Category Archives: Health News

Kids and the Flu: Symptoms, When to Seek Care

Posted on: January 29, 2015

Flu Season’s in High Gear: How to Protect and Care for Your Kids

by Dr. Pete Richel

We are now in the middle of Influenza season (“the Flu”), which is typically October through March. Locally we did not see much of this in October and November, but it Doctor giving needle to young girl in exam roomcommenced last month and is going strong.

Most of the positive cultures are revealing Influenza type A, and even though the Influenza vaccine was not a great match this year, we still encourage all to receive it, since it may be protective against some strains, and we find no significant down side.

All children 6 months and older should be vaccinated against the flu.
-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

It’s not too late to receive this at your doctor’s office. The vaccine is approved for those 6 months of age and older. When someone gets “the Flu” at any age, the classic symptoms are:

  • temperature instability (fever) as the body’s immune system fights for us,
  • generalized achiness,
  • and a rather hacking cough.

“…frequent hand washing for patients and their caretakers
will help to prevent contagion.”

When any of these symptoms occur, bring your child to see your pediatrician. We can evaluate them with a physical exam, of course, and we can do a rapid Flu test and make the diagnosis in minutes. If the test is positive, then we can prescribe Tamiflu, a medication which may lessen the severity of symptoms, and may shorten the usual week long course of the illness.

In addition, it is always prudent to keep up with plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and the need for hospitalization. And we all know that good frequent hand washing for patients and their caretakers will help to prevent contagion. This is something that you don’t want to share!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “some children are at especially high risk.” Children at greatest risk of serious flu-related complications include the following:
1. Children younger than 6 months old -These children are too young to be vaccinated. The best way to protect them is to make sure people around them are vaccinated
2. Children aged 6 months up to their 5th birthday.
3. American Indian and Alaskan Native children.
4. Children with chronic health problems, such as: Asthma, neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, Chronic lung disease, Heart disease, Diabetes or a weakended immune system.

Editor’s Note:
Dr. Peter Richel, MD, FAAP is Chief of Pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital. He is a member of Westchester Health Associates and has practiced on Smith Avenue in Mt. Kisco since 1990. Dr. Pete has authored “Happy and Healthy,” a book on wellness in the first year of life, and he produced a CD of children’s songs entitled “Welcome to Dr. Pete’s Office.” These are intended to educate and entertain children and their families.

Dr. Pete, as he’s fondly known, has received numerous recognitions including: Castle Connolly Top Doctor, Top Pediatrician by the Consumer’s Research Council of America and honored with Patients’ Choice Awards and Compassionate Doctor Awards.

 

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Preventing Cervical Cancer

Posted on: January 23, 2015

Women – This Regular Screening Can Save Your Life

by Dr. Navid Mootabar

There’s important news for every woman in a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Despite evidence that cervical cancer screening saves lives, iStock_27565368_Women_Coffee_HiRezabout eight million women, ages 21 to 65 years, have not been screened for cervical cancer in the past five years. In addition, more than half of new cervical cancer cases occur among women who have never or rarely been screened.  Here, I explain which tests you need, when to get screened, and demystify the protective HPV vaccine. I also offer women a silver lining: You rarely have to worry about advanced cervical cancer if you are regularly screened.

Did you know that cervical cancer was the leading cause of death among women 40 years ago?

The introduction of screening through the Pap smear has caused the disease to drop to the fourth cause of female mortality. But that incidence could be lowered even further if more women had the recommended Pap test. To understand this screening’s exceptional value, you need to know more about the primary cause of cervical cancer: Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

HPV causes approximately 90 percent of all cervical cancer cases.

This sexually transmitted virus is so common, most people will contract it at some point in their lives. There are many strains (types) of HPV. Certain HPV strains are responsible for changes on a woman’s cervix that can result in cervical cancer. Other strains may cause genital or skin warts.  Additional factors that contribute to an increased risk for cervical cancer include smoking, extended use of birth control, and having multiple sexual partners.

Most women who have cervical cancer will have no symptoms. However, infrequent symptoms may include unexplained vaginal bleeding, bleeding after intercourse and abnormal vaginal discharge. What’s more, the strains of HPV that may lead to cervical cancer are also asymptomatic.

Regular screening for cervical cancer has extraordinary life-saving potential.

The screening test — the Pap smear– involves brushing cells off the cervix, which are then examined for abnormalities. Our goal is to identify cervical cancer in a precancerous state, when it is highly curable. The impact of identifying the disease early through a Pap smear is evidenced by the fact that, from 2001 to 2010, the incidence of the disease decreased by almost two percent per year.

So when should you get screened? New guidelines recommend that women start at age 21. A Pap smear is recommended every three years, combined with an examination of the same cervical cells for HPV, until the age of 65, provided you have no risk factors or abnormal Pap smears. At 65, screenings can be discontinued if there have been no abnormal results in the previous 10 years, or no history prior to the past ten years of moderately pre-cancerous growth.

“Seeing your gynecologist annually is a vital
part of a woman’s comprehensive health care.”

The three-year guideline takes into account that for most women, cervical cancer doesn’t progress quickly. Very rarely does it advance from normal to cancer in one year. Therefore, if a woman is screened every three years, there is every likelihood the disease will be caught while still in the highly curable pre-cancerous stage.

Keep in mind that the guideline represents the minimum number of screenings you need to be safe. However, some women require more frequent screenings. At each visit, your gynecologist will determine if it is appropriate to do a Pap smear, by assessing all risk factors.

There are two other forms of prevention for cervical cancer.

One is the condom. The other is the HPV vaccination, which protects women from several of the most common and aggressive strains of HPV that can lead to cervical cancer. However, it does not protect against all strains that can lead to the disease. The vaccine – a series of three injections over six months – is recommended any time from age 9 to 26. Because HPV is transmitted through intercourse, I often recommend to my patients that they wait until they are considering becoming sexually active. Many parents question if their daughter needs the vaccine at such an early age.  The decision as to when to receive the vaccine is very individual, and I believe it should be made in consultation with the patient’s gynecologist or pediatrician.  I want to stress that the vaccine does not replace regular Pap smears.

Treatment for cervical cancer in the pre-cancerous stage can be as simple as an office procedure called a LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure) which involves a local anesthetic and removal of all pre-cancerous cells from the cervix. There is a low incidence of recurrence. If the disease advances to cancer, treatment depends on the stage and the woman’s wish to remain fertile.  It can involve a cone biopsy, in which the outer portion of the cervix is removed; a hysterectomy, involving removal of the uterus and cervix; or radiation therapy.

It is essential to understand that, although the recommendations call for a Pap smear every three years, seeing your gynecologist annually is a vital part of a woman’s comprehensive health care. Pelvic exams, Pap tests and cancer screenings can help prevent illness and detect problems at an early and potentially more treatable stage. All women need to be diligent about visiting their gynecologist each year.

Editor’s Note:
Dr. Navid Mootabar is a member of Westchester Health Associates in Mount Kisco, NY. He is the Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a Director of the Institute for Robotic & Minimally Invasive Surgery at Northern Westchester Hospital. He received his medical degree from the Mount Sinai Medical School, where he also completed his residency in Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Medicine. Dr. Mootabar completed his undergraduate courses at Columbia University and was named among “America’s Top Obstetricians and Gynecologists” from the Consumer Research Council of America. Dr. Mootabar has received advanced training in robot-assisted Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS) and utilizes this approach for select gynecologic surgery procedures.

 

 

Flu Season is Upon Us

Posted on: January 14, 2015

Flu 9401Flu season is upon us.  Therefore, it is important to understand what you can do to prevent getting the flu.  Simple steps include frequent hand-washing, keeping your hands away from your mouth and face, and getting a flu vaccination.

Annual outbreaks of seasonal flu usually occur during the fall through early spring, and in a typical year, approximately 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the seasonal flu.

This year the peak of the flu season is expected in February. However, there are effective ways to avoid the flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 43 states are reporting widespread flu outbreaks, including New York State. Across the state, including Westchester County and New York City, nearly 4,000 cases of the flu have been confirmed. Continue reading

Use by date, Sell by date, Food safety

Posted on: November 14, 2014

The Sniff Test

by Amy Rosenfeld

How often do you take something from the refrigerator, smell it, and then promptly turn to the nearest unsuspecting family member and say, “How does this smell to you?” Foods can develop an off odor, flavor or appearance related to bacteria, and while the “sniff test” has become a way of life for most of us, there are certainly safer ways of determining if something in your fridge is still edible? Continue reading

Adjusting to the end of Daylight Saving Time

Posted on: October 29, 2014

Fall Back with Ease

by Dr. Praveen Rudraraju
fall leavesAdjusting to the end of Daylight Saving Time in the fall is a bit easier than handling the time change in the spring.

The main reason is because we gain an hour of sleep for the fall time change.

Try to go to bed at your usual time, most people are sleep deprived – it’s a good time to take advantage of the extra hour. Continue reading