Keeping Your Immune System Strong During Cold and Flu Season

Our immune system protects our bodies from illness and infection. While having a strong immune system is important all year long, there are times of the year that its effectiveness is tested more than other.

body defense

With cold a flu season upon us, Flushing Hospital wants to offer some day-to-day lifestyle tips to avoid weakening your immune system and keep you healthy.

STRESS
Prolonged periods of intense stress can affect the immune system. Stress causes the brain to boost the production of hormones that weaken the function of the infection-fighting T cells. If you are experiencing high levels of stress, try to adopt stress-relieving activities to boost your immune system.

POOR SLEEP
Poor sleep is strongly associated with a weak immune system as it reduces the number of killer cells needed to fight germs. Recent research has suggested that the amount of flu-fighting antibodies produced was cut in half in those who were sleep deprived.

ALCOHOL
Excessive intake of alcohol may reduce the immune system’s response to invading pathogens because alcohol contains ingredients that impair lung functionality, making us more prone to viral or bacterial infections.

POOR DIET
Excessive consumption of refined sugars and highly processed food containing pesticides, chemical additives and preservatives can weaken the immune system. In addition, obesity can lead to a weakened immune system as it affects the ability of white blood cells to multiply, produce antibodies and prevent inflammation.

By adopting some healthy lifestyle practices and avoiding certain others, we can give our bodies the best chance of staving of illness this cold and flu season.

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.

Great American Smokeout

On November 16, 2017, the Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Smoking Cessation Team joined with the American Cancer Society and participated in The Great American Smokeout. The Smoking Cessation Team hosted an informational table in the hospital’s lobby.

The Great American Smokeout is designed for you to have a chance for you to make a plan to quit smoking.  Did you know that by quitting for even one day, you will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and can reduce your risk of getting Cancer? Well, you can!

Tobacco is the single greatest cause of multiple diseases and premature deaths in the USA today.  It kills more Americans each year than alcohol, crack, heroin, homicide, suicide, car accidents, fire and AIDS combined. There are an estimated 480,000 deaths in the United States annually that are due to tobacco use. It is the only legal consumer product that is lethal when used exactly as recommended by the manufacturer.

Smoking cigarettes affects many aspects of health. Tobacco smoke contains about 7000 chemicals, including low concentrations of such strong poisons as ammonia, cyanide, arsenic and formaldehyde.  It also contains 69 carcinogens – substances that are known to cause cancers in humans. Direct association has been established between smoking and cancers of the lung, mouth, nose, throat, larynx, esophagus, colon and rectum, stomach, pancreas, cervix, bladder, kidney and blood.
In the United States, Illnesses caused by smoking cost more than 300 billion dollars per year in direct medical care and lost productivity. Smokers pay twice as much for life insurance and will die on average of 13-14 years earlier than non-smokers. It costs tobacco companies approximately 5 cents to produce a pack of cigarettes.

Many lung conditions are either caused or aggravated by cigarette smoke. It irritates bronchial airways and stimulates mucous production leading eventually to decreased elasticity and functional failure. Patients suffering from COPD, Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis or Emphysema have a much higher risk of dying when repeatedly exposed to smoke.
Smokers are also at greater risk for cardiovascular disease. Smoking damages blood vessels making them stiff and narrow, obstructing blood flow which results with elevated blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure or chronic skin changes.

Pregnant women exposed to tobacco smoke have increased risk of complications like miscarriage, premature birth, and brain and lung damage in developing baby. Sudden infant death syndrome is three times more likely if mother smoked during pregnancy.
Secondhand smoke is the smoke exhaled by smokers or given off by a burning cigarette or pipe. Inhaling secondhand smoke is as hazardous as smoking a cigarette. There is no safe level for secondhand smoke exposure established. People can inhale it at work, homes, cars or public spaces and have all the complications mentioned above.

Smoking tobacco is an addiction similar to heroin and cocaine. It can be successfully treated but the majority of cases require three or more attempts. Quitting smoking offers a chance of feeling better and living longer.  Studies have shown that five, common sense steps, provide the best chance for quitting smoking for good:

  1. Get ready: set a quit date and throw out all cigarettes and ashtrays from your home.
  2. Get support: tell your family, friends and doctor about quitting plans; search the internet for advice.
  3. Learn new behaviors: distract yourself from the urge to smoke; exercise or go for a walk.
  4. Get medication: combining medication like nicotine patches or Zyban with behavioral adaptation and family support quadruples your chances of success.
  5. Be prepared for relapse and difficult situations– most people try to quit a few times before   succeeding.

If you would like to learn more about quitting smoking call the Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Smoking Cessation Team at 718-670-3146.

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 Some Bacteria be Good for You?

Bacteria. The word alone makes us think of infection, disease, and illness. We hate all bacteria, right?

ThinkstockPhotos-482096272Actually, there is such a thing as GOOD bacteria. They are called probiotics and they help you maintain a healthy digestive system. They do this by lowering “bad” bacteria that can cause infections and other problems. Sometimes we don’t have enough good bacteria in our systems (for instance, like when we are on antibiotics). A lack of good bacteria can cause a variety of digestive issues. By taking probiotics, we are replacing those good bacteria which are sometimes lost.

Probiotics are most commonly taken to help prevent or improve common digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. Others have suggested that they are also beneficial in treating skin conditions, such as eczema, improving urinary and vaginal health, and preventing colds and allergies.

Your body naturally generates probiotics, but if you want to increase your good bacteria levels, you can take probiotics in supplement form or get them by eating certain foods, most notably yogurt and other fermented products.

Probiotics are natural so they are generally considered safe to take, even in supplement form. It is recommended that you speak to your doctor about the best way of incorporating probiotics into your diet.

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.

Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear is a bacterial infection that affects the outermost portion of the ear canal. A common cause is the accumulation of water in this portion of the canal that leads to a bacterial infection. It can also be caused by the insertion of unclean foreign objects into the ear that irritate the lining of the ear canal.
Signs and symptoms of swimmer’s ear are:
• Redness in the ear canal
• Itchiness in the ear
• Fluid discharge which may include pus
• Muffled hearing
• Sensation of fullness in the ear
• Fever if the infection is severe
A few factors that can make a person more susceptible to swimmer’s ear are:
• Swimming in water that isn’t clean
• Having a narrow ear canal
• Abrasion of the ear canal by improper use of a cotton swab
• Reduced production or improper removal of ear wax
It is important to treat swimmer’s ear as soon as possible in order to prevent serious complications such as hearing loss. Depending on the severity of the problem, treatment options are ear drops containing antibiotics,  steroid, and a mild acidic solution.  Have your physician evaluate the problem as soon as possible. If you would like to make an appointment with a physician at Jamaica 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.

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.

Emergency Preparedness Kit

Emergency Survival Preparedness Kit

When disaster hits there is often very little time to prepare. By taking the time to gather a few items in advance for yourself and your loved ones, you will be able to get through the first few days until help arrives.

An Emergency Preparedness Kit should include:

  • One gallon of water per person per day, a minimum of a three day supply
  • Nonperishable food and easy to prepare items, three day supply per person
  • Battery powered radio
  • Battery powered flashlight
  • Cell Phone and chargers
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Moist towelettes
  • Garbage bags
  • Diapers and formula for people with babies
  • First aid kit
  • Prescription medications
  • Insurance documents
  • List of important contact names and numbers
  • Cash
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a water proof container
  • Three day supply of pet food
  • Personal  hygiene items
  • Paper and pencil
  • Paper cups, plates, utensils, paper towels
  • Towels, blankets, sleeping bags, pillows
  • Rain gear
  • Gloves

By keeping these items in a safe, easy to access place in your home, they will serve you well in case of an unforeseen emergency. For further information regarding Emergency Preparedness, there is information available on the following websites:

http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/90354

http://www.redcrossstore.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.

What Are Compression Socks And Do They Work?

If you plan on watching the NYC Marathon this Sunday, you will probably notice many of the runners wearing special, tight-fitting socks. These garments, known as compression socks are intended to improve circulation and help with pain and stiffness. Compression technology is becoming increasingly popular with both athletes and non-athletes, but are they effective?

Running shoes closeupCompression socks are special garments designed to provide extra support and increase blood circulation. The key to understanding how these socks work lies in knowing about their graduated pressure application. Throughout an average day, the body pumps blood to all of the extremities as equally as it can. Gravity, however, often causes blood to pool in the lower legs and feet, causing circulatory problems such as edema, phlebitis and thrombosis. This blood pooling can cause fatigue and leg cramps. Elevating the legs and feet may alleviate the pain temporarily, but it often returns after a few hours of constant standing or walking.

Compression socks use stronger elastics such as rubber or spandex to create significant pressure on the legs, ankles and feet. By compressing the surface veins, arteries and muscles, the circulating blood is forced through narrower channels. The arterial pressure is increased, causing more blood to return to the heart and less blood to pool in the feet. Compression socks are tightest at the ankles, gradually become less constrictive towards the knees.

While these socks are most closely associated with athletes, they were originally designed to help those with a compromised circulatory system and many people now find their everyday use beneficial. It has been recommended that passengers on long flights wear compression socks to prevent circulatory problems like deep vein thrombosis, leg cramps and edema. Those with jobs that require long periods of standing on their feet may also benefit from the use of these socks.

Speak to your doctor to see if you can benefit from compression socks. If you do not have a doctor and would like to make an appointment at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, 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.

Small Changes = Big Benefits

Seniors exercising with dumbbells in a health club

When looking for a routine that can bring wellness to your entire being, you don’t have to climb a mountain in Tibet or strip away all food you love.  Experts say that the best way to bring a wellness routine into your life is through a series of small changes that will gradually make a difference.

Changes such as:

  • Meditation – Take a moment in the morning to meditate.  It will set the tone for the day and clear your head to prepare for what the day may bring.
  • Music – Play calming music.  The body’s internal rhythms sync with the rhythms of music. By focusing on the music and its melody, you will start to feel your breathing and heart rate begin to slow down, bringing you to a much calmer place
  • Plan a trip – According to research, happiness spikes when planning a trip.
  • Put down your smartphone – When the impulse to pick up your phone comes, and you resist it, you may feel a wave of anxiety.  Don’t panic! Breath through the anxiety and you will see that there is calm that will follow.
  • Breathe deeply – Sit in a comfortable place, breathe naturally and settle your attention on your breath.  With each inhale and exhale, mentally repeat the words “in” and “out.”  Even if you mind wanders, don’t get distracted; just bring your attention back to your breathing.
  • Don’t check your email when you first wake up – When you wake, sit silently and allow your mind to wander. Take 10 minutes to just center yourself before you start your day.
  • Walk – Use part of your lunch break to take a walk.  This activity will aid with digestion, keep you active and relieve stress.

No one likes change and it rarely comes easy.  That’s why slowly incorporating small steps toward your goals overtime can lead to huge changes in the long run.

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 Keep Your Immune System Strong?

Our immune system protects our bodies from illness and infection. While having a strong immune system is important all year long, there are times of the year that its effectiveness is tested more than other.

body defense

With cold a flu season upon us, Flushing Hospital wants to offer some day-to-day lifestyle tips to avoid weakening your immune system and keep you healthy.

STRESS
Prolonged periods of intense stress can affect the immune system. Stress causes the brain to boost the production of hormones that weaken the function of the infection-fighting T cells. If you are experiencing high levels of stress, try to adopt stress-relieving activities to boost your immune system.

POOR SLEEP
Poor sleep is strongly associated with a weak immune system as it reduces the number of killer cells needed to fight germs. Recent research has suggested that the amount of flu-fighting antibodies produced was cut in half in those who were sleep deprived.

ALCOHOL
Excessive intake of alcohol may reduce the immune system’s response to invading pathogens because alcohol contains ingredients that impair lung functionality, making us more prone to viral or bacterial infections.

POOR DIET
Excessive consumption of refined sugars and highly processed food containing pesticides, chemical additives and preservatives can weaken the immune system. In addition, obesity can lead to a weakened immune system as it affects the ability of white blood cells to multiply, produce antibodies and prevent inflammation.

By adopting some healthy lifestyle practices and avoiding certain others, we can give our bodies the best chance of staving of illness this cold and flu season.

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.

Low-Sodium = Lower Risk

bakedsalmon

A low-sodium diet can reduce the risks of hypertension, cardiovascular disease and kidney damage.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium should be consumed per day

Here are the approximate amounts of sodium in a given amount of table salt:

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt = 575 mg sodium
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt = 1,150 mg sodium
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,725 mg sodium
  • 1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 mg sodium

If you are interested in lowering your sodium, this recipe for baked salmon is a good place to start.  For this and other low sodium recipes you can go to –

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/salmon-baked-in-foil-recipe.html#lightbox-recipe-video

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.