Swim Safety

Summertime is here. That means time will be spent at beaches and pools where we can cool off. Here are some important things to know before getting in the water.

When around a body of water, there is always a risk of drowning. Drowning only takes a moment and often happens in silence. A child or a weak swimmer can drown in the time it takes to send a text, check a fishing line, or apply sunscreen.

Death and injury from drowning happen every day in home pools and hot tubs, at the beach, or in oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, bathtubs, and even buckets.

Here are some facts and statistics on drowning:

  • It is the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4 years old, and the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 5-14.
  • About 40% of drowning deaths among children ages 5-14 occur in natural water like lakes, rivers, or oceans.
  • More than half of the fatal and non-fatal drownings among people 15 years or older occur in natural waters.

Drowning can also be non-fatal. Non-fatal drowning can result in long-term health problems and costly hospital stays. Drowning injuries can cause brain damage and other serious outcomes, including long-term disability.

There are steps that you can take to prevent death or injury. Water safety is key, so being water-competent is imperative.

Here are three components of water competency:

  1. Water Smarts
  • Put a fence around your home swimming pool. It should be at least four feet high, fully enclose the pool, and separate from the house. It needs a self-closing and self-latching gate. All toys that might attract a child should be removed when the pool isn’t used.
  • Know your limitations, including physical fitness, and medical conditions.
  • Never swim alone. Swim with friends or where there are lifeguards or water watchers present. Always wear a life jacket while boating, regardless of swimming skill. Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket appropriate for your weight, size, and water activity. Floaties, armbands, or water wings do not prevent children from drowning and can easily slip off, especially when kids jump in the water. Water wings can produce a false sense of safety for parents and children.
  • Swim sober.
  • Understand the dangers of hyperventilation and hypoxic blackout.
  • Know how to call for help.
  • Understand and adjust for the unique risks of the water environment such as:
  • River currents.
  • Ocean rip currents.
  • Water temperature.
  • Shallow or unclear water.
  • Underwater hazards, such as vegetation and animals.
  1. Swimming Skills

Swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning, but over half of U.S. adults have never taken a swimming lesson. Learn how to perform these five skills in every type of water environment that you may encounter:

  • Make sure you can get in and out of the water safely.
  • Float or tread water for at least 1 minute.
  • Turn over and turn around in the water.
  • Swim at least 25 yards.
  • Exit the water.
  1. Helping Others

These actions will help your family and loved ones avoid emergencies – and help you respond if an emergency occurs:

  • Closely pay attention to children or weak swimmers in and near the water.
  • Knowing the signs that someone is drowning.
  • Knowing ways to safely assist a drowning person, such as “reach or throw, don’t go”.
  • Knowing CPR and first aid.

 

It is important to be well-prepared when in and around pools and bodies of water. If you or someone you are with are experiencing an emergency, call 911 immediately.

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.

Mental Health Therapy for Trauma Survivors

An older man experiencing receiving trauma support from a therapist.Trauma can have a significant negative impact on your mental health. If you’ve been a victim of a serious injury, abuse, or a catastrophic event in your personal life, you face a higher likelihood of developing conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can create new challenges in various aspects of your daily life. To reduce this risk or learn to overcome conditions such as PTSD, it’s important to seek help from a qualified mental health professional.

Psychiatrists and other mental healthcare providers can use a variety of techniques to help you learn to process your trauma in a healthy way. One of the most effective tools available for providing this care is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on:

  • Finding unhealthy and unhelpful patterns in your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  • Identifying how these patterns contribute to any challenges you experience in your daily life
  • Changing these patterns to help you overcome the challenges you face

Therapists may also use other variations of CBT during your treatment, depending on what particular mental health problems you experience in connection with your trauma. These alternatives include:

  • Cognitive processing therapy, which focuses on challenging and changing beliefs you’ve developed because of your trauma
  • Cognitive therapy, which focuses on helping you evaluate or remember your trauma in a way that is less disruptive or more helpful for your ability to function
  • Prolonged exposure, which helps you learn to approach trauma-related thoughts, feelings, or situations that you may be avoiding

Other treatment approaches, including medication and other forms of psychotherapy, may also be available for people who have experienced trauma, depending on the nature of their symptoms and responsiveness to standard treatment.

You can find compassionate, effective therapeutic treatment or support for trauma-related mental health conditions at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry, as well as our new Trauma Survivors support program. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-5575.

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.

Can Your Pet Be A Distraction To You While You Drive?

There are many known driving distractions that we are warned to avoid while on the road. These include: talking or texting on your mobile device, eating or drinking, attending to personal grooming, or adjusting our vehicle’s radio or navigation system. While it is important to be mindful of each of these potential distractions, there is another type of distraction that doesn’t get as much attention – driving with our pets.

Many people take their dogs or cats in the car with them when they run local errands; others bring them along for long road trips. During these excursions, our pets often have free reign of the vehicle, will place their head out the car window, and in some cases, even sit in the driver’s lap. These activities, while adorable, can pose great danger to not only the operator of the vehicle, but also the other passengers, fellow motorists, and even the pets themselves.

A recent study of individuals who frequently travel with their pets in the car revealed some very startling facts about their behaviors. The survey concluded that 64 percent of drivers admitted to engaging in a potentially distracting pet-related activity, and 29 percent admitted to actually being distracted by their pets. Some of the activities noted in the study included petting or playing with their pets, allowing them to stay in their lap, feeding them treats, and taking photos of them.  The same study determined 84 percent allowed their pets to ride in their vehicle while unrestrained.

To avoid these types of distractions while driving, motorists should consider purchasing a safety device for their dog or cat. There are two types of devices to choose from:

  • Pet seat belts – They are easy to use and work in tandem with your normal seat belt. Check to make sure the pet belt is the right size for your animal. One that’s too big or too small is counterproductive and can cause unnecessary injuries.
  • Pet carriers- Look for a sturdy carrier with ample ventilation and plenty of room for your pet to turn around and stretch out. Also, make sure you secure the carrier so that it stays safely in place if you suddenly brake or get into an accident.


Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Division warns that driving with your beloved pet in the car doesn’t need to be dangerous. Take some time to make sure you can safely restrain your pet to maximize safety for you and your lovable friend.

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.

Bruises – Why We Get Them

A bruise is a common injury that causes the skin to become discolored. When there is bleeding beneath the surface of the skin it becomes evident as a black and blue mark. Eventually, if the person is healthy, the skin will reabsorb the blood and the black and blue mark will fade. A bruise may hurt at first but the pain subsides usually before the discoloration goes away.

 

 

Bruising occurs more frequently in:

  • Older people because their skin isn’t as thick as it once was.
  • Women because they typically have thinner skin.
  • People who exercise vigorously.
  • People who take anti-coagulating medications such as aspirin.
  • People who use topical or oral cortical steroids bruise more easily because it can make the skin thinner
  • People who use the dietary supplement ginkgo can also cause the skin to bruise more easily because it acts as a blood thinner

People who bruise easily should be checked to see if they have serious medical conditions. This would include having blood clotting issues due to taking certain medications or not having the correct amount of blood clotting proteins in the body. Bruising can also be a sign of physical abuse and this must be followed up with a physician or with the police if it is noticed and there is no explanation as to why it occurred.

Treating a bruise includes using a cold compress, elevating an extremity if it is on an arm or leg, taking acetaminophen for discomfort, and after the initial 48 hours, using a warm compress to help the flow of blood in the area.

While most bruises will resolve on their own, it is important to get medical attention if the bruise has a lot of swelling and pain or if it doesn’t start to resolve in two weeks and is still present after a month. Any bruising of the head or the eye should be followed up with a physician.

You can schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center by calling 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.

Safety Tips for Driving at Night

The National Safety Council estimates that even though we do only a quarter of our driving at night, approximately 50% of all traffic accidents occur after dark. This leaves many wondering why so many accidents take place at night.

One of the main reasons is that at night, our depth perception is reduced, as is peripheral vision and the ability to see colors. We are also more likely to be more tired at night which can affect our reflexes. People who don’t get enough sleep or who have been working long hours are more prone to having an accident.

Another factor that can affect our ability to drive and see well at night is age. According to the National Safety Council, a person who is older than fifty years of age may need twice as much light to see well as a person who is only 30. Older drivers may also have compromised vision as a result of degenerative eye diseases or cataracts.

There are a few precautions drivers can take to prevent accidents while driving at night. Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma service and the National Safety Council recommends the following:

  • Keeping the windshield clean
  • Making sure headlights are aimed properly
  • Reducing  your speed
  • Turning your headlights on as soon as it starts to get dark so others can see you
  • Increasing  the distance between your car and the car ahead
  • Pulling over if you feel too tired to drive
  • Getting at least seven hours of sleep

Older drivers are encouraged to get annual eye exams to make sure that their eyes are healthy. These annual exams can also see if there are cataracts forming which can impair vision, and can check to see if eyeglass prescriptions are needed.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5900.

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’s Trauma Service Wants to Educate the Public on How to “Stop the Bleed”

What would you if you encountered a traumatic event where someone was bleeding and no medical professional was immediately available? Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Division wants to make you aware of a national campaign called “Stop the Bleed” that can help in these types of situations.

Uncontrolled bleeding is the number one cause of preventable death from trauma.  Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign that was initiated by the White House in 2015 to bring attention to this very serious situation. It is a collaboration of a number of Federal agencies, non- profit organizations and corporations. The purpose of this campaign is to teach as many people as possible what to do when faced with a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives. When an emergency arises often the first people on the scene will be non-medical professionals without much training in first aid. This campaign serves to train as many people as possible on what to do until help arrives.

These are the ABC’s to follow when someone is bleeding: :

  • A – Alert
  • Either call 9-1-1 or have another bystander make the call
  • B – Bleeding
  • Find the source of the bleed
  • C – Compress
  • Apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Cover the wound with a clean cloth and apply pressure with both hands, apply a tourniquet when possible, or pack the wound with gauze or a clean cloth

In addition it is important to assess the situation so that you can ensure your own safety. When it is possible, you should protect yourself from blood and blood products by using gloves and other protective gear when available.

If you would like to obtain more information on learning how to Stop the Bleeding, please visit the website

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’s Trauma Team Offers Driving Safety Tips to Seniors

Everyone remembers the day they passed their road test and received their driver’s license. Getting a license opens up a world of options for drivers and provides them with a sense of independence that they didn’t have before.

If you received your license a long time ago, and are now a senior citizen driver, you may begin to notice certain limitations that could potentially impact your ability to operate a vehicle. While for some, driving at an advanced age may no longer be advised, most seniors can still enjoy the benefits of driving by taking a few extra precautions.

Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Division is offering the following tips to senior drivers to help them avoid injury to themselves, other drivers or pedestrians while on the road.

  • Have Your Vision and Hearing Checked Regularly – Be aware of any ocular conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration that might affect your vision. If you wear glasses or contacts, make sure you wear them while driving. Similarly, if you require a hearing aid, make sure you don’t drive without one as it is an important device to help you hear car horns and emergency sirens.
  • Be Aware of Other Health Factors – Pain or stiffness in the joints can limit mobility and your ability to check mirrors or turn your head. Chronic fatigue can be a problem, especially during long drives, and certain chronic conditions such as diabetes or seizure disorders can affect your safety. Side effects from medications can also impact driving and should be discussed with your doctor or pharmacist before driving.
  • Know Your Limitations – As you age, it’s important to acknowledge that certain motor functions might not be as sharp as they once were and should be taken into consideration while on the road. It is advised that seniors should increase their following distance, use their brakes earlier, try to anticipate situations before they occur, and try to avoid highly trafficked areas when possible.
  • Avoid Dangerous Driving Conditions – Controlling your car in inclement weather, such as rain or snow is more difficult and therefore should be avoided. Driving at night can also pose increased risks because reaction times are often affected during this time of day.  Lastly, driving during rush hour presents additional opportunities for accidents to occur because other drivers tend to be more aggressive and inpatient. Under these conditions.

Getting older doesn’t mean that you can no longer drive. By following these tips, you can continue to drive without feeling as if you are a danger to yourself or others.

If however, you feel concerned about your ability to drive, it doesn’t mean you have to give up your independence. There are many car fare services and public transportation options that can still get you where you want to go.

 

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.

Safety Tips on How to Avoid Being a Distracted Pedestrian

There has been a great deal of attention paid to the dangers associated with distracted driving.  We have seen the public service announcements warning drivers not to text or talk on their phones while behind the wheel, but what about the dangers of being a distracted pedestrian?

There has been a recent and dramatic increase in the number of pedestrians struck by automobiles and killed in recent years. While some of this can be attributed to distracted drivers, those not paying attention to their surroundings while crossing the street has also been reported to play a role in many incidents. One study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University concluded that the number of pedestrians (or “petextrians” as they are commonly referred to) injured while on their cellphones has doubled over the last decade.

Studies suggest that distracted walkers take longer to cross the street and are more likely to ignore traffic lights or neglect to look both ways while crossing. These problems are particularly prevalent among teens, but it’s important to note that all age groups are vulnerable to these dangers.

Safety experts agree that the most important advice for pedestrians is to never use a cell phone or other electronic device while walking. Here are some other tips to stay safe and avoid injury while crossing the streets:

  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street; looking left a second time is necessary because a car can cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time
  • Make eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles to make sure they see you
  • Be aware of drivers even when you’re in a crosswalk; vehicles have blind spots
  • Don’t wear headphones while walking
  • If your view is blocked, move to a place where you can see oncoming traffic
  • Never rely on a car to stop
  • Only cross at designated crosswalks
  • Wear bright and/or reflective clothing
  • Walk in groups

Walking is one of the best things we can do to stay healthy, but only if we put safety first. Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Division wants to warn our community that the risk for injury and death escalates when a pedestrian is not focused on his or her environment and our staff wants to spread the word on how pedestrians can avoid senseless injuries and death.

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.

Information About Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury is a very serious public health issue in the United States. A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is categorized into two major types of injuries: Penetrating Injuries and Closed Head Injuries. Penetrating injuries occur when a foreign object (e.g., a bullet) enters the brain and causes damage to specific brain parts. Closed Head Injuries result from a blow to the head as occurs, for example, in a car accident when the head strikes the windshield or dashboard.

Between 2002 and 2011, the number of children making trips to emergency rooms for brain injuries increased by 92 percent. During the same time, the number of those admitted to the hospital for further observation or treatment also increased by about 10 percent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called traumatic brain injury an “invisible epidemic,” because unlike other injuries, such as broken bones, the symptoms are not always immediately identifiable. According to the CDC, almost 500,000 emergency room visits for traumatic brain injuries each year are made by children under the age of 14. And each year, emergency rooms nationwide treat nearly 175,000 sports-related traumatic brain injuries among children under the age of 19.

With March being Brain Injury Awareness Month, The Jamaica Hospital Department of Surgery Trauma Division wants to make sure you and your loved ones recognize traumatic brain injuries in children.

Call 9-1-1 or take the child to the emergency department right away if after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body the child exhibits one or more of the following danger signs:

  • One pupil larger than the other
  • Is drowsy or cannot be awakened
  • A headache that gets worse
  • Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Slurred speech
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Cannot recognize people or places
  • Becomes increasingly confused, restless

The following are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Brain Injury Association of America to reduce the chances that you or your family members will have a brain injury:

  • Always buckle your child into a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt (according to the child’s height, weight, and age) in the car.
  • Make sure your children wear helmets when riding a bike, scooter, or playing a contact sport, such as football, baseball or ice hockey.
  • Avoid falls in the home by: Installing window guards to keep young children from falling out of open windows. Using safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around. Using non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors;

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.

Avoid Serious Injury When Grilling – Practice These Safety Tips

Warm weather brings people outdoors for all kinds of activities. One of the most popular is outdoor grilling. Whether it be the all – American hotdogs and hamburgers, chicken, steak, fish and vegetables, everything tastes better on a grill, but grilling can be dangerous if precautions aren’t taken.

Following these rules will make grilling safe:

 
• Keep the grill at least ten feet away from your house, garage, porch, and automobile
• Always keep the grill clean
• Remove any grease and fat build up
• Keep a hose fire extinguisher, or a bucket of water nearby
• Check for leaks if you are using a gas grill
• Make sure the area is well ventilated
• Keep away from decorations and other flammable objects
• Keep small children away from the grill
• Never leave the grill unattended
• Keep the lid open when starting the fire to avoid build-up of gas
• Do not grill indoors with an outdoor grill
• Do not overload the grill with food

Don’t let your summer grilling be memorable for the wrong reasons. Every year people end up with serious injuries because they weren’t careful. Remember that a grill uses a flame to cook and regardless of it being charcoal or gas that is fueling it, it can get out of control quickly. Take your time and do it the right way and you will have a wonderful meal every time.

 

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.