Remembering 1999 and the West Nile Virus

Just before Labor Day in 1999, Northern Queens became the epicenter of a very serious, and in rare cases, deadly disease – the West Nile Virus.

The West Niles Virus is primarily spread through the bite of a mosquito. While the overwhelming majority of those infected with the virus suffer either no or very minor symptoms, people over age 60, or those with a comprised immune system may be at risk of developing serious symptoms. In rare cases (less than 1%), individuals may develop headache, fever, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, confusion, muscle weakness, or swelling of the brain (encephalitis) or paralysis.  West Nile can even cause permanent neurological damage and death.

The disease was found only in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia.  It had never seen in the United States, however, in the summer of 1999, Flushing Hospital doctors noticed a cluster of patients experiencing very mysterious symptoms that could not be explained. The medical staff immediately reached out to their partners at the local health authorities to report their findings. Together, the team identified the virus and alerted the public. The City’s response was immediate as they instituted an aerial assault days before the Labor Day weekend to eradicate the source…the mosquitos. Thanks to the efforts of Flushing Hospital, many New Yorkers who might have otherwise been exposed while enjoying time outdoors were spared from becoming infected.

As we near the anniversary of this event, Flushing Hospital wants to continue to educate the public on how to stay safe and avoid becoming infected by West Nile or any other mosquito-borne diseases by following these tips to reduce your chances of exposure:

  • Wear protective clothing such as long pants and long sleeved shirts, particularly between dusk and dawn when mosquitos are most active
  • Avoid shaded, bushy areas where mosquitos like to rest
  • Remove any places where standing water can collect on your property, such as tires, cans, plastic containers or pots,
  • Make sure your roof gutters drain properly. Clean clogged gutters in the spring and the fall.
  • Clean and chlorinate your swimming pools, outdoor saunas or hot tubs and drain water from pool covers
  • Change the water in your bird baths at least every three to four days.

Flushing Hospital urges everyone to take proper precautions and enjoy the remainder of your 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.

Obesity

One of the most prevalent health conditions in the United States today is obesity. Both children and adults are often classified as being obese and this can have very serious health consequences. There are numerous reasons that a person may be obese. While lack of exercise and poor eating habits are more commonly given as reasons for being obese, genetics and socio-economic factors may also be involved. Typically obesity is related to consuming more calories every day than are being expended.
Obesity is defined as a condition where a person has excess body fat. One of the ways that obesity is measured is by taking a person’s body mass index (BMI), which is calculated by their body weight in kilograms and dividing it by their height in meters squared. If the result is 30 or greater, that person is considered to be obese.
Being obese can have very serious effects on a person’s overall health. Some of the health conditions associated with obesity are:
• Diabetes
• Hypertension
• High Cholesterol
• Stroke
• Osteoarthritis
• Respiratory difficulty
• Sleep apnea
• Heart disease
There are a few ways that a person can prevent themselves from becoming obese.  Since poor eating habits and behavior may be the cause of the problem, modifying these factors will be helpful. A conservative approach to treating obesity involves:
• Change eating habits
• Improve and increase physical activity
• consult with your physician for recommendations
• consult with a certified dietician
There are also different types of weight loss surgeries, known as bariatric surgery that can be performed.  They are Gastric Bypass, that shrinks the stomach capacity into a small pouch so it won’t hold a lot of food and the Adjustable Gastric Band surgery which limits the amount of food that enters the stomach. If you would like to discuss surgical options for treating obesity with a physician at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-206-5486.

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.

Employee Spotlight – Tracy M. Norris, LCSW

Meet Tracy M. Norris, LCSW.  Tracy is a dedicated social worker, doctoral student and Clinical Manager at the Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s (FHMC) Mental Health Clinic.

As Clinical Manager, Tracy’s daily responsibilities are many.  Whether overseeing patient care, staffing, medication trouble shooting, communicating with administrators or providing direct consults for patients Tracy’s days are eventful.

Tracy considers every day to be her best day.  No matter the challenge or accomplishment she is focused on the patient by always striving to improve patient care and overall satisfaction.

“When you know that your patients are healthy, happy and safe, you have a sense of pride and personal fulfillment” is how Tracy describes what pleases her most about the work she does.

Tracy does not keep her dedication to mental health tethered to inside the hospital.  She maintains a rigorous community outreach schedule bringing her knowledge to the surrounding community and schools in Flushing.

She hosts community workshops on various topics including, but not limited to:

  • Internet Safety
  • Satellite Babies
  • Mental Health 101
  • Anger and Rage Management in Adolescents
  • Parenting a pre-teen
  • Cyber-Bullying

“Outreach is a way of putting a human face on a mental health issue that may be culturally stigmatized causing people to not want to reach out for help.” “I feel that if I can influence a child or help a parent to connect with their child, I have made a difference,“ stated Tracy.

To Tracy M. Norris, life is about meaning. Her work and her patients as well as being part of the social work team at Flushing Hospital Medical Center are her greatest motivation. She states, “They are a good reason to jump out of bed every day!”

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.

Have You Ever Heard of Face Blindness?

Prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness or facial agnosia, is a rare neurological disorder characterized by the inability to recognize faces. The condition is often accompanied by other forms of recognition impairments such as a failure to recognize objects or places but sometimes it is just restricted to facial identity.

Depending upon the degree of impairment, some people with prosopagnosia may only have difficulty recognizing a familiar face. Others might be unable to discriminate between unknown faces while others may not be able to distinguish a face as being different from an object. In some cases, people with the disorder are unable to recognize their own face.

Prosopagnosia is not related to memory dysfunction, memory loss, impaired vision or a learning disability. Most of the documented cases of prosopagnosia are linked to an event that resulted in damage to the brain, such as a stroke, head trauma or a degenerative disease. In these cases, the condition is referred to as acquired prosopagnosia. In other cases however, the condition occurs in the absence of brain damage. These cases are considered developmental prosopagnosia and can occur at birth or at a very young age. In most cases, developmental prosopagnosia is genetic in nature.

There is still very little know about prosopagnosia and there is no cure for prosopagnosia. To compensate, those with the disorder are encouraged to develop strategies to help them identify individuals, such as recognizing voice cues or other unique physical attributes.

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.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a condition that is characterized by raised, red scaly patches. It is  often found on the scalp, knees and elbows, but can show up on other parts of the body as well of people who have the disease. The exact cause is not known but there is a correlation between genetics and also the body’s immune system. Psoriasis is a condition where the skin cells multiply at a faster rate than normal cells. This causes a buildup up skin lesions and the area of the body also feels warmer because it contains more blood vessels.
Psoriasis is not contagious so it does not get passed by coming in to contact with a person who has it. It is a condition that affects men and women equally and  it can develop at any age, most commonly between the ages of 15 and 35.
Common signs of psoriasis include:
• red patches of skin with thick silvery scales
• cracked and dry skin that may bleed
• stiff joints that may be swollen
• itching, burning and soreness
• nails that are pitted, thick and ridged
There are certain risk factors for developing psoriasis.  This includes stress, smoking, obesity, alcoholism, skin infections, a vitamin D deficiency, and a family history. Psoriasis is diagnosed by examining the skin and making a diagnosis. A dermatologist will be able to determine if it is psoriasis by the amount of thickness and redness it has. There are different types of psoriasis and they are classified by how they show up on the skin.
There are three ways that treatment for psoriasis can be approached. They can be used by themselves or together, depending on the severity. Topical creams and ointments that contain corticosteroids are usually the most commonly prescribed medications for mild to moderate conditions. Light therapy that is either natural or artificial ultraviolet light  can be used and it is directed at the area of the body that is affected. In severe cases, medications that are either injected or taken orally may be required. There are also alternative treatments that are being used and this includes Aloe vera which comes from a plant and   omega-3 fatty acids that comes from fish oils.
Depending on the severity of the disease, it may have an impact on a person’s quality of life. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Flushing Hospital Hospital for any type of skin condition, 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.

7 Ways to Keep Your Bladder Healthy

Very often we take bladder health for granted until a problem starts to develop. Bladder problems can lead to discomfort, difficulty urinating, frequency in urination and in some cases, mad dashes to the bathroom.

The good news is by taking an active role in your bladder health you can avoid infections and reduce the risk of developing several medical problems. Here are seven ways you can help improve your bladder’s health and help it to function properly.

  1. Don’t wait long to use the bathroom. Holding in urine can add pressure to the bladder and increase the risk of developing infections.
  2. Do not rush when emptying your bladder. Rushing may result in your bladder not emptying completely- this can lead to bladder infections.
  3. Avoid food or drinks that contain irritants. Certain food or drinks that contain ingredients such as caffeine, artificial sweeteners, acid, spices, excessive amounts of salt and alcohol can worsen bladder problems.
  4. Drink enough water throughout the day. Drinking your daily recommended amount of water can help flush out bacteria in the urinary tract and help prevent bladder infections.
  5. Practice Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. Kegels are a good way for men and women to maintain bladder control.
  6. Avoid constipation by adding fiber to your diet. Constipation often results in a full rectum which adds pressure to the bladder.
  7. Urinate after having intercourse. Men and women should try to urinate after sexual intercourse. This helps to flush away bacteria that may have entered during sex.

If you are experiencing difficulty urinating or have questions about maintaining bladder health, please call Flushing Hospital Medical Center at 718-670-5588 to schedule an appointment with a urologist.

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.

Importance of a Back to School Dental Check Up

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When planning your child’s return to school in the fall, as parents you have a list of supplies and purchases that need to me be made to make sure they have everything they need to have a great school year. While planning your child’s entrance back to school, make sure you schedule an appointment for your child’s dental check-up.

Healthy teeth are important to your child’s overall health. Did you know that a correlation between oral infections and diabetes, asthma, heart disease and obesity has been identified?  According to the National Institutes of Health, 20% to 30% of children and adolescents in the United States have chronic health conditions due to a lack of good oral hygiene.

Chronic illness may interfere with a child’s ability to succeed in school.  There has been statistical evidence that shows a direct link between chronic illness and missed school time that can lead to a decline in your child’s school performance.

Some ways to promote healthy teeth in your child are:

  • Brush teeth regularly – At the age of 3, you can begin to teach your child proper brushing techniques by using a drop of fluoride toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Avoid Sugar – Ingesting sweets brings about an acidity that causes decay-producing bacteria. A sugary snack can lead to a mouth full of cavities.
  • Regular dental treatments – Your child should see a dentist around the time of his/her first birthday and then regularly thereafter. It is important to establish a relationship of trust between your child and their dentist.

If you feel anxious about a visit to the dentist, try not to convey those feelings to your child.  Encourage your child to discuss any fears about visiting a dentist and be reassuring that the dental professional is there to help them.

If you are interested in making an appointment for your child to see a dentist, the Department of Dentistry at Flushing Hospital Medical Center provides valuable services to the community. For an appointment call, 718-670-5521.

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 Healthy Eating Promote Successful Wound Healing?

The nutritional status of a patient plays a large role in their body’s ability undergo wound healing. It requires a higher than normal level of energy and nutrients if it is going to be successful. The body requires an additional 35 calories per kilogram of body weight to help a chronic wound to heal. This will include eating a well-balanced diet that includes protein, grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy.

A balanced diet should include 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. A kilogram is equal to 2.2 pounds. Keeping hydrated is also very important, eight glasses of water per day should be the minimum and more if the person sweats profusely, has a wound that is draining, or if vomiting and or diarrhea are present. Meals should include meats, eggs, milk, cheese, nuts, seeds, yogurt and dried beans. In some people who have difficulty obtaining proper caloric intake from their daily meals, high protein and high calorie shakes can be used as supplements. Two amino acids, found in foods having protein and that have been identified as having potential to help wound healing are arginine and glutamine.


People with diabetes often have difficulty with wound healing, and this is due to poor circulation, nerve damage which leads to the constant breakdown of healthy tissue components needed to heal, and a higher than normal level of sugar in the blood which can lead to higher rates of infection and causes fluids to be drained from the body. It is therefore very important for a person with diabetes to keep tight control of their disease.
Wound healing also requires additional levels of vitamins and minerals, however care must be taken too not take in more that the daily recommended amounts because this can have a negative effect on the body.


It is important to consult with a physician about how to eat successfully when trying to heal a wound and also a nutritionist who specializes in wound care.
If you have a chronic or non-healing wound, you may be a candidate for Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s outpatient Wound Care Center. To schedule an appointment or speak with a clinician, please call 718-670-4542

 

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

What is Mononucleosis?

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

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

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

Symptoms of mononucleosis include:

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

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

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

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

If you do not have a doctor, Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center has many dedicated physicians. To make an appointment, please call 718-670-8939.

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

History of the EKG

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

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