How Can Your Pharmacist Help You Manage Your Care?

Managing your health requires a team approach. Many different healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and various specialized technicians all participate in your care, but one member of that team who plays a significant role in your treatment is often overlooked and underutilized; your pharmacist.

Many people view their local pharmacist as only a person who dispenses their medications, but your pharmacist is an active member of your healthcare team.  They are a valuable resource to answer questions about your medications and offer helpful tips. In addition, patients have many more interactions with their pharmacist than they do with their doctor each year, so why not take advantage of their expertise?

Here are a few ways your local pharmacist can help you:

  • Information on side effects – Information about potential side effects on medication labels can often be confusing and overwhelming. Your pharmacist can explain which side effects are most common and outline who is most at risk for developing them.
  • Scheduling your medications – Your pharmacist can help you map out a schedule for when to take your medications. This can be especially helpful if you are taking multiple prescriptions. The effectiveness of certain medications can be minimized when taken simultaneously with others. Some medications can also work better if taken at certain times of day or with or without food.
  • Consequences for missing a dose – While skipping your regular dose of medication is not recommended, it is not always a cause for concern.  How to deal with this type of situation depends on the medication and why it is being taken. Your pharmacist can explain how to handle this problem if and when it occurs.
  • Storage Instructions – Properly storing your medications will greatly impact their effectiveness. Be sure to ask your pharmacist how to store them. Most medications should be kept at room temperature with low humidity. Some however, need to be refrigerated.

When choosing a pharmacist, make sure he or she will take the time to answer all your questions. If you do not have a pharmacist, Flushing Hospital has a retail pharmacy located in the lobby of the Medical Science building. Our staff will take the time to ensure that you have a full understanding of how to take your medications to ensure you properly manage your health. For more information about our pharmacy service, please call 718-353-3160.

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 Offers Health Facts to Keep You Healthy this Summer

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer for many, and while summer brings with it a greater opportunity to spend more time outdoors, it also provides an increased risk for many health-related conditions.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center wants to provide the community with the facts about some health concerns commonly associated with the warm weather months and offer tips on how to avoid them.

Athlete’s Foot – This fungus results in an itchy, burning rash on the feet. Athlete’s foot is more prevalent during the summer months because it loves to spread in warm, wet surfaces, such as on poolside pavement and public showers. Doctors suggest wearing flip flops when in these environments to avoid becoming infected.

Heat Exhaustion – Temperatures during the summer months are higher than any other time of year. When our bodies are exposed to these hot conditions, we need to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. When we don’t drink enough, we experience heat exhaustion, which is marked by weakness, nausea, vomiting, and fainting.

Food Poisoning – The increased heat and humidity in the summer are ideal breeding grounds for the growth of bacteria in our food.  The next time, you are enjoying food at a picnic or outdoor barbeque, make sure that food is not left out in the heat too long. Also follow food temperature guidelines when grilling meat and poultry.

Skin Infections – Our skin is exposed more during the summer. This increases the risk of sustaining a cut that can develop into an infection. The most common place for this to occur is at the beach, when bacteria in the sand or water can enter a cut and lead to a potentially serious infection.  If you get cut, be sure to wash it immediately with soap and water and monitor it for early signs of infection.

Ear Infection / Swimmer’s Ear – Naturally, we spend more time swimming in pools or in the ocean during the summer than any other time of year. The additional moisture in the ear from spending time in the water can help facilitate the growth of bacteria, which can lead to an infection. To prevent excess moisture build-up, dry your ears thoroughly after swimming.

Flushing Hospital wants those in our community to enjoy everything that the next few months has to offer. By taking these extra precautions, you can only increase your chances of having a healthy, fun-filled summer.

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 Can Hypertension Affect Your Eyesight?

We are aware of the many serious consequences of living with high blood pressure, or hypertension.  Prolonged, untreated hypertension can negatively impact your heart and your kidneys, but how can hypertension affect your eyesight?

High blood pressure can lead to a condition known as hypertensive retinopathy and the damage can be very serious if not addressed.

Eye close upThe retina is a layer of tissue located at back of the eye and contains cells that are sensitive to light. These cells trigger nerve impulses that pass via the optic nerve to the brain, where a visual image is formed. When your blood pressure is too high, the walls of the retina may thicken, which restricts blood flow to the retina and limits its function, resulting in potentially permanent vision problems, including blindness.

A person with hypertensive retinopathy wouldn’t typically display any symptoms until the condition has progressed. Possible signs may include:

  • Reduced vision
  • Eye swelling
  • Bursting of a blood vessel
  • Double vision accompanied by headaches

In most cases, an eye specialist can diagnose hypertensive retinopathy during an examination using an instrument called an opthalmoscope to examine the retina. Your doctor will look for signs of narrowing of blood vessels, spots on the retina, swelling or bleeding in the back of the eye.

Effective treatment for hypertensive retinopathy involves controlling your blood pressure. This can be done through medication and lifestyle changes. Most importantly, doctors recommend maintaining an ideal body weight, eating and healthy diet and exercising regularly as methods to lower your blood pressure.

If you are living with high blood pressure, or if you think you are, see a doctor immediately. If you do not have a doctor, you can make an appointment at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center by calling 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.

Do You Have a Deviated Septum?

Ours nose is in the middle of our face, so naturally we pay a great deal of attention to how it looks. If we look carefully though, most of us will find that our nose is not perfectly straight. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 80% of Americans have a nose that is off-center.  Known as a deviated septum, this condition is not a cause of concern for most, for those with a severely deviated septum the condition can result in multiple issues.

Rhinoplasty

So what exactly is a deviated septum? There is a thin wall of cartilage and bone that separates our nostrils called the septum. A deviation of the septum occurs when it is displaced to one side, making one nasal passage smaller than the other. When severe, a deviated septum can restrict airflow and make breathing difficult. A person can be born with a deviated septum, can develop one during normal childhood growth, or sustain one as the result of an injury or trauma, such as a broken nose.

Regardless of the cause of a deviated septum, when significant enough, it can be the cause of many problems, including:

  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Nasal congestion (usually on one side)
  • Recurring sinus infections
  • Nosebleeds
  • Sleep disorders, including snoring or sleep apnea
  • Facial pain or headaches
  • Postnasal drip
  • Dry mouth (due to chronic mouth breathing)

A doctor, usually an otolaryngologist, also known as an ear nose and throat specialist can perform a physical examination using an instrument called a nasal speculum to determine how severe the septum is deviated. Based on the doctor’s findings, an appropriate course of treatment will be provided.  In most cases, the symptoms of a deviated septum can be treated through a variety of medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines, or steroid sprays.

If medications don’t relieve your symptoms, surgical intervention may be recommended.  A procedure, known as a septoplasty, where the nasal passage is straightened and repositioned in the center of the nose, can be performed. The procedure is usually performed on an outpatient level, meaning you can return home the same day, but healing normally takes a few weeks. Symptoms associated with a deviated septum are often completely resolved after surgery.

To make an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-670-5440.

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 GERD Contribute to Your Asthma?

Most asthma sufferers are aware of the many potential sources for their condition, but they may not realize one very common disorder that can contribute to the development of asthma – GERD.

Heart attack

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD is a digestive disorder that affects the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach. Normally, this ring, which is called the lower esophageal sphincter, prevents acidic stomach juices from flowing back into the esophagus after food enters the stomach.

GERD occurs when the esophageal sphincter is weakened allowing the stomach’s contents to flow up into the esophagus. Heartburn, the most common symptom of GERD, feels like a burning sensation in the esophagus. Many people say it feels like food is coming back into the mouth, leaving a bitter taste.

Research has indicated that GERD can either lead to, or worsen asthma symptoms. In fact, it is estimated that over 75% of patients with hard-to-treat asthma also experience frequent heartburn from GERD.

While the relationship between GERD and asthma does exist, the exact link between the two is unknown. One possibility is that acid reflux irritates the airways and lungs, which affects breathing and makes people more sensitive to outside conditions such as pollution, cigarette smoke, and cold air. Another potential explanation is that a nerve is triggered in the airways when acid enters the esophagus, causing them to narrow in order to prevent acid from entering the lungs.

Doctors most often look at GERD as the cause of asthma when:

  • Asthma begins in adulthood
  • Asthma symptoms get worse after a meal, after exercise, at night or after lying down
  • Asthma doesn’t respond to the standard asthma treatments

For many, treating GERD can help them relieve asthma treatments Thankfully, by simply adjusting lifestyle behaviors, GERD can be controlled. Tips to control GERD include:

  • Raise the head of your bed by six inches to allow gravity to help keep down the stomach’s contents
  • Eat meals at least three to four hours before lying down
  • Eat smaller meals with moderate portions of food
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit consumption of chocolate, peppermint, coffee, tea, colas, alcohol, tomatoes and citrus fruits or juices, all of which can contribute additional acid that can irritate the esophagus
  • Give up smoking, which relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter
  • Wear loose belts and clothing

In addition, your doctor can recommend over-the-counter treatments or prescribe medications to relieve GERD symptoms.

Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Clinic offers many specialty services to treat a variety of pulmonary and digestive disorders. To make an appointment, 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.

How Do You Know When Your Cut Requires Emergency Care?

Doctors in hospital emergency departments see thousands of patients everyday who have suffered various degrees of skin penetrating wounds. While many of these patients do in fact require immediate medical attention, not all do. The issue is, many patients do not know what types of injuries warrant a visit to the Emergency Department and which do not.

GiglioDr. James Giglio Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Flushing Hospital Medical Center states “it’s tricky for patients to tell when cuts require medical attention. Many minor wounds heal without any professional intervention, but some require stiches or other types of treatment for proper healing. So how can you tell when to go to the E.R.?

 

According to Dr. Giglio, wounds almost always require a trip to local ER if they are:

  • Deep enough to expose the muscle, bone, or fatty tissue
  • Wide enough so that you can’t easily apply pressure to press the edges together
  • Located across a joint (fear of damaging nerves, tendons or ligaments)
  • The result of a bite (may require tetanus or tetanus treatment)
  • Caused by a dirty or rusty object
  • On the face or any other body part where scarring is a concern
  • Still bleeding after 15 minutes of direct pressure

Regardless of whether or not a wound requires a visit to the Emergency Department, the risk of infection increases the longer your wound remains open. Therefore immediate wound care is very important. Dr. Giglio states “It is best to gently clean the wound as soon as possible by irrigating it with thoroughly for a few minutes under tap water. You should also apply direct pressure to the wound and keep it elevated. This will slow or stop the bleeding.”

Thorough wound care is also very important to stave off infection. All wounds should be dressed with a topical antibiotic ointment and covered with a bandage. Doctors recommend reapplying ointment and changing your bandage two -three times daily for the first couple of days. If the healing wound gets wet, pat it dry and apply a dry bandage. Moist bandages delay healing and increase the risk of infection for most wounds. If you become concerned due to worsening pain, redness or swelling, contact your doctor immediately.

According to Dr. Giglio there are always exceptions to these rules. “The best advice I can give is if you are unsure about the severity of your injury, it is better to err on the side of caution and seek medical attention.”

Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provides care for tens of thousands of patients every year. The doctors and staff in our Emergency Department can help you decide what level of treatment your wound requires.

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 Fidget Toys Help Your Child’s Ability To Focus?

We all fidget – some of us more than others, but when the subject of fidgeting and children is raised, you might be surprised at what many experts are saying.

Stress Cube

Fidgeting is our body’s way of releasing restless energy. Common types of fidgeting include foot tapping, hair twirling or nail biting. While many consider these activities counterproductive to learning, many experts state that if these fidgeting behaviors can be re-directed, they can actually enhance learning.

Enter “Fidget Toys.” Fidget toys are self-regulation tools to help with focus, attention, calming, and active listening. There are many different types of fidget toys, ranging from squeezable stress balls to bendable sticks to malleable putty. In recent months however, fidget spinners and fidget cubes have become very popular items among not only children but adults as well.

Regardless of the type of toy used, the goal is the same – to help focus attention and improve learning ability. In fact, research indicates that most children learn better when their hands are active and funneling expandable energy in this manner allows them to better focus on what they are trying to learn. In addition, experts have concluded that movement is essential for learning because the learner is required to use both the left and right sides of their brain.

In a recent case study, the positive effects of fidget toys were observed. The result was a 10% increase in certain academic scores among students who used fidget toys. Even more impressive was that students diagnosed with ADHD saw an increase of 27% in the academic scores. The study concludes that the use of fidget toys can benefit the learning process in all students but especially in those with learning disabilities.

In addition to the improved learning benefits, fidget toys can also reduce anxiety and stress, enhance dexterity, improve coordination and fine motor skills and assist in the development of muscles of small hands.

Fidget toys are appropriate for all ages and genders and most developmental abilities. Many parents will learn that the effectiveness of these objects can diminish over time, so it is suggested to alternate toys. It is also recommended that parents speak to their child’s teacher or principal before they consider bringing fidget toys to school.

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 Health Day – Let’s Talk About Depression

In recognition of the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO), every April 7th people across the earth celebrate World Health Day.

Doctor In Consultation With Depressed Female Patient

Every year on this date, WHO and its partners select a different global health issue – The subject of their 2017 awareness campaign is depression and their campaign slogan is “Depression: Let’s Talk.”

Depression is a common mental health disorder that affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. The risk of becoming depressed is increased by poverty, unemployment, life events such as the death of a loved one or a relationship break-up, physical illness and problems caused by alcohol and drug use. Untreated depression can prevent people from working and participating in family and community life. At worst, depression can lead to suicide.

At the core of the World Health Day campaign is the importance of talking about depression as a vital component of recovery. There is a negative association surrounding many mental health disorders, including depression. This connotation remains a obstacle that is difficult to overcome for people around the world   By encouraging those with depression to talk to others, whether with a family member helps break down this stigma. Also, by initiating conversations about depression in group forums, such as in schools, in the workplace and in social settings; or in the public domain, such as in the news media or on social media platforms will ultimately lead to more people seeking help.

Flushing Hospital operates a outpatient mental health center where individuals can speak with trained mental health professional about depression or any other disorder. To make an appointment, please call 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.

Is It A Cold Or Is It Allergies?

The transition from winter to spring can be challenging to your health. The change in seasons often results in an overlap of symptoms that could be either the remnants of a winter cold or the first signs of spring allergies.

Woman coughing and blowing her nose in autumn

While many of the symptoms of colds and allergies are similar, the causes of each are very different.

Colds are contagious and they are contracted when a person is exposed to an individual infected with a cold virus.  Our body’s immune system will launch a counter attack against the virus. This response usually brings on the classic symptoms, such as a runny nose or cough.

An allergic reaction is caused by an overactive immune system that mistakes harmless things, such as pollen, and attacks them. To combat what it thinks are germs, your body releases chemicals called histamines as a defense. The release of these histamines can cause a swelling of the nasal passages and result in coughing and sneezing. Allergies are not contagious.

While many of the symptoms are similar, the easiest way to determine if you have a cold or are suffering from allergies is the duration of your condition. While most colds last from three to 14 days, allergies can last for months as long as the person is in contact with the allergen. Other differences are:

  • An allergic reaction will begin immediately after exposure to an allergen while cold symptoms usually take approximately three days to appear after exposure
  • Colds can sometimes cause fever and body aches while allergies never do
  • An allergic reaction can often result in itchy, watery eyes, which a cold rarely produces this type of reaction

Once a determination between cold or allergy is made, the appropriate treatment can be applied.

There is no cure for a cold, but there are medications that can help alleviate the symptoms. Cough syrups, pain relievers, decongestant sprays, or multi-symptom cold relief medicines can all be used to help, but should only be taken after consulting your doctor, especially if you are taking other medications or if you have other underlying health conditions. Drinking plenty of liquids also speeds up the recovery process.

To treat allergies, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter antihistamine to block the reaction to the allergens. There are many forms of antihistamines and some may cause drowsiness so be sure to look for the non-drowsy formula or only take them at night. Decongestants may also be suggested to relieve nasal congestion and avoid an infection.

If you are not sure if you have a cold or allergies, please speak with your doctor. If you do not have a doctor, Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center can help. 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.

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.