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.

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.

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.

Summer Weight Loss Tips For Kids

Is your child at risk of gaining weight this summer?

We consider summer to be a time when kids run around, go swimming and generally remain active. With all this physical activity, it is a common belief that children keep weight off or maybe even lose a few pounds in the summer, but that is not the case. There are many reasons why parents are now noticing that their children are actually gaining weight during the summer.

The rate of childhood obesity has tripled in America in recent decades. Now, one out of three children in this country is considered overweight or obese. When are children gaining the most weight?  Recent studies have revealed that during the summer, the rate of weight gain in children is double that of the rest of the year. Why?

One of the biggest contributing factors is that children today live a more sedentary lifestyle. During the school year, children participate in fitness programs, both during recess and in physical education classes. Without a regimented exercise program, children opt to spend their free time playing video games or watching television.

Another factor in summer weight gain is the foods children have access to in their home. In an effort to fight obesity and promote healthy eating habits, many schools provide healthy alternatives for lunches and snacks during the year. During the summer, however, kids have access to whatever snacks are in the home. Kids will often choose unhealthy snacks, such as cookies, chips, and soda, if they are available to them.

In an effort to reverse this trend, Jamaica Hospital offers the following summer healthy living tips for your kids:

• Stock your home with healthy food options like yogurt, carrots, or summer fruits like peaches, berries, or melons.

• Make water the beverage of choice. Juices and sodas are high in calories and low in nutrients. To make water more flavorful, consider adding fruit slices or berries.

• Limit TV and video game usage. It will force kids to become more physically active and prevent them from enticing junk food commercials..

• Walk more. Everyone can do it. Incorporate regular family walks to the park or around the neighborhood.

• Be inventive. Not every child is interested in formal team sports, but every kid loves to run around. Encourage activities like hopscotch, jump rope or a simple game of “tag.”

• Be a role mode. Children often take cues from their parent’s eating habits so if you want your kids to eat healthier, you should eat healthier

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.

June is Fireworks Safety Month. Flushing Hospital Wants You To Be Safe This July 4th.

June is Fireworks Safety Month and with July 4th holiday approaching, Flushing Hospital Medical Center wants everyone to know the potential dangers associated with these explosives that we so closely associate with Independence Day.

Fireworks are ILLEGAL in New York State, and are extremely dangerous when they are not being used by a professional. They burn at extremely high temperatures and can rapidly burn through clothing and skin.  Items such as sparklers are mistakenly thought to be safe, but they are actually quite dangerous.

In states where it is legal to purchase and operate fireworks, please be sure to follow the following safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
  • Older children should use them only under the close supervision of an adult
  • Never light fireworks indoors
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Soak unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks in case of fire

This year, have a safe Fourth of July and leave the firework displays to the trained professionals. If you have questions about fireworks displays and safety, you can visit The National Council on Firework Safety webpage at http://www.fireworksafety.org.  Take the test and learn just how much you know about fireworks safety.

 

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 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.