What is Mononucleosis?

Mononucleosis, also known simply as “mono” is a common infectious disease that is typically caused by the Epstein Barr virus.

Mono is most often found in teens or young adults, such as college age students. Young children also can get mono, but symptoms are much milder and may go unnoticed. As children grow older, they usually build-up antibodies to the disease and develop an immunity as they become adults.

Mono is primarily spread through the transmission of bodily fluids, such as mucus or saliva. For this reason mono is also given another name, “the kissing disease,” although it can also be spread by sharing items such as drinking glasses, utensils, or toothbrushes.

Symptoms of mononucleosis include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headaches
  • Rash
  • Swollen liver and / or spleen

Symptoms of mono first appear four to six weeks after being exposed. Most symptoms last two to four weeks, but some symptoms, such as fatigue, or swollen spleen or liver can last for months.

There is no vaccine to prevent and no medicine to treat mononucleosis. Self-care treatment methods, such as getting plenty of rest, consuming liquids and taking pain / fever medications are all that is usually needed. Gargling with salt water and taking lozenges are also recommended to soothe a sore throat. It is also advised to avoid contact sports and heavy lifting to avoid further damage to your spleen or liver.

If your child is experiencing symptoms that are consistent with mononucleosis, it is recommended that you see your doctor, who can confirm a diagnosis or rule out other causes for your symptoms by ordering a blood test.

If you do not have a doctor, Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center has many dedicated physicians. To make an appointment, please call 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.

History of the EKG

An EKG machine measures the electrical activity of the heart. It displays this activity by drawing waves on a piece of paper that is either displayed on a screen or drawn on a piece of paper that runs through a machine.
• Late 1700’s – The first step in the development of the modern electrocardiograph machine was the creation of a machine that could sense, but not measure, electric current. This machine was called a galvanometer.
• 1786 an Italian physician, Dr. Luigi Galvan, discovered that skeletal muscles worked by producing electric current. In
• 1842 Dr. Carlo Matteucci working at the University of Pisa discovered that there is an electrical current that comes with each heart beat in a frog.
• Mid 1800’s a machine called the “Rheotome” was invented that could now measure this electrical current.
• 1872 – further refinements to this Rheotome led to a machine devised by Gabrrile Lippman  of the “capillary electrometer”.
During this time, a British physiologist, Augustus Waller, was able to record the first human electrocardiogram that using this technology with electrodes placed on the chest and back of a patient. This demonstrated electric activity taking place before ventricular contraction. In
• 1893 – Dr. Wilhelm Einthoven, a Dutch physiologist,  refined the capillary electrometer to show five deflections in the electrical current passing through the heart. The five waves were initially called ABCDE, but were changed to PQRST after a mathematical correction was made to compensate for the inertia in the capillary tube. He used the phrase “electrocardiogram” for the first time at a meeting of Dutch physicians.  In
• 1901 – Dr. Eintoven he developed a string galvanometer, a more sensitive machine. He  was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for his invention of the electrocardiograph.
As time passed, the electrocardiograph machine became much smaller and much more accurate. In 1903 it weighed 600 pounds and by 1930 it weighed about 30 pounds. Tthe importance of an electrocardiograph was recognized as being essential in diagnosing cardiac from non cardiac pain and able to help diagnose a myocardial infarction or a heart attack. Today we use a 12 lead electrocardiogram as a major tool in diagnosing heart disease. The machine today weighs just a few pounds and is an essential tool in diagnosing diseases of the heart.

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.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

When a person is recognized as having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, they demonstrate unreasonable thoughts and fears that make them perform repetitive and ritualized behaviors.  A person with OCD feels obliged to perform these actions as a way to reduce their stress and anxiety. They will feel that by not giving in to these impulses will cause something bad to happen, which can raise their stress and anxiety.
Traits of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders fall into themes:
• Washers  – have a fear of germs makes them wash their hands  over and over
• Checkers – will check to make sure a door is locked more than once
• Doubters and sinners – fearful that harm will occur to someone if everything isn’t done correctly
• Counters and arrangers – everything has to be in a certain order or something will go wrong
• Hoarders – hold on to everything so that nothing bad will occur
There are three main theories as to what causes obsessive compulsive disorder:
• Biology – caused by changes in the body’s chemical make-up or the way the brain functions.
• Environment – causes a person to respond to a triggering event that leads to the obsessive compulsive behavior.
• Genetics – may contribute to a person’s susceptibility to OCD and also a certain level of stress in a person’s life may be a factor.
What should a person do if they feel they may have obsessive compulsive disorder? The first step is to identify what traits they feel they are exhibiting that may be out of the ordinary. Consulting with a primary care physician about symptoms is a good place to begin. They may recommend seeing a mental health professional who can determine the degree of OCD and recommend psychotherapy and possibly medication to control the symptoms.  You can schedule an appointment with a mental health professional at Flushing Hospital Medical Center by calling 718-670-5562

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.

Lung Cancer and Treatment Options

Lung cancer is a form of cancer that starts in the lungs. In the early stages there may not be any signs or symptoms. A history of smoking definitely contributes to a higher risk of being diagnosed with the disease, though non-smokers also can develop lung cancer. Smoking causes cancer by irritating the lining of the lungs. This causes changes in the lung tissue. It is believed that the effects of smoking may be reversible in the very early phases but repeated exposure to the chemicals found in smoke will eventually be irreversible.

Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer include:

  • A cough that doesn’t get better
  • Coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Hoarseness
  • Headache
  • Weight loss that isn’t intentional

There are two types of lung cancer based on their appearance under the microscope:

Small cell is the most common type of lung cancer and is found in heavy smokers.

Non-small cell is a group of other types of lung cancers that act similarly. This group includes squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.

Lung cancer staging

Stage 1

  • The cancer is limited to the lung.
  • Tumor is smaller than 2 inches
  • has not spread to lymph nodes

Stage 2

  • Usually larger than 2 inches
  • Spread to lymph nodes
  • Possible spread to pleura, chest wall and diaphragm

Stage 3

  • Involves spread to other organs
  • Found in distant lymph nodes

 

Stage 4

  • Spread from one lung to another
  • Spread to distant parts of the body

 

If lung cancer is suspected, a few tests to make the diagnosis definitive will be ordered. A chest x-ray will be performed and if there are any lesions found on the lung a CT scan will to get a better view of the lungs. An exam of the sputum can sometimes reveal lung cancer cells and to complete the diagnosis a lung biopsy will be done to examine the cells to see if they are cancerous.

Depending on the stage of the cancer, treatment options vary and can include chemotherapy, radiation and / or surgery. A common surgical option is called a lobectomy, removal one of the lobes of the lung.

If you would like to discuss lung cancer and treatment options with a 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.

When Are Your Children Ready To Wear Contacts?

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month and Flushing Hospital wants to answer a common question that many parents who have children who wear glasses ask –  When is my child old enough to start wearing contact lenses?

The answer to that question is less about their age and more about their level of maturity. Physically, a child’s eyes can tolerate contacts at a very young age. Before considering contact lenses for your son or daughter, you should consider how they handle other responsibilities. The fact is, there are some eight year old children who are ready and there are some teenagers who are not. Wearing contacts is a major responsibility and children not only need to display that they can apply them, but they also need to exercise proper hygiene and grooming habits to handle wearing and caring for them.

While a child’s ability and maturity to handle contacts might vary from age to age, research has shown that the majority of children (51 %) receive them between ten and 12 years of age, while over 22% receive them between when they are either 13 or 14 years old. Only 12.4 % of kids are prescribed contacts between the ages of eight and nine.

If they can handle the responsibility, most doctors believe that wearing contacts is a good thing for children and teens as they are generally more motivated to get fitted for and adapt better to wearing them than other age groups. They are also less likely to develop dry eyes or other issues that are common in adults who wear contact lenses.  Another reason to have your child consider wearing contact lenses is that in some cases they can actually slow down the progression of nearsightedness. In fact, a number of studies have proven that certain types of contacts offer significant control for many nearsighted children.

Professionals have also noted that there has been great advancement in the production of contact lenses over the years, which has contributed to more and more children now opting for them over glasses.  The progress in the development of disposable contacts makes maintenance easier and improved materials provide more durability and safety.

One of the biggest reasons more and more kids and parents are switching to contact lenses over glasses is the benefits to children who play sports. Even the safest eyeglass frames and lenses can cause injuries if they break. As opposed to sports goggles, contact lenses also offer better peripheral vision and an unobstructed view of the playing field. Contacts also remain stable on an athletes face while they are running, and unlike many sports goggles, they don’t not fog-up during competition.

A less common yet potentially important consideration for switching to contact lenses is how it affects a child’s self-esteem. In a recent poll, 71% of children asked cited self-esteem as a ‘very important” factor when determining whether or not to be fitted for contacts.  Additional research found that wearing contacts “significantly improves” how children and teens feel about themselves.

The best thing about making a decision to switch to contacts is that it isn’t permanent. If you think your child is ready and willing, speak to your eye doctor about getting fitted. If he or she tries it, but isn’t ready, they can always go back to wearing glasses. Together, you, your child and their doctor can decide if the time is right.

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.

Dr. Tip – Foot Ulcer, Prevention and Treatment

Dr. Steve Norman, specializing in Podiatry at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Wound Care Center offers the following information on the prevention and treatment of diabetic foot ulcers.

If you have diabetes, you may have reduced nerve function due to a condition called peripheral diabetic neuropathy.  This condition causes the nerves that carry the sensation of pain from your feet to your brain to not function properly.  This lack of sensation may cause a small cut or scrape on your foot develop into an ulcer without you feeling the symptoms.

Here are some ways you can prevent a foot ulcer are:

  • Inspection – Check your feet every day. Check for cuts, blisters, calluses, red spots, swelling and other abnormalities.
  • Protection – Keep your feet clean by washing them every day. This will help defend wounds from becoming infected.  After washing, be sure to dry your feet thoroughly and apply lotion to prevent cracking.
  • Prevention – Try to keep your blood glucose levels within normal range. Elevated diabetes blood glucose levels can cause uncared foot ulcers to develop gangrene which can eventually lead to loss of limbs.

If you already have a foot ulcer you can try:

  • Keeping the ulcer dry and covered with a dressing
  • Maintaining proper blood glucose levels, this will facilitate healing
  • Applying topical ointments
  • Do not walk on the ulcerated foot excessively
  • Wear socks with extra padding and a loose-fitting soft shoe with laces or Velcro fasteners

“Advanced foot ulcers may require wound debridement, which is a process that carefully removes dead tissue,” stated Dr. Norman. “You want to make sure consult a physician before your wound/ulcer becomes so advanced that you may be faced with amputation.”

If you are suffering from a chronic or non-healing wound, you may be a candidate for Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Wound Care Center.  The center is open for outpatient appointments Monday through Friday, 8:00am-4:00pm.  For more information, or to make an appointment, call 718-670-4542.

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.

Heart Disease and Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (the inability to achieve and sustain an erection firm enough for intercourse) may serve as an early warning sign of the development of more serious health issues, such as heart disease.   According to Harvard Health Publications, ‘erections “serve as a barometer for overall health,” and that erectile dysfunction can be an early warning sign of trouble in the heart or elsewhere.’

Studies have shown that if a man has erectile dysfunction (ED), he is at a greater risk of having heart disease.  Some experts suggest that men with ED who have no obvious cause such as trauma and no symptoms of heart problems should be proactive and receive an assessment to determine their risk for cardiovascular disease.

Heart disease and erectile dysfunction share many risk factors including:

  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol intake
  • Diabetes
  • Age
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Low testosterone
  • Obesity

If you are believed to be at risk for heart disease and have ED, your doctor may recommend applying lifestyle changes that may include drinking alcohol in moderation or none at all, quitting smoking, exercising and eating a balanced diet.  For those diagnosed with ED and heart disease your doctor may explore treatment options that include medication management to help regulate both health issues

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 Hot Weather Affect Asthma ?

It is a fact that breathing difficulties associated with asthma are affected by hot weather. Anyone who has walked a few blocks when it is hot and humid outside will know that breathing seems to be more difficult. This is especially true for anyone who suffers from asthma. One possible cause of this is due to the hot, humid air irritating the airways causing inflammation which will lead to symptoms of an asthma attack. Another reason is that hot and humid air is heavier and therefore a person may have to struggle to breathe..
In hot weather months there is an increase in the amount of ozone in the air and also a higher concentration of dust and fine particles which can cause existing respiratory conditions to worsen especially in the very young and the elderly.
Some of the environmental factors that affect the respiratory system are:
• Higher levels of carbon dioxide and higher temperature can lead to more spores and mold in the air.

• Higher temperatures can lead to more greenhouse gases being produced.

• Environmental production of pollutants from vehicles and factories become trapped in the atmosphere.

These environmental conditions can cause chest pain, wheezing, and coughing, and reduced lung function for those who suffer with asthma.
Irritants that affect breathing function have definitely worsened over the years due to climate changes. People are being treated more frequently in the emergency rooms across the country due to lack of clean air to breathe.
To help avoid asthma attacks in hot weather it is recommended to:
• Stay indoors as much as possible in an air conditioned environment
• Avoid strenuous activity
• Keep hydrated
• Try to limit being outdoors during the hottest time of day
To schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital who can help treat breathing difficulties, 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.

Flushing Hospital Supports World Breastfeeding Week

Each year, August first to seventh is designated World Breast Feeding Week to encourage breastfeeding around the world and improve the health of babies.

World Breastfeeding Week was created 25 years ago by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) to promote the health benefits infants receive from being fed breastmilk exclusively for the first six months of life. The observation is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

Organizations including WHO and the American Academy of Pediatrics have found that in addition to being an optimal source of nutrition, breastfeeding offers babies protection from bacteria and viruses that can lead to potential life threatening diseases.  Breastfeeding also benefits mothers; women who choose to breastfeed are less likely to develop breast or ovarian cancer, diabetes and post-partum depression.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center promotes exclusive breastfeeding. Our hospital provides several social and clinical programs created to support pregnant and nursing mothers. Some our programs include breastfeeding education classes and breastfeeding support groups. We now offer a Mother’s Nursing Room on the ground floor of the main hospital lobby. This allows women more privacy to feed their babies or pump milk in a clean and spacious environment

For more information about the services we provide, please visit www.FlushingHospital.org.

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.

Today is World Hepatitis Day

In 2010 the World Health Organization ( W.H.O. ) designated July 28th as World Hepatitis Day. This serves to increase awareness about viral hepatitis and to influence change in disease prevention, testing and treatment. The goal for 2017 is to adopt a plan that will eliminate hepatitis as a public threat by 2030.

Hepatitis is a virus that causes an inflammation of the liver. The liver is an organ in the body that processes nutrients, filters the blood and fights infections. The most common forms of hepatitis are A, B, and C. Hepatitis B and C kill close to 1.4 million people each year and cause almost 80 percent of all liver cancer cases. Many people have the hepatitis virus and are unaware of it.

Symptoms of acute hepatitis B include:
• Fever
• Nausea
• Loss of appetite
• Jaundice
• Abdominal pain
• Fatigue

Hepatitis is spread from person to person through contact with bodily fluids. It is possible that people remain without symptoms for many years but during this time the disease is slowly destroying the liver. It can take many years for the symptoms to appear. Blood tests are available that can detect the virus at an early stage.

Ways to reduce infection:
• Use only sterile equipment for injections
• Test all donated blood for hepatitis
• Practice safe sex
• Encourage people to get hepatitis B vaccine

Medication exists that can cure hepatitis C and can control hepatitis B infection. When given properly, people are less likely to die from liver cancer and cirrhosis and also are less likely to transmit the disease to others. The hepatitis B vaccine is given in three doses over a 6 month period and it is recommended that it be initiated right after birth if possible.

To make an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital to discuss the vaccine, please call 718-670-5795.

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.