001.


Why It’s Important For Your Child To Get The Flu Shot This Year

Flu season is coming and once again, many parents wonder if they should get their children vaccinated. Below is some information about the flu vaccine that parents should know.


The flu is more serious than the common cold for kids. Young children often require medical care after getting the flu. In fact, each year, an average of 20,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized due to complications from the flu, and for some, the illness can even result in death.

The best way to protect your children from the flu is to get them vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all children six months and older get a seasonal flu vaccine. Ideally, the best time to get the flu vaccine is as soon as it becomes available as it usually takes up to two weeks before your child is fully protected.

Flu shots can be administered either by injection or by a nasal spray. The nasal spray flu vaccine can be given to children between two and eight years old. Side effects can include runny nose, cough, fever, wheezing, and head or muscle aches. The flu shot can be given to children ages six months and over. Side effects of the flu shot include soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site or a low-grade fever.

Children under six months old are too young to be vaccinated. The best defense for them is to make sure those around them are vaccinated.

Some children who get the flu shot may require two doses. If your child is under nine years old and has never gotten the shot before, two separate doses will be necessary. These doses must be administered at least four weeks apart.  If your child has gotten the seasonal flu vaccine before or is over nine years old, only one dose is required.

Please speak with your pediatrician before getting your child vaccinated if:

  • If your child isn’t feeling well
  • If your child recently had other vaccines
  • If your child has any medical conditions
  • If your child is allergic to eggs
  • If your child had a severe reaction to a previous flu vaccine

Please call your pediatrician now to schedule you child’s flu shot. If you do not have a pediatrician, please call Jamaica Hospital’s Pediatric Clinic at 718-206-7001 to make an appointment with one of our qualified pediatric specialists.