Staph Infection on the Skin

Red pimple

Staphylococcus Aureus (staph) is a group of bacteria that can cause many diseases. It is commonly found on the skin in most people and it usually doesn’t cause infection until it enters the body through breaks in the skin or with food. These infections can range from being mild (not requiring any treatment) to very severe.
When staph infections develop on the skin, they can take on many different forms depending on the severity. The wound may be superficial (boils, abscess, furuncle) or deep (cellulitis). Usually these skin lesions are red, swollen and tender to the touch. There may also be pus that drains from the infection site. Severe infections which have entered the blood stream cause sepsis and manifest with high fever, chills, low blood pressure, and eventually shock.
Staph infections tend to be contagious when there is direct skin to skin contact with an infected wound.  They can also be transmitted with shared razors, gloves, socks, needles, and bandages. Prevention of staph infections can be achieved with frequent hand washing, avoiding contact with open wounds, and thorough cleansing of scrapes and cuts as soon as they occur.
People who are at higher risk for developing staph infections include:
• Diabetics
• Newborns
• Patients with cancer, lung disease, and vascular disease
• Intravenous drug users
• People with weakened immune systems
Treatment for staph infections depends on the severity. If it is a minor skin lesion, cleaning it with soap and water regularly may be sufficient whereas other wounds may require topical antibiotic ointments. More severe wounds will require surgical intervention and oral or intravenous antibiotics to control further spreading and eventually resolve the infection.
Minor skin rashes in children can be treated by a pediatrician and for adults by an internist or family medicine doctor.  More severe wounds and wounds that are difficult to heal may require the specialized care offered in the wound care clinic. To schedule an appointment with the appropriate physician, please call 718-670-5486.

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.

Power of Positive Thinking

positivethinking

According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health.

Try these morning affirmations and get your day started right:

  • Today, I will think pure and positive thoughts
  • Today, I release the past and move into the present
  • Today, I choose to have joy
  • Today, I choose peace
  • Today, I realize that I am worthy of good things
  • Today, I begin to make healthy choices for my body, mind and soul
  • Today, I claim that the healthier I live my life, the better my life will be
  • Today, I like who I am

 

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.

What Are the Keys to Successful Aging?

Understanding Physical and Mental Health: Depression
Ira Frankel, PhD, LCSW, Administrator of Psychiatry and Addiction Services

“Just as long as we have our health,” is something that I’ve said and have heard others say very frequently in the past few months. And, by health, we mean both physical and mental health.

Portrait of a senior man in a tuxedo showing the thumbs up

In a very basic way, health can be thought of as the absence of disease. A reason that our doctors ask us how we’re feeling when we go to see him or her is because he or she wants to know about our comfort or our absence of pain or trouble. Each one of us knows best what our physical or mental pain or trouble consists of because we feel it directly.

Another way to think of the issue of health is to describe the path to achieve it over the long course of our lives. Studies1 have shown that a path to health is achieved with a behavioral prescription for successful aging that includes diet, exercise, the pursuit of mental challenges, self-efficacy, and social support. The more we are able to follow this behavioral prescription, the more we will be free from physical or mental pain or trouble.

Let’s look at this a little more closely. Most of us already know that if we maintain a healthy diet and exercise frequently, then we will tend to be healthier. In fact, exercise is now considered a “magic bullet” in modern medicine. But, maintaining a good diet and exercising frequently is a mental challenge of self-mastery. And, most of us know how difficult it is to master ourselves to maintain both activities. There are many other mental challenges. For example, each one of us is a mental challenge to other people. In fact, getting along with others is one of the most difficult mental challenges that we will ever have to face.

The fourth successful aging ingredient is self-efficacy. Those of us who believe that we can achieve a particular goal, for example, health and longevity, will continue to do the things, such as diet, exercise, and the pursuit of mental challenges, which will help us achieve the goal. We can build up self-efficacy by taking small, rather than giant steps, towards diet, exercise, and the pursuit of mental challenges

The final successful aging ingredient is social support. If we help each other take the steps described in the previous paragraphs, then each one of us will be more likely to feel at ease, that is, without disease, successfully age, and live longer.

Self-mastery is necessary for both physical and mental health. The behavioral prescription for successful aging in the previous paragraphs are just a general outline of self-mastery steps. Self-mastery is a mental challenge.

Many things get in the way of self-mastery. One of these things is depression. If we are depressed, then we have a hard time maintaining a good diet, exercising as we should, thinking well about self-mastery, feeling self-efficacy, or being with and getting along with other people. There is a fairly simple way to ask ourselves whether we are depressed. It is called the PHQ-2, which stands for the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 because it has two questions.

Ask yourself: Over the past 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following symptoms: 1) Little interest or pleasure in doing things; and, 2) Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless. Answers are either (0) not at all, (1) several days, (2) more than half the days, or (3) nearly every day. Bring your answers to your primary care doctor the next time you see him or her.

Taking the self-mastery steps towards successful aging and longevity is a main task of modern medicine. Taking the self-mastery steps is a very important mental challenge. If you are experiencing any difficulties taking these steps, such as depression or any other difficulty on your path to ease and comfort, then speak with your primary care doctor in the community or one at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-8939

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.

What Could Wrist Pain be Telling You ?

Wrist pain

Wrist pain

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is characterized by numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand caused by pressure exerted on a major nerve and tendons in the wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway on the palm side of the wrist through which passes the median nerve and these tendons.  It usually starts gradually with numbness in the thumb, index and middle fingers that at first may appear to come and go and then as it progressively worsens, remains constant. Four out of the five fingers will eventually be affected, the little finger is exempt. It generally affects women more frequently than men.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
• Tingling or numbness of the thumb, index finger and middle fingers
• Weakness of the hand with difficulty holding on to objects
Compression of the median nerve can be caused by a few different factors. Some people have naturally occurring smaller carpal tunnels which can lead to increased likely hood of damage. Any damage to that area of the wrist can cause a problem. A previous wrist fracture or anything that may cause swelling in that area can lead to the problem developing. In addition, there are certain health related issues such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, and arthritis which can be associated with this condition.
Temporary relief from the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can be addressed  by:
• taking quick breaks from repetitive activities of the hand
• rotate your wrists and stretch your palms and fingers
• avoid sleeping on your hands and wrists
• ultrasound therapy which makes the area of the wrist warm and more flexible

Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome really depends on what the cause is and how severe it has become.  If symptoms appear, never wait too long before seeking treatment options as this can lead to permanent damage. Some simple remedies include stopping any activity that may be compressing the nerve, putting ice on the wrist for 10 – 15 minutes once or twice an hour, taking anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling, and wearing a night splint to take the pressure off of the nerve. Some cases can be helped with injections of corticosteroids. When the condition is really severe, surgical intervention may be required.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and would like to be treated by a orthopedic physician at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

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.

What to Know About Bacterial Skin Disorders

Red pimple

Red pimple

Staphylococcus Aureus (staph) is a group of bacteria that can cause many diseases. It is commonly found on the skin in most people and it usually doesn’t cause infection until it enters the body through breaks in the skin or with food. These infections can range from being mild (not requiring any treatment) to very severe.
When staph infections develop on the skin, they can take on many different forms depending on the severity. The wound may be superficial (boils, abscess, furuncle) or deep (cellulitis). Usually these skin lesions are red, swollen and tender to the touch. There may also be pus that drains from the infection site. Severe infections which have entered the blood stream cause sepsis and manifest with high fever, chills, low blood pressure, and eventually shock.
Staph infections tend to be contagious when there is direct skin to skin contact with an infected wound.  They can also be transmitted with shared razors, gloves, socks, needles, and bandages. Prevention of staph infections can be achieved with frequent hand washing, avoiding contact with open wounds, and thorough cleansing of scrapes and cuts as soon as they occur.
People who are at higher risk for developing staph infections include:
• Diabetics
• Newborns
• Patients with cancer, lung disease, and vascular disease
• Intravenous drug users
• People with weakened immune systems
Treatment for staph infections depends on the severity. If it is a minor skin lesion, cleaning it with soap and water regularly may be sufficient whereas other wounds may require topical antibiotic ointments. More severe wounds will require surgical intervention and oral or intravenous antibiotics to control further spreading and eventually resolve the infection.
Minor skin rashes in children can be treated by a pediatrician and for adults by an internist or family medicine doctor.  More severe wounds and wounds that are difficult to heal may require the specialized care offered in the wound care clinic. To schedule an appointment with the appropriate physician, please call 718-670-5486.

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.

Cavity Prevention Tips

Father and son (5-7) brushing teeth in bathroom, low angle view

According to the American Dental Association (ADA) parents should instill in their children the importance of good oral hygiene at an early age, ensuring that this ritual will continue when they become adults.

It is suggested that good oral hygiene be factored together when children are taught how to keep themselves healthy.

The ADA provides these age-by-age tips:

Babies, Toddlers and Pre-School

  • After each feeding, clean the baby’s gums with a clean wet gauze pad or washcloth
  • When teeth start to appear, brush them with a child’s size toothbrush and plain water
  • Begin flossing when at least two teeth begin to touch
  • Start dental visits by the child’s first birthday and make visits regularly
  • Brush teeth of children over age two with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and be sure to floss daily
  • Supervise your children while they are brushing their teeth to prevent them from swallowing the toothpaste

School-Age Children and Adolescents

  • Until they are six or seven years old, continue to brush your children’s teeth twice a day with a child size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
  • Continue to assist with flossing as needed
  • By age six or seven, children should be able to brush their own teeth twice a day but may require supervision until about age 10 or 11
  • Ask the dentist about dental sealants, protective plastic coating that can be applied to chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay often starts
  • Remind your adolescent about practicing good oral hygiene

 If your child has dental problems, you should visit a dentist as soon as possible. If you would like to schedule an appointment for your child at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Dental Center call 718-670-5522.

 

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.

American Heart Month

Heart Disease

This month, many candy hearts will be exchanged in honor of Valentine’s Day, but Flushing Hospital Medical Center wants the community to give some thoughts to hearts that are not made of chocolate. That’s because February is also American Heart Month, a special designation intended to remind everyone the importance of heart health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States and the numbers are increasing. The good news is, by working with your doctor to monitor your condition and by making changes to your lifestyle, heart disease is preventable for most.

Here are some tips to improve your heart health

  • Schedule an appointment with your doctor, who can conduct a physical evaluation and test your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If necessary, your doctor can prescribe certain medications to control both.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and control your weight. Obesity is one of the leading contributors to heart disease.
  • Increase your physical activity. By joining a gym or taking up walking, make exercise part of your daily routine
  • Monitor your alcohol intake and if you smoke, quit immediately. Cigarette smoke and alcohol are two factors that put individuals at an increased risk of heart disease.

Please make an appointment to see your doctor to have your heart checked immediately. If you do not have a doctor, you can make an appointment at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-5486. If a heart condition is suspected, a referral can be to our Cardiology Department, where we can perform a variety of tests to determine the best treatment plan for you.

Join Flushing Hospital as we recognize American Heart Month. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle and your regularly scheduled appointments, you can enjoy this Valentine’s Day with a clean bill of heart health.

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.

Fact Friday – How Many Babies Were Born at Flushing Hospital in 2016?

2016 was a big year for the Perinatal Care Department at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

Mother holding a baby while he opens his mouth

That’s because last year the hospital topped 3,000 deliveries – a major milestone for the department as it is the first time in over 25 years that Flushing Hospital has surpassed that mark. In fact, a total of 3,126 babies were born last year at Flushing Hospital!

Historically, Flushing Hospital has always been a destination for women in Queens to give birth. At its peak in the mid 1980’s Flushing Hospital delivered over 4,200 babies annually. That number had slowly declined to a low of only 1,500 deliveries approximately a decade ago. However, in recent years the hospital has seen a steady increase, culminating with it reaching this major milestone.

There are many reasons for the baby boom at Flushing Hospital according to Maria DeMarinis Smilios, Director of Nursing for Maternal and Child Services, “We have done many things to improve the services we provide to expectant mothers. We have made ourselves more accessible to the community by expanding perinatal evening hours twice per week. We have also added an on-site WIC program and expanded our family planning services. In addition, we have brought in many doctors and support staff that speak multiple languages and are reflective of the community we serve.”

Maria added, “Our staff has also worked very hard to meet the needs of each of our patients and address every request and concern they have during their perinatal experience. Their dedication to improving our patient’s satisfaction is evident as more and more women are once again choosing Flushing.”

Flushing Hospital Perinatal Care Department plans to continue the momentum and looks forward to welcoming even more babies into the community in 2017. Plans for the future include expanding the number of private post-partum rooms on the Mother-Baby Unit from two to 11, which will further enhance the patient experience.

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.

OB/GYN or Midwife: Which Is Right For You?

Midwife, mother and newborn baby

When you decide to try to conceive, it is important to start looking for a practitioner to care for you during pregnancy and the birth of your baby. Deciding between an OB/GYN doctor and Midwife depends on what kind of experience you want, where you plan to give birth, what your insurance covers and the risk level of your pregnancy. Here are a few factors to consider in making your decision:

  1. If you have a medical condition such as high blood pressure, epilepsy, heart disease, or diabetes, or had certain serious complications in a previous pregnancy, your pregnancy will probably be considered high risk. In this case, you will need to see an obstetrician who will monitor your body as it adapts to pregnancy along with monitoring the development of your baby.
  2. If you’re looking for a practitioner who is more likely to take a holistic approach to your care – and to see birth as a normal process, intervening only when necessary and not routinely – you may prefer a midwife.
  3. If you have no health problems or pregnancy complications and you have your heart set on giving birth in a birth center or at home, you’ll want to find a midwife who practices in these settings. In the event you want the option for an epidural, or are anxious about any possible complications then you’ll want to be in a hospital. For a hospital birth, you can choose an ob-gyn, a family physician, or a certified nurse-midwife as your primary caregiver.

Obstetricians are by far the most chosen option for expecting mothers in the United States, although certified nurse-midwives are becoming more popular. Some women choose practices that have both ob-gyns and midwives. The most important thing to consider when choosing a delivery option is your comfort.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has a full program to provide total health care to women. For more information about the many services offered by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-8994.

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.

Benefits of Sunscreen in the Winter

Campfire

Despite the cold temperatures, you can still get sunburned during the winter months. The cold temperatures can make your skin even drier than in the warmer months.

The reason being, the Earth is closest to the sun in the winter and the Earth’s Ozone Layer, or sunscreen, is thinnest during the winter months.  Even if you remain inside, you are still at risk for long wave ultraviolet A (UVA) skin damage because 50 to 60 percent of UVA rays can be received through windows.

Sometimes, the lure of winter’s outdoor activities is hard to resist.  Did you know that if you are skiing, the snow can reflect back 80 percent of the UVA rays, nearly doubling your exposure?

The strength of the winter sun’s rays (UVA) can cause redness and cracked skin, which is common when the cold, dry winter air takes moisture away from your skin.  The top layer of skin is made up of dead cells embedded in a mix of natural oils.  The oils in this layer help keep water inside the body and prevent irritants and germs from entering.

The dead cells and skin oils lock some water into the top layer, which keeps the skin soft and smooth. Cold, dry air can damage the top skin layer, allowing water to escape and cause small cracks that expose underlying cells to irritants and germs. This irritation may cause nerves in the skin to send “itch” signals to the brain.

Weather-related itching may be accompanied by other dry skin symptoms, such as dullness, flakiness, roughness and more visible fine lines. Fortunately, weather-related dry skin isn’t usually serious and is easily treated.

When you plan to be outside, it is a good habit to apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 about 30 minutes before going out.  If you are out for longer periods of time reapply the sunscreen every couple of hours.

If your skin has become red and cracked, you may want to make an appointment with the Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center.  To schedule an appointment, call 718-670-5486.

 

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.