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.

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

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

Mother holding a baby while he opens his mouth

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

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

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

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

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

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What Is It Called When You Are Jolted Out Of A Light Sleep?

You are starting to fall asleep when you are startled back to consciousness by a sudden jolt to your body or the sensation that you are falling. This common and harmless feeling experienced by many is known as a hypnic jerk.

Surprised Man Waking Up

A hypnic jerk is an involuntary twitching of the muscles. They usually occur just as you are falling asleep, during what is considered the hypnagogic (hypnic for short) state of consciousness. While scientists don’t know for certain why hypnic jerks occur, some of the potential factors are believed to be:

 

• Anxiety
• Stress
• Alcohol
• Caffeine
• Heavy exercise late in the evening
• Being overly tired or fatigued

While addressing the underlying cause may reduce the likelihood of experiencing hypnic jerks, it may not be possible to totally prevent them from occurring. Luckily there’s nothing to be worried about – hypnic jerks aren’t dangerous. They may be unsettling or annoying, but you don’t need to fear going to sleep just because they may happen to you.

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 There A Need to Fear the Beard?

They have appeared on faces throughout history and they are once again a hip trend for many men. We’re talking about beards.

 

Portrait of brutal bearded man

Before growing a beard, many factors have to be considered, but should your health be one of them? Before we answer that question, here are a few facts about this popular facial hair trend.

 

 

• On average, a man’s beard will grow 5.5 inches per year. If the average man stopped shaving forever, his beard would grow to almost 30 feet over the course of his lifetime.
• There are around 30,000 whiskers encompassing your face and most men spend over 3,000 hours of his life shaving.
• The record for the world’s longest beard belongs to Hans Langseth. His beard stretched to 17 ½’in 1927.
• According to a recent study of women, beards increase three things: a- they make men look older, b-they connote a higher social status, and c- give off an impression of aggression.

Now, to answer the question about how beards can affect your health.

• Facial hair can block up to 95% of the sun’s harmful UV rays. Which means beards can go a long way in reducing your risk of developing some forms of skin cancer.
• Beards may also aid allergy sufferers as they can work like a filter to prevent pollen or dust from settling, similar to the hairs inside your nose.
• By not shaving, you can prevent the spread of acne-causing bacteria on your face, resulting in clearer and cleaner skin.

There is also an idea that beards are dirty and harbor germs. Studies that support this claim have been inconclusive. Further research has found that the number of germs found in men’s beards were similar in number to those found on the face of their unshaven male counterparts.

So, while it is certainly recommended to follow proper beard hygiene, there is no health risks associated with growing a beard.

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.

Facts About Robotic Surgery

You hear the words “robotic surgery” and your natural reaction might be one of fear. After all, surgery under any circumstance is intimidating; adding a robot into the mix could only increase your anxiety. While your concerns are justified, Flushing Hospital would like to share the following five facts about robotic surgery to put your fears to rest.Davinci Image

  1. Robotic surgery is always performed by an experienced surgeon.
    Using the state-of-the art da Vinci robotic surgical system, specially trained surgeons at Flushing Hospital are in total control of small, precise, minimally invasive tools. This system offers the surgeon more exact movements and a far wider range of motion within the small surgical site.
  2. Robotic surgery means smaller and fewer scars.
    Since surgeons only need two or three small incisions to successfully complete surgery with the da Vinci Si surgical system, larger, more invasive incisions are now a thing of the past. These small incisions heal much more quickly and resolve with far less scarring.
  3. Robotic surgery results in less pain or risk of infection.
    Minimally invasive surgery results in smaller incisions and much less pain during healing and recovery. Also, since the surgical site is smaller, the risk of infection is reduced dramatically.
  4. Robotic surgery results in a much faster recovery period.
    Due to the smaller incisions, patients tend to recover much more quickly from robotic surgery. In many cases patients require minimal hospital stays and are able to return to normal activities within days of the procedure.
  5. Robotic surgery treats a wide variety conditions.
    At Flushing Hospital Medical Center, many of our surgical specialists have been trained to expertly complete a wide range of procedures in the fields of gynecology, urology, bariatric surgery, and general surgery.

For more information about the da Vinci surgical system at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-3135.

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.

The Sun is Nothing to Sneeze at…or is it?

Have you ever stepped out of a dark movie theatre into the bright sunlight and felt the urge to sneeze? If so, you probably have a harmless and not all that uncommon disorder known as Photic Sneeze Reflex.

allergy concept

This condition is characterized by the uncontrollable impulse to sneeze provoked by a transition from dark environment to an intensely bright surrounding, usually sunlight.
Also referred to as the “Achoo Syndrome”, this involuntary reflex is a genetic trait that affects both males and females alike. It is estimated that anywhere from 15 – 35 percent of the population has this disorder.

Those who have the photic sneeze reflex usually sneeze two to three times (although in rare case, some can sneeze up to 40 times) when transitioning from dark to bright environments, and while there are no associated health risks, there are concerns that this condition can be dangerous for people in certain professions, such as airline pilots.

While no one really knows why this reflex occurs, there are multiple theories that suggest that certain optic nerves are too close to other nerves that may trigger a reaction in the brain of photic sneezers or simply that those with this condition have a more sensitive visual system.

Regardless of the reason, the next time you exit a movie theatre on a bright sunny day, take notice of how many people exiting start sneezing, you might be surprised.

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.

Truth or Myth: Our Nose and our Ears Never Stop Growing

At some point in your life, someone has probably shared with you a little nugget of wisdom about how our nose and our ears never stop growing. You might then look around and see a bunch of senior citizens and notice that, in-fact, their facial appendages are slightly larger than their younger counterparts and believe this fact to be true…but is it?

Woman listening with big ear

The truth is that “Yes”, as we age, our nose and our ears do get bigger, but not because they are growing. The real reason is a common scientific force known as GRAVITY. You see, our nose and our ears are made of cartilage and while many people mistakenly believe that cartilage never stops growing, the fact is cartilage does stop growing. However, cartilage is made of collagen and other fibers that begin to break down as we age.

The result is drooping. So what appears to be growth is just gravity doing its job. Our noses and our earlobes sag and become larger. Adding to the misconception is what happens to other parts of our face. While our nose might sag, our cheeks and lips actually lose volume, making everything else look comparatively larger.

Unfortunately, aging – and gravity – are both unavoidable. Our only defense against this natural occurrence is finding the fountain of youth or moving to the moon.

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 is a Brain Freeze?

“SPHENOPALATINE GANGLIONEURALGIA!!!” We’re guessing you have never heard anyone yell that out after licking an ice cream cone or slurping down a frozen beverage. Perhaps you have heard someone scream “Brain Freeze” though, the more common term for this scientific condition.

Man eating ice cream cone

A brain freeze usually occurs after a cold food or beverage touches the roof of the mouth (your palate). This sudden temperature change of the tissue stimulates nerves, causing rapid dilation and swelling of the blood vessels. This response is an attempt to direct blood to the area and warm it back up. The “headache” that follows is triggered when the pain receptors in your mouth signal your brain using the nerves in your face. The end result is a sudden, sharp pain and the usual exclamation that is synonymous with this phenomenon.

A brain freeze, also referred to as an ice cream headache, can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes in duration. Brain freezes can occur as frequently in the summer as they do in the winter because the brain’s response is to the food being consumed, not to the temperature outside.

To avoid getting a brain freeze it is recommended that you eat slowly because this reaction is triggered by an immediate temperature change in the mouth. If you do suffer a brain freeze, try pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth to warm the blood vessels. Other suggested tricks include holding your head back or breathing in through mouth and out through the nose to pass warmer air through the nasal passages.

With the weather getting warmer and more people indulging in ice cream and other frozen treats, expect to hear someone yelling out “Brain Freeze” soon. When they do, be sure to share your new found knowledge about this common sensation.

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.

Tips for Staying Hydrated

Portrait of a female athlete drinking form a water bottle

With winter behind us and warmer weather on the horizon, more and more people will begin to participate in outdoor activities. Before you begin, make sure you drink plenty of water in order to avoid dehydration. Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated:

 

  • The rule that you need to drink eight glasses of water per day is a myth. The Institute of Medicine recommends women should receive 2.2 liters of fluid intake per day and men should get three liters. Keep in mind that fluid intake can come from beverages other than water.
  • While thirst is your body’s way of preventing dehydration, being thirsty doesn’t mean that you are dehydrated. Thirst is our brain’s way of telling us to drink more to avoid dehydration.
  • The color of your urine is a good, real-time indicator of dehydration, but the misconception is that urine should be clear. In truth, urine should be a pale-yellow color.
  • Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee or tea will not dehydrate you if consumed in moderate amounts. Caffeine is considered a mild diuretic, the amount of water in it offsets the amount of fluid it will cause you to lose through increased urination.
  • Drinking isn’t the only way of increasing your water intake. It is estimated that we get up to 20% of our daily water intake from the foods we eat. Fruits and vegetables contain the most, with cucumbers, celery, and watermelon having the highest concentration of water.
  • There is also such a thing as drinking too much water and becoming overhydrated. This can be very dangerous and can lead to a condition called hyponatremia. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache, and fatigue. To avoid this problem, do not drink to the point that you are full from water alone.

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.

Computer Vision Syndrome

ThinkstockPhotos-469899036 (1)
Many people spend long hours staring at a computer monitor at work during the day and then during their leisure time they may be using a tablet or another type of device to stay in contact with their family and friends. Can too many hours using these devices be harmful to the eyes?
Computer Vision Syndrome or CVS describes a few eye disorders that may have been caused by excessive time in front of a screen.  Prior to the computer generation, we used to spend more time reading material printed on paper and we had more variety of formats. We would move our eyes more frequently to and from the material that we were reading because we would take breaks to read then write or type manually. In this new digital era, we gaze at a computer or tablet screen for longer periods of time without a break. This causes our eyes to be constantly changing focus and the brain is interpreting images at a much quicker pace. All this causes the muscles of the eyes to be moving much more than they had to when we were reading mainly printed materials.
As we have become more technologically advanced, we are more prone to the symptoms of CVS. These include:
• Blurred vision
• Double vision
• Headaches
• Eye irritation
• Dry eye
There are a few things that you can do to help ease the problems caused by long periods of time at a computer screen. The most important may be reducing the glare from the screen. This will help prevent squinting. It is recommended that the screen should be about 20 – 28 inches from the face and slightly below neck level. Also, try to take a break every twenty minutes to give your eyes a rest, set the font size and the brightness of the screen to make it suitable to you.
It is recommended that you get your eyes checked regularly by an ophthalmologist, especially if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. To schedule an appointment with an eye doctor please call 718-206-5900.

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.