Tips To Make Sure the Ice in Your Freezer is Clean

There is nothing more refreshing on a warm summer day than an ice-filled cold beverage, but before you host your next summer gathering, make sure that the ice you serve is clean and free of harmful bacteria.

While ice is rarely considered to be the source of trouble, there are good reasons to take a second look at how ice is dispensed in your own home.  You may think most bacteria wouldn’t survive the icy conditions of a freezer. But they can. Bacteria and viruses such as listeria, E-coli and salmonella can live in freezing temperatures, meaning they may be alive in your ice cubes. With proper precautions however, you can eliminate the risk of these contaminants existing in the ice you serve.

Here are some tips:

  • Change Your Filter – Most ice makers in freezers use a secondary water filter to stop particles from contaminating the ice. To keep your ice clean, change the freezer’s water filter as frequently as the manufacturer recommends, about every six months.
  • Regular Cleaning – Don’t forget to defrost and deep clean your freezer at least once a year. As a rule of thumb, if the ice buildup in your freezer is a quarter-inch or thicker, then it’s time to defrost and clean it.
  • Use Ice Regularly – The slight melting and refreezing of cubes can allow pathogens to take hold. To avoid this, remove the ice storage bin from the freezer and dump any clumps into the sink. Since inactivity causes ice clumps to form, the easiest solution is to use the ice maker more frequently.
  • Organize Your Freezer – Make sure frozen foods are properly sealed or double-wrapped and avoid having them come into direct contact with ice in trays or bins. Also label all food with a use-by date and remove all expired foods from your freezer.
  • Don’t Use Your Hands – While all of the above tips are useful, the fact is that the most common way to spread germs is by placing unwashed hands in an ice container. Instead of using your hands, use a designated scooper or other tool to handle ice.

It is important to note that while the existence of contaminants in your ice might be disturbing to learn, the health risks associated with it is fairly minimal to the average immune system and the transmission of viruses are rare. Those more at risk are pregnant women, children, and people with a compromised immune system.

Regardless, it is always a good idea to take the proper precautions to reduce your chances of getting yourself or your guests sick.

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 Recognizes National Don’t Fry Day

The Friday before Memorial Day is designated National Don’t Fry Day – a day to raise awareness about sun safety and encourage everyone to take the necessary steps to protect their skin from cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the nation, with almost 5.5 million cases diagnosed in Americans each year – more than breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers combined.  In fact, one out of every five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer at some time in their lives.

Jamaica Hospital and the American Cancer Society would like to share the following tips to avoid frying in the sun this summer:

  • Seek shade during the peak time of day – the sun is at its strongest between 10:00am – 2:00 pm
  • Dress properly – Wear sun-protective clothing as well as UV blocking sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats
  • Use sunscreen – It is recommended that you apply sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 every 2 hours
  • Avoid tanning devices – These give-off UVA rays just like the sun.

By following these tips, you and your family can enjoy the sun, while protecting yourself from the harm that it can cause

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.

The Importance of Being Honest With Your Doctor

One of the most important factors in the physician / patient relationship is honesty. Doctors expect their patients to be truthful so they can provide appropriate care, but a 2018 study has revealed that as many as 80% of all patients lie or withhold information from their providers.

The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), identified many reasons for patients not fully disclosing information to their doctors. The most cited reason was that they did not want to be judged or lectured about their behaviors. This was followed by the lack of desire to hear how bad the behavior was for their health, as well as simply being embarrassed about their health choices.  Other responses included not wanting information in their medical record, not wanting to take up their doctor’s time, and wanting their healthcare provider to like them.

The failure to provide accurate information however is not always the patient’s fault as some reasons relate to poor physician communication. Several patients revealed that they do not always fully understand their doctor’s questions.  Another reason why some patients admitted to not being truthful was to avoid disagreeing with their provider about their recommended treatment plan.

The topics that patients most commonly fail to be 100% honest with their doctor about include their diet, lack of exercise, sexual activity, medication management, and adherence to their treatment plan. The study revealed that some of the patients who were most dishonest to their provider were those in poor health.

This can be a potentially serious problem as patients withholding information from their doctors can prevent them from receiving the right care and can be dangerous to their overall health. According to researchers from this study, “Patients who aren’t forthright with their health information face unpleasant and sometimes life-threatening side effects from regimens their doctors give them.”

While much of the responsibility to be more forthcoming lies with the patient, those in the healthcare industry acknowledge that they can also help the situation. Knowing that there is a high-likelihood that patients might avoid disclosing important information, physicians need to make every attempt to be less judgmental and make every attempt to put their patients at ease.

By building a trusting and honest relationship, doctors and patients can work together so that the best care is provided.

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.

The Benefits (And Some Warnings) About Using The Internet To Manage Your Health

The internet is a wonderful tool for us to gather information. One of the subjects that many use the internet for is to learn more about their health. Using online searches to increase your understanding about a potential or existing medical condition can be beneficial, but doctors do have warnings about how and when to utilize this technology.

There is no doubt that the internet has changed the physician – patient dynamic. It is estimated that over 90 percent of adults in the United States have access to the internet and approximately 75 percent of them have used it to conduct a search about a health condition within the last year.

For the most part, online searches are being done by patients before they see their doctor to determine if a visit is even necessary.  Some patients are armed with a plethora of knowledge when they arrive for their appointment, and they are asking their physician to confirm rather than diagnose a condition.  In other instances, many patients are using the internet to discuss medication and treatment options with their doctor as well as referrals for specialists.

But how are these internet searches affecting the doctor-patient relationship? If used correctly, doctors usually welcome and embrace their patient’s increased knowledge about their condition. They believe that an educated and engaged patient is better equipped to better manage their condition and make the correct lifestyle choices to improve their health. Most physicians also believe that if their patients come to them having already picked up some information online, they will get more out of the visit based on their increased knowledge of their condition. Lastly, many doctors use the internet as a valuable tool to reinforce what they are advising to those patients who may be otherwise skeptical of a diagnosis or treatment option.

Even with all of its advantages, doctors do warn that using the internet as a medical resource does have its pitfalls. Physicians want patients to understand that health information on the internet is endless and not all of it is accurate.  Relying on incorrect information can cause patients to either worry needlessly over a false self-diagnosis, or worse, fail to seek treatment after incorrectly believing that they do not need medical attention.

The information found on the internet is intended to be supplemental, and not replace seeing your physician. The best recommendation to incorporate information obtained online is to bring it with you to your appointment and review it with your doctor. By collaborating with your provider you can build a better relationship that can ultimately lead to better health outcomes.

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 Offers Tips To Manage Your Children’s Vaccinations During World Immunization Week

It is World Immunization Week; an observance led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise public awareness about how immunizations can save lives. During this week-long event, efforts are made to encourage parents to vaccinate their children against a variety of preventable diseases.

Immunizations prevent illness, disability and death from many diseases, including:

  • Cervical cancer
  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis B
  • Measles, mumps and rubella
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Pneumonia
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus diarrhea
  • Tetanus

Despite all their benefits, there is still an estimated 18.7 million infants worldwide still missing out on basic vaccines.

One of the best ways for parents to keep track of their children’s immunization history and make sure they are up-to-date on all of their vaccinations is by setting up an electronic medical record (EMR), like MyChart, which is available for free to all Jamaica Hospital patients.

In addition to allowing parents to access to their children’s records, including their immunization history, MyChart also gives patients the ability to:

  • Review test results online
  • Review health education topics
  • Access discharge instructions
  • Request prescription refills online
  • Interact with your provider via email
  • Request an appointment

To create an account is easy. All a patient needs to do is go to the Jamaica Hospital website and click the link to MediSys MyChart: https://mychart.medisys.org and click on the “sign up now” tab.

World Immunization Week is an opportunity for Jamaica Hospital to remind parents of the importance of maintaining their children’s vaccinations and how MyChart can help them do that. My making it easy to access their immunization history, parents can make sure their children are properly protected.

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 Medical Center Announces Partnership with LegalHealth to Provide Legal Services to Our Patients

On a daily basis New Yorkers, especially low-income residents, face challenging financial and social issues. These factors can negatively impact their lives in many ways, most notably their physical and mental health. Lack of access to adequate housing, food, or safe and secure employment can impede their ability to seek and receive appropriate healthcare services for themselves and their families.  Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is working to remove these barriers by offering free legal services to its patients.

Every week an attorney from LegalHealth, a division of the New York Legal Assistance Group, comes to Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center to provide legal counsel to hospital patients on issues relating to government benefits, housing, workplace conditions, and immigration and credit problems. LegalHealth also assists patients and families develop advanced planning directives, wills and legal matters affecting families.

It is well established that unmet social needs have a direct correlation with poor health.  Social factors, such as food insecurity have been closely linked to higher risk of chronic conditions. Studies show that those who lose their jobs are 83% more likely to develop stress-related health conditions such as heart disease and stroke.

Jamaica Hospital made the commitment to fund the LegalHealth clinic knowing that addressing these issues will ultimately improve the health of its patients and potentially reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital admissions.  According to Dr. Alan Roth, Chairman of Family Medicine at Jamaica Hospital, “By understanding these social determinants that our patients encounter on a daily basis and providing a resource to have them addressed, Jamaica Hospital and LegalHealth can remove many of the obstacles that prevent our community from improving and maintaining healthier lives.”

LegalHealth is also providing ongoing training to Jamaica Hospital’s providers to equip them with the necessary tools to help them identify any social, financial or other problems patients are experiencing which can be addressed with legal support.

The Legal Health clinic opened at Jamaica Hospital in January 2019 and is on site weekly.

Patients who utilize LegalHealth services are assured of complete confidentiality and services are completely free to Jamaica Hospital patients.

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.

March is National Nutrition Month

March has been designated as National Nutrition Month –  an annual nutrition, education and information campaign that focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.  In honor of this special observance, Jamaica Hospital would like to share with our community the important role our Registered Dieticians (RDs) play in helping our patients meet their nutritional goals.

What is a Registered Dietitian?

A Registered Dietitian is a trained nutrition professional who has met the strict educational and experiential standards set forth by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

They  can be employed in a variety of areas including hospitals, outpatient clinics, corporate wellness programs, food service operations, universities, research, or private practice, just to name a few.

RDs advise and counsel others on food and nutrition. They explain nutrition issues to their patients, develop meal plans for them and measure the effects of those plans.

To become an RD, you must:

  • Complete a Bachelor’s degree with coursework approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Complete a 1200 hour dietetic internship which is an accredited, supervised practice program at a health care facility, community program or a food service corporation
  • Pass a national registration exam
  • Complete continuing professional education credits.

At Jamaica Hospital, dietitians are available for the following services: nutrition assessment, diet instruction, recommendations for enteral and parenteral support, staff in-service, food and drug interactions, and nutrition counseling in the outpatient setting.

Jamaica Hospital would like to thank our Registered Dieticians for the very important job they do every day. Their hard work help our patients and community live a much healthier lifestyle.

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.

When is it Okay to Request a Second Opinion From Your Doctor?

Receiving news that you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a serious or rare medical condition can be very overwhelming and scary. While it is important to listen to and follow your doctor’s instructions, it is also appropriate in these situations to seek the advice of other professionals and request a second opinion.

Unfortunately, less than half of the people diagnosed with a serious or life-threatening disease request a second opinion. The most frequent reasons individuals cited for not doing so include: feeling an urgency to seek treatment right away, lack of access to experts or centers of excellence, fear that their insurance carrier would not cover the cost, and concerns about offending their doctor.

In most cases, these reasons are unmerited; in reality, many conditions do not require immediate treatment and most physicians welcome a second opinion. In addition, many insurance providers allow for second opinions and can even help identify local experts that participate in your plan.

So, when is getting a second opinion a good idea? According to WebMD, the following circumstances are appropriate:

  • Where the treatment is very risky or toxic
  • Where the diagnosis is not clear, the treatment is experimental, or there is no established consensus or Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment
  • If you’re considering participating in a trial for a new drug
  • If you’re considering some new experimental approach or a procedure that involves using experimental instruments or devices.

In many cases, second opinions are very beneficial.  In fact, a recent study highlighted their potential value.  Researchers found  that as many as 88% of those who sought a second opinion for a complex medical condition had a new diagnosis that changed their treatment plan, and 21% received a completely different diagnosis.

If you would like to seek a second opinion, but are unsure of how to start the conversation with your doctor, try some of these tips.

  • Tell your doctor you want to be sure that you explore all your treatment options. This may include looking into several surgical and non-surgical interventions.
  • Let your doctor know that you always talk to more than one expert when you need to make an important decision, whether it’s a medical, financial, or personal decision.
  • Explain to your doctor that a second opinion would give you peace of mind that your diagnosis and treatment plan are the best option for you.

Even if a second opinion doesn’t change your diagnosis or treatment plan, you can feel satisfied that you made a well-informed decision.

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 Treat Your Baby’s Diaper Rash

Ask any new mom or dad what their least favorite part about becoming a parent is and the answer you will most often get is changing their baby’s diaper. It is a task that no one loves, but it is important because parents must be aware of the development of diaper rash.

Diaper rash occurs when the skin on your baby’s bottom, thighs, or genital area becomes inflamed. The result is the appearance of a patchwork of bright red skin or scales. While diaper rash can be alarming to parents, it is actually fairly common among babies.

In addition to the physical signs of diaper rash, your baby may also display a change in their disposition. Babies with diaper rash are uncomfortable and will generally seem fussier. They will also most likely cry more during diaper changes.

Diaper rash grows in warm, moist places and the most common cause for its development is when a baby’s diaper isn’t changed frequently enough. When a diaper isn’t changed often, the exposure to stool or urine can cause irritation.

Other causes of diaper rash can include:

  • Sensitive skin
  • Allergic reaction to the diaper
  • Introduction of new foods
  • Diaper being placed on too tight, resulting in chaffing
  • Bacterial or yeast infection

Diaper rash is more likely to develop when babies get older (9-12 months old) and are more mobile and begin a diet of solid foods. Sleeping in dirty diapers can increase your baby’s chances of developing diaper rash.  Taking antibiotics and having diarrhea can also be contributing factors.

If your baby develops diaper rash, be sure to change their diaper frequently. Try dressing them in loose, breathable clothing and even allow them go diaper free for as long as possible.  When cleaning your child, gently pat the infected area and avoid wiping or rubbing. Use water when changing, but if a more thorough cleaning is required, only use mild soaps and avoid any products with fragrances or alcohol.  Parents can also use paste or barrier creams that contain zinc to soothe the skin and prevent contact with feces or other irritants. Avoid using baby powder as it can harm a baby’s lungs.

In most cases diaper rash will clear up on its own when the above techniques are followed, but you should contact your pediatrician if the rash fails to improve or gets worse within 2-3 days, if you notice yellow, fluid-filled bumps, or your baby develops a fever. These may be signs of an infection.

To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician at Jamaica Hospital, 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.

Is Taking Zinc Beneficial for Treating a Cold ?

Using zinc is one of the many home remedies people take when they feel like they have a common cold. Those who use it believe that it helps to shorten the duration of the cold and even lessen its symptoms.

The common cold is caused by the rhinovirus. This virus enters the body through the nasal passageway and the throat and multiplies rapidly once it is there.
The theory behind taking zinc is that it helps to prevent the virus from multiplying once it is in the body, thereby potentially shortening the duration of the cold. It also plays an important role in the body’s ability to resist infection and to help tissue repair.

The best way to take zinc is in lozenge form. It is recommended that the lozenge contain 13 to 23 milligrams of zinc and no more than four be taken per day, and not for more than four or five days. Taking too much zinc can actually suppress the immune system and can cause an upset stomach and give you a metallic taste in your mouth. While zinc is also available as a throat spray, it has side effects such as loss of the ability to smell.

Increasing the daily intake of zinc may help to prevent a cold.  Some foods where zinc  is found include:
• Shellfish
• Beans
• Dairy products
• Red meat
• Nuts

It is important to note that drinking coffee, tea or taking certain medications can inhibit the absorption of zinc by the intestines.

It is a good idea to speak with your physician before taking it to make sure that is safe for you. If you would like to be seen by a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center you may call 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment.

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.