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Now That We’re Part of Northwell Health, You Can Access The Amazing Pediatric Specialists of Cohen Children’s Medical Center

Westchester Health Blog - Wed, 11/14/2018 - 09:24

Now that Westchester Health is part of Northwell Health and its physician organization, Northwell Health Physician Partners, we have greatly expanded our services to bring you and your family the best possible care. Best of all, this new relationship means that you now have access to the outstanding resources of Cohen Children’s Medical Center, the New York metropolitan area’s only hospital exclusively for children.

Here’s an article from Northell Health about the best ways to comfort your child when he or she is sick
  • Try rocking, cuddling, talking or doing things that calm your child finds calming.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures.
  • Don’t make the room or bed too warm.
  • Use alcohol rubs or cold-water baths to bring down a fever.
  • If a fever is present, call your child’s pediatrician and describe his/her symptoms.
  • Remove excess clothing or blankets to help bring down the fever.
  • Give acetaminophen and ibuprofen as directed by your pediatrician.
  • Serve bland food and hydrate your child with water, diluted fruit juices or popsicles.
  • Provide a comfortable place to rest.
  • Follow up with your pediatrician if symptoms linger.
To read the full story on ways to comfort your sick child, click here. When you need us, we are here for you, now more than ever

At Westchester Health, even though some things have changed recently, the most important thing about us has not: our commitment to delivering the highest-quality standard of compassionate, patient-centered care for you and your child. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

Categories: Blog

At Our Partners Northwell Health and Cohen Children’s Medical Center, A Lot More Is Going On Than Great Medicine

Westchester Health Blog - Thu, 11/08/2018 - 09:46

Now that Westchester Health is part of Northwell Health and its physician organization, Northwell Health Physician Partners, we have greatly expanded our services to bring you and your family the best possible care. Best of all, this new relationship means that you now have access to the outstanding resources of Cohen Children’s Medical Center, the New York metropolitan area’s only hospital exclusively for children.

Here’s the inspiring story of Taylor, 16-year-old author and illustrator, whose two books lighten the spirits and brighten the lives of kids going through tough medical treatments. Cohen Children’s Medical Center is the beneficiary of her 2nd book! Writing, reading, fundraising Taylor Sinett harnesses creativity to make a difference for kids with cancer and blood disorders.

An author and illustrator of two children’s books, Taylor, 16, picked up writing at 12. Her books not only help the children who read them but also youngsters who are persevering through a serious illness.

It all began with a drawing of a weasel created at art camp, according to the Sands Point teen. “My dad hung the picture in his office,” she said. “Someone noticed it and suggested I tell the story of the weasel.”

Taylor spun a positive tale to help readers see the world differently. Inspired by a family member with ulcerative colitis, Taylor wrote A Weasel on an Easel. The main character, Fredda, persists through hardships while pursuing a modeling career. Resilience is her hidden strength.

Taylor donated the proceeds from the book to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. Soon, she began receiving requests from local hospitals to visit and read her book to patients. Taylor’s trip to Cohen Children’s Medical Center motivated her to keep writing, speaking and directing her energy to promote health and healing.

“Walking from department to department and hosting readings, I noticed my story left patients smiling,” Taylor said. “I could tell the words lifted their spirits, and I wanted to do more. Soon after, I decided to write a second book to honor these patients and this hospital.”

Taylor published Jack on a Plaque, about a yak that learns self-acceptance, last year. She named Cohen Children’s Medical Center the beneficiary and in November donated $10,000 to the Northwell Health Foundation. Cohen Children’s Medical Center used her donation toward two vein viewers for its Division of Hematology/Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation.

A comforting solution

“Sick, dehydrated children often have veins that lie flat, making them all but impossible to feel through the skin,” said Donna Newman-Beck, RN, assistant nurse manager at the hospital’s Pediatric Ambulatory Chemotherapy and Transfusion Center. “But vein viewers decrease kids’ pain and anxiety by reducing the need for multiple needle sticks.”

Vein viewers use infrared light to “see” up to a half-inch beneath the skin. This helps nurses locate shallow veins and verify whether they are suitable for a catheter. Young people with chronic blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia, leukemia and platelet disorders benefit from vein viewers because the devices help nurses to quickly and accurately pinpoint the best place to insert a catheter. Before these devices, nurses used their hands to find an appropriate vein and guide a catheter through it, which could be tough for patients.

The hospital uses its new vein viewers for inpatient and outpatient transfusions. The devices are small, portable and simple to use, so they require minimal training and fewer staff members to be present for each patient. The entire process is now simplified, often requiring one skin prick, which patients appreciate.

As for Taylor, she’s already thinking ahead to her next act. “My goal is for all of my books to have a positive message, so readers believe in themselves after reading them,” she said. “I just hope that I’m making people happy and the world a better place.”

To read Taylor’s full story, click here. When you need us, we are here for you, now more than ever

At Westchester Health, even though some things have changed recently, the most important thing about us has not: our commitment to delivering the highest-quality standard of compassionate, patient-centered care for you and your child. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

Categories: Blog

Baby-Led Weaning: A New Approach To Helping Your Baby Transition To Solid Food

Westchester Health Blog - Wed, 11/07/2018 - 09:04

Have you heard of baby-led weaning? While this method of introducing babies to solid foods is just starting to become popular here in the U.S., it is much more widespread in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The thinking behind this approach is that if babies regulate their own intake of foods, they learn to read their own hunger cues and know when they’re full. This, in turn, may lead to less obesity, less pickiness/food aversion and a healthier outlook on eating in the future. Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician with our Westchester Health Pediatrics group, has written a very informative blog on the subject.

Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics re: when to start baby-led weaning

Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP

The AAP, along with the World Health Organization, advises that infants should be breastfed exclusively from birth until 6 months old and that complementary foods should not be introduced until after that. By 6 months of age, most healthy babies have the gross and fine motor skills to able to eat more solid, larger pieces of food by picking them up on their own. In order to be successful and safe (i.e., not choke), babies must be able to hold their head up well, sit on their own with little or no assistance, no longer have a tongue thrust reflex (where the baby reflexively pushes food out of their mouth) and be able to reach for and grab an object.

Most healthy babies have acquired these skills by around 6 months of age. If not, we at Westchester Health recommend postponing baby-led weaning until your baby does exhibit these skills. Until then, feed traditional purées.

With baby-led weaning, your baby decides what to eat and how much

Here’s how BLW works. Your baby should be sitting upright and always under adult supervision during mealtime. Place appropriate foods in front of your baby but DO NOT FEED HIM/HER. Only your baby actually puts the food in his/her mouth. Be aware that at first, babies may only play with the food without eating much. Also, many foods may need to be presented to your baby up to 10-15 times before he/she will accept this new taste and texture. We urge you to be patient!

What baby foods are appropriate for BLW?

Soft, cooked vegetables cut into sticks and soft fruits such as bananas and avocados in “graspable” pieces are perfect choices for this stage of feeding your baby. Meatballs, meats cooked well and cut into pinky-size pieces, cheeses, well-cooked eggs and fish are also great options. At this stage, we recommend giving your baby water in a straw or sippy cup during meal time.

What foods are not safe to put in front of your baby at this age?
  • Babies should not have any raw honey before they turn 1 year old because of the risk of botulism.
  • No nuts, raw vegetables or hard fruits such as apples.
  • No foods cut into a “coin” shape.
  • The AAP recommends that babies and toddlers should not be given fruit juices unless it’s to treat constipation.
These safe-eating rules apply to both baby-led weaning and spoon-feeding
  • New foods should be introduced one at a time.
  • Wait 3-4 days before introducing another new food. This does not decrease the likelihood of an allergy, but it does make it easier to discern which food a baby has reacted to.
  • Babies should not be given foods with added sugar or salt.
  • Mealtime should be relaxed and not pressured.
  • Ideally, parents should model healthy eating habits.
To learn more

For more information about when to wean your baby from breast milk or formula and start feeding solid foods, you might find this article helpful from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Have questions about when and how to introduce solid foods? Come see us

Knowing when and how to wean your baby from milk, either breast or formula, and onto solid foods can be an anxious time for some parents. We understand, we’re parents too. For information, guidance and support, please make an appointment with Westchester Health to see one of our pediatricians. We’ll share our years of experience with you and answer any questions you may have. All along the way, we’re your partners in raising a happy, healthy child. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

To read Dr. Adler’s blog in full, click here.

Categories: Blog

The Best Part About Our Partnership With Northwell Health? You’re Now Linked To An Incredible Network of Specialists To Help You Raise Your Baby.

Westchester Health Blog - Wed, 10/31/2018 - 09:04

Now that Westchester Health is part of Northwell Health and its physician organization, Northwell Health Physician Partners, we have greatly expanded our services to bring you and your family the best possible care. Best of all, this new relationship means that you now have access to the outstanding resources of Cohen Children’s Medical Center, the New York metropolitan area’s only hospital exclusively for children.

Check out this article from Northwell Health about the benefits of breastfeeding The top 3 reasons for breastfeeding your baby Boost your natural nourishment knowledge.

When it comes to nourishing your little one, no formula can compare to breastfeeding your baby. Mother’s milk contains important elements that aren’t available anywhere else, such as antibodies and hormones that naturally assist with healthy development.

Among its many advantages, here are the top three reasons for breastfeeding your baby:

1. Stronger immunity: Compared to babies who receive formula, breastfed babies are less likely to develop common illnesses like diarrhea and ear infections. They also have a reduced risk for more serious conditions that could impact them during childhood, such as asthma, leukemia and obesity.

2. Varied palate: According to the Nemours Foundation, a mother’s breast milk changes in flavor depending on the food she eats. These different flavors help babies develop tastes for different foods as they transition to solid nutrition.

3. Enhanced brain development: Some research suggests that babies who breastfeed are more likely to have higher IQs.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding babies exclusively during their first six months. After that, it should continue for six more months as you introduce age-appropriate foods.

To read the full story on the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding, click here. When you need us, we are here for you, now more than ever

At Westchester Health, even though some things have changed recently, the most important thing about us has not: our commitment to delivering the highest-quality standard of compassionate, patient-centered care for you and your child. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

Categories: Blog

Committed To Healthy Eating? So Are We, Along With Our Partners Northwell Health And Cohen Children’s Medical Center

Westchester Health Blog - Tue, 10/23/2018 - 10:06

Now that Westchester Health Pediatrics is part of Northwell Health and its physician organization, Northwell Health Physician Partners, we have greatly expanded our services to bring you and your family the best possible care. Best of all, this new relationship means that you now have access to Cohen Children’s Medical Center, the New York metropolitan area’s only hospital designed exclusively for children and one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals, according to U.S. News & World Report.

A wide range of sub-specialty pediatric services are now available to you at Cohen Children’s Medical Center

Rest assured, Westchester Health Pediatrics physicians will continue caring for your child at the state-of-the-art locations where you currently see us. But in addition, you can now take advantage of the 88 outstanding sub-specialties and programs available at Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

To make sure your child receives the highest quality medical care, Cohen Children’s Medical Center offers a comprehensive array of sub-specialties, including cardiothoracic surgery, Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Center, Cystic Fibrosis Center, Epilepsy Center, Fetal Cardiology Program, Hearing and Speech Center, Kidney Transplant Program, Leukemia and Lymphoma Program, Oncology Rare Tumors and Sarcoma Program, POWER Kids Weight Management Program and Stem Cell Transplant Program. All of these sub-specialties and many more are now available to you as part of our new affiliation with Northwell Health.

Check out these fresh ideas for getting your kids to try healthy, nutritious foods! 4 ways to make good food fun for kids

Foster lifelong wellness with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. For the nutrition they need to grow healthy and strong, children should fill at least half of their plates with colorful fruits and vegetables at every meal, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Try these ideas to encourage your kids to expand their food choices in healthy ways:

1. Cool cut-outs: Slice open a bell pepper (green, red, yellow or orange), flatten it, then use cookie cutters to transform it into vivid stars, hand shapes, cars — you name it.

2. Flower power: Fill a silicone baking cup with fresh fruit or vegetable slices. Overlap a circle of the pieces on top so it looks like a bloom. Try clementine wedges or carrot, zucchini or radish “coins.”

3. Scrumptious skewers: Give kids a pile of fruit pieces, sliced carrots and cucumbers, and a few kabob sticks so they can create their own designs.

4. Roll-ups: Create wraps with fresh fruit and/or veggies and spread with guacamole, Greek yogurt or cream cheese.

Keep it up! Studies show that most children need multiple exposures (between 5 and 10) to try new food, so don’t give up the first time your child turns something down. And remember, to get your son or daughter to try new foods, you need to model healthy eating habits yourself.

To read the full story on how to make good food fun, click here. When you need us, we are here for you, now more than ever

At Westchester Health, even though some things have changed recently, the most important thing about us has not: our commitment to delivering the highest-quality standard of compassionate, patient-centered care for you and your family. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

Categories: Blog

How You Can Reduce The Risk Of Sudden Cardiac Death In Your Young Athlete

Westchester Health Blog - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 10:44

If you have a young athlete who plays competitive sports, it’s extremely important that you and your child review this checklist before they begin any sports season. Even though it is extremely rare, sudden cardiac death is a frequent cause of sports-related death in young athletes. By conducting a thorough exam and screening, your pediatrician can help lessen the risks and hopefully prevent this potentially fatal event.

First, identify any health problems your child or teenager may have

Mason Gomberg, MD

Before your child begins any sport, it’s important to make the coaching staff aware of any health issues or conditions your child has, as well as any medications or supplements he/she is taking.

Health issues that might predispose your child or teen to sudden cardiac death include:

  • exercise-induced asthma
  • previous history of concussions
  • scoliosis (as a sign of Marfan syndrome)
  • female athletic triad (an eating disorder causing weight loss, amenorrhea/loss of menstruation and/or decreased bone density)
In hot, humid weather, dehydration is a serious concern

On very hot days, all athletes need extra water and longer rest periods between workouts. An easy way to monitor for dehydration is to have your child’s coaching staff perform daily and midday checks. A child with a sickle cell trait is much more prone to the effects of dehydration.

According to AboutKidsHealth, the common signs and symptoms of dehydration are:
  • dry, cracked lips and a dry mouth
  • moderate to severe muscle pain and cramps
  • not sweating when hot and exercising
  • vomiting
  • rapid heart rate at rest
  • a decrease in urine output/no urine for 8-12 hours/dark-colored urine
  • drowsiness
  • irritability
  • cold or dry skin
  • low energy levels, seeming very weak or limp
  • no tears when crying
  • sunken eyes or sunken soft spot (fontanelle) on a baby’s head
Protective gear can help

To prevent the sudden impact of a baseball or softball hitting an athlete’s chest, many little leagues are now requiring a chest protector type of device to be worn under a young athlete’s shirt. In extremely rare cases, the striking of the chest bone with a high-velocity ball can cause an arrhythmia that leads to collapse and death. Any sport that includes high impact balls colliding with a child’s chest wall should require some protection.

The following is a list of question from the American Heart Association that should be asked competitive athletes during a pre-participation heart screening:

Is there a personal history of:

  1. chest pain/discomfort, pressure with exertion
  2. unexplained fainting
  3. excessive or unexplained fatigue, palpitations, shortness of breath associated with exercise
  4. prior heart murmur
  5. elevated blood pressure
  6. prior restriction from sports participation (including any previous cardiac testing

Is there a family history of:

  1. Premature sudden death attributed to heart disease in someone under age 50 (sometimes an unexplained accident in a car or drowning is an unexplained or unknown cardiac issue)
  2. Disability from cardiac disease in a relative under the age of 50
  3. Hypertrophic or dilated heart, cardiomyopathy, long QT syndrome or other significant arrhythmias, or specific genetic cardiac conditions including Marfan syndrome

If you answered yes to any of these questions, YOUR CHILD’S DOCTOR NEEDS TO KNOW. At the very least, he/she may refer your child to a pediatric cardiologist. At the very most, your child’s life may be saved!

For more information on sudden cardiac death, you might find these articles helpful: If you’re concerned about your young athlete’s risk of Sudden Cardiac Death, please come see us

If you have a child or teen who participates in sports and you’re concerned about sports-related heart conditions, specifically Sudden Cardiac Death, make an appointment with Westchester Health to see one of our pediatricians. We’ll examine your child and together with you, determine if any preventative measures or treatment needs to be taken. If we feel it’s needed, we will refer your child to a pediatric cardiologist for more specialized evaluation and treatment. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

To read Dr. Gomberg’s blog in full, click here.

Categories: Blog

Does My Child Have Celiac Disease?

Westchester Health Blog - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 11:50

Does your child regularly get a stomach ache after eating bread, pasta, or pizza? Does he/she often have diarrhea, joint pain or prolonged fatigue? If your child is a girl, did her period start really late? All of these are symptoms that might point to celiac disease. To get the facts, check out this blog by Natasha Mendez, MD, Pediatric Gastroenterologist with our Westchester Health Pediatrics group.

What is celiac disease?

Affecting both children and adults, celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system responds abnormally to gluten, a protein commonly found in bread, pasta, pizza, crackers, cereal, pastries, muffins and many other foods. Exposure to gluten results in inflammation of the small intestine. As a result, people with celiac disease are unable to break down certain foods containing gluten.

Symptoms that signal your child might have celiac disease

Natasha Mendez, MD

Classic celiac disease symptoms include:

  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • poor appetite
  • difficulty gaining weight
  • weight loss
  • abdominal pain
  • increased gas
  • abdominal distention
  • constipation
  • short stature
  • delayed puberty
  • joint pain
  • fatigue
  • brown/yellow teeth with pits or grooves
  • a rash (dermatitis herpetiformis).
Are certain people high-risk for celiac disease?

If you have celiac disease, you probably inherited it from one or both parents and then developed the condition when you consumed gluten. You’re considered high risk if you:

  • Are a first-generation relative of someone with celiac disease
  • Have other autoimmune conditions such as autoimmune thyroiditis, type 1 diabetes or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Have Down syndrome, Turner syndrome or Williams syndrome
Can celiac disease be treated?

The treatment for this disease is a gluten-free diet, which should be followed all throughout life (not just in childhood). Make sure you read the labels on all prepared foods and condiments to ensure there is no gluten in the product.

Remember, “wheat-free” does not necessarily mean gluten-free. While oats are naturally gluten-free, oats can sometimes be contaminated with wheat during their processing. This is why you need to identify packaging that specifically states that the product is gluten-free and was processed in a gluten-free facility.

To learn more

 

If you think your child may have celiac disease, please come see us

If your child is showing signs of celiac disease, please make an appointment with Westchester Health, member of Northwell Health Physician Partners to come in and see one of our pediatricians. We will meet with you and your child, review the symptoms, possibly order some tests, and together with you, decide on the best course of action which may include avoidance of gluten. Whatever the diagnosis, our #1 goal is for your child to get answers and feel better as soon as possible. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

To read Dr. Natasha Mendez’s blog in full, click here.

Categories: Blog

Are You At Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Westchester Health Blog - Wed, 10/03/2018 - 10:58

Approximately 1.5 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), including several patients whom I see regularly in my practice. Somewhat different from “regular” arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system, which normally attacks foreign agents like bacteria and viruses, mistakenly attacks the joints. This creates chronic inflammation that causes the tissue that lines the inside of joints to thicken, resulting in noticeable swelling and sometimes excruciating pain in and around the joints.

Although we don’t know exactly what causes rheumatoid arthritis, many experts feel that a person with RA could be genetically predisposed to react to a triggering event (such as an infection) that starts the chronic inflammation. If you’re worried that you might be susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis, this blog explains what might put you at risk, and also lists a number of treatment options you should know about.

How does rheumatoid arthritis affect your body?

If the chronic inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis goes unchecked, it can damage the body’s cartilage, the elastic tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint, as well as the bones themselves. Over time, people with rheumatoid arthritis can actually lose cartilage. Their joints can then become loose, unstable, painful, lose their mobility and become deformed. This kind of joint damage cannot be reversed.

The joints most commonly affected by rheumatoid arthritis are in the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles. Unfortunately, if one knee or hand is affected, usually the other one is too. RA can also damage the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, blood and nerves. Because it can affect whole systems of the body, such as the cardiovascular or respiratory system, RA is called a systemic, or entire body, disease.

Who is most commonly affected by rheumatoid arthritis?
  • Nearly three times as many women have the disease as men.
  • In women, RA most commonly begins between ages 30 and 60.
  • RA tends to improve with pregnancy but it may get worse after the baby is born.
  • In men, RA tends to occur later in life.
  • Having a family member with RA increases the odds of having RA. However, the majority of people with RA have no family history of the disease.
Symptoms to look out for that might indicate you’re developing RA
  • Joint pain, tenderness, swelling or stiffness for six weeks or longer
  • Morning stiffness for 30 minutes or longer
  • More than one joint is affected
  • Small joints (wrists, certain joints of the hands and feet) are affected
  • The same joints on both sides of the body are affected
  • Misshapen finger joints.
  • Along with pain, many people experience fatigue, loss of appetite and a low-grade fever
  • The knee joint becomes tender, warm and swollen. Although knee osteoarthritis causes pain and stiffness, joint pain from RA of the knee is more severe.
7 signs that you may be at high risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis
  1. Three or more affected joints
  2. High baseline level of systemic inflammation. Simple blood tests for erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR or “sed rate”) and/or C-reactive protein (CRP) measure body-wide inflammation.
  3. Evidence of bone erosion on X-rays.
  4. Immune system proteins in your blood, such as rheumatoid factor (RF) or anti-cyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCP) antibodies.
  5. Difficulty climbing stairs, dressing and performing other activities of daily living.
  6. Rheumatoid nodules (lumps of tissue) under the skin on the elbows and fingers.
  7. One or more conditions related to RA. Having one or more of these arthritis-related conditions signals rheumatoid arthritis:
  • vasculitis (blood vessel inflammation)
  • Felty’s syndrome (enlarged spleen and very low white blood cell count)
  • Sjögren’s syndrome (poor function of the glands that produce tears and saliva)
Recommended treatments for rheumatoid arthritis

For my patients with rheumatoid arthritis, I first evaluate the severity of their condition. Based on my findings, I then create a detailed treatment plan, including:

  • Medications (some for pain and others to slow or stop the disease)
  • Rest
  • Exercise
  • Splints and special arthritis aids to take pressure off of painful joints
  • Managing stress
  • Avoiding foods that trigger inflammation
  • Eating foods that curb inflammation, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and flax oil
  • Regular medical checkups
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery if joints are severely damaged, sometimes including joint replacement surgery
To learn more

An excellent resource for finding out more about rheumatoid arthritis, and arthritis in general, is The Arthritis Foundation.

Concerned that you’re at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis? Come see us.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis or are worried that you may be developing it, and would like advice and guidance about managing this chronic disease, please make an appointment with Westchester Health, member of Northwell Health Physician Partners to see one of our rheumatologists. We’ll examine you, evaluate your condition and symptoms, and together, decide on the best course of treatment going forward. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

By Sharon Karp, MD, a Rheumatologist with Westchester Health, member of Northwell Health Physician Partners

Categories: Blog

Summer’s Over, Fall Is Here. Why Do I Still Have Allergies?

Westchester Health Blog - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 10:44

Most people think that spring and summer are the worst seasons for allergies, but fall is not far behind, bringing with it these unpleasant and annoying symptoms:

  • Watery, itchy, irritated eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Rashes or hives
  • Itchy throat
  • In severe cases, trouble breathing or anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction)
Why are fall allergies so bad?

James Pollowitz, MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI

If you have seasonal allergies, your immune system is trying to fight off a substance that you’re sensitive to. It does this by releasing histamine, which leads to the symptoms listed above. In the fall, several factors contribute to an increase in irritants that are around in the spring in summer, including:

  1. Weeds grow by leaps and bounds once the fall rainy season hits

Plants produce pollens and the ones spread by wind are the ones that cause allergies. More weeds—especially ragweed—means more pollen, a major cause of fall allergies. Other weed pollens that are particularly active in the fall include lambs quarters.

  1. Molds are another significant fall allergen

Once fall foliage starts to decay, it becomes a breeding ground for mold. In addition, molds grow well in low light and in areas of high moisture, conditions that often occur in the fall. Inhaling mold spores can aggravate asthma and bring on coughing, wheezing and other upper respiratory symptoms in people with mold allergies.

  1. You’re indoors more in the fall

Once fall begins, most people are back to school or work. They’re also indoors more as the days get shorter and cooler, increasing their exposure to indoor allergens such as pets (especially dogs and cats) and dust mites. Also, respiratory infections usually increase during this season, which can trigger asthma attacks and sinus and ear infections.

  1. Outside allergans get brought inside

Most people don’t realize it but when they come inside, they bring irritants into their house with them on their hair, skin and clothing. To counteract this, follow these tips:

  • Brush or wipe down pets after outdoor walks to cut down on the pollen they bring into the house with them.
  • Leave your shoes outside so they can’t track in mold and pollen.
  • Close the windows, especially on windy or high pollen count days.
Several options for treating your fall allergies
  1. Avoid or eliminate irritants that trigger your allergies. To reduce the allergans that trigger allergic reactions, cover your pillows and mattresses in allergy-proof encasements, get rid of mold in your home, repair water leaks and clean up damp areas, and remove pets or restrict them to certain areas in your house.
  2. OTC steroid nasal sprays, antihistamines and decongestants reduce inflammation in your nose, relieve stuffiness, and help stop sneezing, sniffling, and itching.
  3. Prescription medications (such as inhaled steroids) help control and prevent allergy symptoms.
  4. Immunotherapy (allergy shots or oral tablets or drops) are also very beneficial.
Even with fall allergies, you can still enjoy the fall

By carefully controlling the things that can trigger an allergic reaction, you can still enjoy this gorgeous time of year and not let allergies keep you being outdoors.

To learn more, check out these two important websites

Do you suffer from fall allergies? Come see us.

If you have fall allergies, or any other health issue that’s bothering you or someone in your family, please make an appointment with Westchester Health, member of Northwell Health Physician Partners to see one of our physicians in the division of Allergy/Asthma. We’ll examine you, evaluate your condition and symptoms, and together, decide on the best course of treatment going forward to help you feel better soon. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

By James Pollowitz, MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI, an Allergy and Asthma specialist with Westchester Health, member of Northwell Health Physician Partners

Categories: Blog

Because We’re Now Affiliated With Cohen Children’s Medical Center, Your Child Is In the Best Possible Hands.

Westchester Health Blog - Wed, 09/19/2018 - 10:25

Now that Westchester Health is part of Northwell Health and its physician organization, Northwell Health Physician Partners, we have greatly expanded our services to bring you and your family the best possible care. Best of all, this new relationship means that you now have access to the outstanding resources of Cohen Children’s Medical Center, the New York metropolitan area’s only hospital exclusively for children.

Here’s the story of Donovan who survived being struck by a car because of the skill and caring of some very special doctors and nurses. The comeback kid Hit by a car, this Suffolk teen needed our Regional Pediatric Trauma Center specialists for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other serious wounds.

Donovan Maldonado’s walk home from school on January 12, 2016, nearly turned deadly. Then 13, he crossed a street in his Brentwood neighborhood when a car traveling at 35 miles per hour hit him.

“I got a call from one of our neighbors that Donovan had been in an accident, but I didn’t think it was severe,” said Laura Garces, Donovan’s mother. “I asked how bad it was, and she avoided the question and passed the phone to the police officer. The police officer asked questions about Donovan’s health but still wouldn’t tell me how bad it was. That’s when I knew something was really wrong.”

Ms. Garces drove an hour from her job in Queens to arrive by her son’s side at Southside Hospital. With a traumatic brain injury and several broken bones, Donovan had already received five units of blood. A ruptured spleen was later identified as the cause of his severe internal bleeding.

Hope for head trauma

Due to the seriousness of Donovan’s condition, Northwell Health’s SkyHealth helicopter service transported him to Cohen Children’s Medical Center, where physicians admitted him to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and placed him in a deliberate coma. Pediatric specialists in orthopedics, vascular surgery, trauma surgery and neurosurgery examined Donovan and determined that the most pressing concern was his traumatic brain injury, which caused his brain to swell.

“To reduce the pressure on his brain, we drilled a small hole in the skull and inserted an external ventricular drain or EVD,” said Shaun Rodgers, MD, pediatric congenital and transitional neurosurgeon at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. “The EVD let us drain spinal fluid, continuously monitor the pressure on his brain and deliver medications.”

The brain swelling continued, so on January 13, pediatric neurosurgeons removed a large portion of Donovan’s skull to give his brain the space it needed. They stored the detached piece within a pocket in the teen’s abdominal wall to keep it viable and reduce the risk of infection when it was time to return it to its original location. (Clinicians can also freeze such a bone fragment when the “pocket” approach won’t work for a patient.)

Two weeks later, Donovan’s swelling went down enough for surgeons to rebuild his skull.

A long road, traveled together

During her son’s hospitalization, Ms. Garces left her job to stay by his side at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. Although it was the most difficult time in her life, she remembers how much the medical team meant to her and her family.

“Dr. Rodgers saved my son’s life,” Ms. Garces said. “The whole team at Cohen Children’s Medical Center was amazing. On top of caring for my child, they showed compassion toward my husband, Matt, and me. One nurse in particular, Sally Errico, was the biggest angel. We didn’t know what we were doing, but she clarified anything we didn’t follow. The social workers were also wonderful and comforting, especially the night we arrived.”

Donovan was discharged in early February 2016 but required further care and rehabilitation. In June, he began speaking for the first time since the accident. Today, Donovan is continuing his recovery with therapy and rehabilitation from specialists at Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

“He’s a miracle boy,” Ms. Garces said. “He’s not completely healed, but we have faith that he will be eventually. Some things are different, but he’s walking, talking, jumping and running. He’s still very smart, funny and loving.”

To read Donovan’s full story, click here. When you need us, we are here for you, now more than ever

At Westchester Health, even though some things have changed recently, the most important thing about us has not: our commitment to delivering the highest-quality standard of compassionate, patient-centered care for you and your family. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

Categories: Blog

You Now Have Access to Cohen Children’s Medical Center, One of the Nation’s Best Children’s Hospitals.

Westchester Health Blog - Wed, 09/12/2018 - 11:14

Rest assured, Westchester Health physicians will continue caring for your child at the state-of-the-art locations where you currently see us. But in addition, you can now take advantage of the 88 outstanding sub-specialties and programs available at Cohen Children’s Medical Center because of our new relationship with Northwell Health and its physician organization, Northwell Health Physician Partners.

A wide range of sub-specialty pediatric services are now available to you at Cohen Children’s Medical Center

To make sure your child receives the highest quality medical care, Cohen Children’s Medical Center offers a comprehensive array of sub-specialties, including cardiothoracic surgery, Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Center, Cystic Fibrosis Center, Epilepsy Center, Fetal Cardiology Program, Hearing and Speech Center, Kidney Transplant Program, Leukemia and Lymphoma Program, Oncology Rare Tumors and Sarcoma Program, POWER Kids Weight Management Program and Stem Cell Transplant Program.

Here’s a story about how a dedicated pediatric specialist enabled her patient to be what every child wants to be: a normal kid. Olivia’s journey toward wellness When your child doesn’t respond to standard treatment, a seasoned specialist makes all the difference.

Olivia Perera, 10, is much like any fifth grader. She loves to swim and skate, and sometimes her mother, Priyangani Rajapakse, has to tell her siblings — Sylvia, 16, and Riley, 14 — not to tease her. Unlike her peers, though, the young Bellerose resident has spent eight years fighting a kidney disorder called minimal change disease.

It began when she was just shy of her second birthday, and Olivia’s whole body looked swollen.

“I thought it was spring [allergies], so I took her to the Cohen Children’s Medical Center Urgi Center,” Ms. Rajapakse said. “They agreed and sent us home. Afterward, I noticed the swelling was worse and that Olivia wasn’t going to the bathroom.”

Ms. Rajapakse and Olivia returned to the Urgi Center, and clinicians tested Olivia’s urine. The results showed high levels of protein, so the staff brought mother and daughter to the Emergency Department. The doctors diagnosed Olivia with nephrotic syndrome caused by minimal change disease.

“Most children with minimal change disease — more than 90 percent — respond to the standard treatment of a two-month course of steroids,” said Christine Sethna, MD, director of pediatric nephrology at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. She added that Olivia initially responded well to steroids, but relapsed when Dr. Sethna began to wean her off them.

“Olivia became dependent on them, so we had to look at other treatment options to avoid complications from long-term steroid use,” Dr. Sethna said. She has prescribed several immuno-suppressants during the past eight years while Olivia maintained a steroid regimen to prevent relapse. Unfortunately, the immuno-suppressants caused side effects like high blood pressure, abdominal pain, and oral ulcers and bruising.

High blood pressure increases the risk of a cardiovascular event in children with nephrotic syndrome, although the level of risk compared to the average child is unclear. Dr. Sethna is searching for answers.

Working to reduce future risks

“My research, which Olivia participates in, is a national, 14-site study of children with nephrotic syndrome,” Dr. Sethna said. “Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in adults with a history of childhood kidney disease. Children usually develop it between the ages of 2 and 8. With our research, we hope to identify these patients early and intervene to reduce their risk.”

A customized medication regimen allowed Olivia to stop taking steroids last June, and she’s been in remission from minimal change disease and nephrotic syndrome since October 2016. Her doctors are hopeful she’ll outgrow the syndrome during puberty, like most children with the disease.

Now, Olivia’s enjoying life like any other tween girl, and she’s even hoping to start dance classes.

“I’m so thankful for the nurses and doctors who have helped us, and go out of their way to cheer up Olivia when we have follow-up visits,” Ms. Rajapakse said. “I’m confident her care is in good hands.”

To read Olivia’s full story, click here. When you need us, we are here for you, now more than ever

At Westchester Health, even though some things have changed recently, the most important thing about us has not: our commitment to delivering the highest-quality standard of compassionate, patient-centered care for you and your family. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

Categories: Blog

Our New Partnership With Cohen Children’s Medical Center Means That You Have Access To The Best Care For Your Child

Westchester Health Blog - Wed, 09/05/2018 - 11:05

Now that Westchester Health Pediatrics is part of Northwell Health and its physician organization, Northwell Health Physician Partners, a wide range of sub-specialty pediatric services are now available to you at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals, according to U.S. News & World Report.

To make sure your child receives the highest quality medical care, Cohen Children’s Medical Center offers a comprehensive array of sub-specialties, including cardiothoracic surgery, Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Center, Cystic Fibrosis Center, Epilepsy Center, Fetal Cardiology Program, Hearing and Speech Center, Kidney Transplant Program, Leukemia and Lymphoma Program, Oncology Rare Tumors and Sarcoma Program, POWER Kids Weight Management Program and Stem Cell Transplant Program. All of these sub-specialties and many more are now available to you as part of our new affiliation with Northwell Health.

Here’s a wonderful story about a concerned mom, a premature daughter and the dedicated staff of Cohen Children’s Medical Center’s lactation team. A new way to enhance preemies’ natural nutrition When Mackenzie was born prematurely, her mother was determined to give her the breast milk she needed to grow and thrive.

A mother of two boys, Axsa Medrano had some experience with breastfeeding. But the 31-year-old accountant from Queens needed guidance to produce breast milk when her daughter was born last December.

“I didn’t breastfeed much with either of my boys,” Ms. Medrano said. “My milk dried up after just a few weeks for both of them, and I didn’t have the help or education I needed to breastfeed them successfully.”

While Mackenzie stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, Ms. Medrano hoped her daughter would benefit from breastfeeding.

“On the first day, the lactation consultants brought a breast pump to my room and started educating me about how good a mother’s milk is for her baby,” Ms. Medrano said. “I felt like a first-time mom all over again.”

Ms. Medrano learned to pump about every three hours to encourage the production and expression of milk. She also focused on holding her baby and maintaining skin-to-skin contact to promote bonding and milk production.

Making the most of mother’s milk

The lactation team fortified Ms. Medrano’s expressed milk with key nutrients that would strengthen Mackenzie’s immune system and encourage her growth and development. Fortifying breast milk according to each baby’s needs is at the heart of Cohen Children’s Medical Center’s Human Milk Center.

“The Human Milk Center has trained milk technicians who label and store a mother’s milk in a temperature-controlled environment,” said Richard Schanler, MD, director of neonatal services with Northwell Health and Cohen Children’s Medical Center. “When a feeding order comes in for a baby in the NICU, the technicians bring a certain amount of the milk to the right temperature and mix it with the appropriate amount of fortifier. They then put it in a labeled feeding device, such as a syringe, and deliver it to the baby’s bedside.”

Getting adequate nutrients from a mother’s milk is crucial, especially for babies born ahead of schedule. Premature babies fed with their mother’s milk can better fight off intestinal disorders and infections, such as necrotizing enterocolitis, a common disease in preemies. If a mother cannot pump enough milk for her baby, Human Milk Center technicians may formulate servings with pasteurized donor milk.

“A mother’s milk improves the baby’s ability to withstand respiratory problems, like chronic lung disease, and reduces the incidence of retinopathy of prematurity, the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina that can cause blindness, and improves their development,” said Dr. Schanler.

The Human Milk Center’s streamlined delivery process helps the Cohen Children’s Medical Center team ensure that infants in the NICU consume their mother’s milk as often as possible.

“In the past, nurses had to spend significant time acquiring and preparing a mother’s milk for her preemie,” said Cynthia Pesce, RN, lactation coordinator at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. Ms. Pesce is a board-certified lactation consultant recognized by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding. “Our system allows nurses to concentrate more on patient care, so it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Today, Mackenzie is home and getting to know her big brothers. Ms. Medrano still marvels at the support she received from Cohen Children’s Medical Center lactation consultants.

“The lactation specialists are very knowledgeable, encouraging and uplifting,” Ms. Medrano said. “Thanks to their support, Mackenzie is getting stronger every day.”

To read Mackenzie’s full story, click here. When you need us, we are here for you, now more than ever

At Westchester Health, even though some things have changed recently, the most important thing about us has not: our commitment to delivering the highest-quality standard of compassionate, patient-centered care for you and your family. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

Categories: Blog

If Your Child Needs A Pediatric Specialist, You Now Have Access to Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

Westchester Health Blog - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 10:50

Great news! Now that Westchester Health is part of Northwell Health and its physician organization, Northwell Health Physician Partners, you now have access to the pediatric services of Cohen Children’s Medical Center, the New York metropolitan area’s only hospital designed exclusively for children and one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals. Rest assured, Westchester Health physicians will continue caring for you and your family at the state-of-the-art locations where you currently see us. But in addition, you can now take advantage of the outstanding sub-specialties and programs available at Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

Here’s a terrific story about a Cohen Children’s Medical Center patient, particularly if you have a child with a rare and hard-to-treat condition—in this case, Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH). Doctors who stop at nothing to find answers, and hopefully, cures

Taylor Ryan, a 15-year-old East Islip High School freshman, has already experienced a lifetime of medical care and hospital visits to treat her LCH. This rare disease usually responds well to treatment, but Taylor’s case is different. In 2010, she and her family learned that it was affecting her central nervous system, causing severe headaches, hand tremors and visual disturbances. It also produces unpredictable seizures that trigger numbness and blindness on her right side, plus weakness and dizziness.

Taylor’s pediatric hematologist/oncologist, Carolyn Fein Levy, MD, leads the Pediatric Oncology Rare Tumor and Sarcoma Program at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. “This disease is rare, but LCH of the central nervous system, like Taylor’s, is rarer still,” she said. “Treating it is very challenging.”

To try and find an effective long-term treatment, Taylor’s care team at Cohen Children’s Medical Center has collaborated with an international LCH specialist at Texas Children’s Hospital. “I could never thank the physicians at Cohen Children’s Medical Center enough for seeking out the highest level of expertise for my daughter,” Taylor’s mom said. “They don’t stop until they come up with the best plan for her.”

While the pediatric hematology/oncology specialists tirelessly work to control Taylor’s symptoms and put her LCH of into remission, she has a tremendously positive attitude that serves her well. The light at the end of the tunnel might still be far away right now, but optimism and trust in her Cohen Children’s Medical Center care team illuminate the way.

To read Taylor’s full story, click here. When you need us, we are here for you, now more than ever

At Westchester Health, even though some things have changed recently, the most important thing about us has not: our commitment to delivering the highest-quality standard of compassionate, patient-centered care for you and your family. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

Categories: Blog

Many People Think Tanning Beds Are Safe But They’re Wrong

Westchester Health Blog - Wed, 08/22/2018 - 10:36

Did you know that tanning beds emit ultraviolet (UV) radiation which is a significant risk factor for skin cancers, including malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer? And that people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75%? Don’t be fooled, get the facts in this blog by Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician with our Westchester Health Pediatrics group.

 Two myths about tanning beds
  1. Since tanning beds only emit UVA radiation and the sun emits both UVA and UVB rays, a lot of people think that tanning beds are safer than lying in the sun, but this is false. Numerous studies have shown that UVA rays can also cause skin cancer.
  2. In addition, many tanning beds emit rays that are 10-15 times higher than midday sun exposure and their rays go deeper into the skin, thus increasing the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.

    Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP

Despite the increased cancer risk, nearly 2.3 million teens have used indoor tanning machines
  1. At Westchester Health, we’re very concerned about the percentage of adolescent girls who use indoor tanning: 20-30%. This is particularly bad news because the earlier a person starts tanning and the more times they do it, the greater the risk of developing skin cancer later on.
  2. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that just one indoor ultraviolet (UV) tanning session increases a person’s chances of developing melanoma by 20 percent, and each additional session during the same year boosts the risk almost another two percent, according to a major new study.
  3. The news for young people, the main users of tanning machines, is even worse, with those who started tanning before age 35 increasing their risk by almost 90 percent. These figures, based on an exhaustive analysis of 27 studies by the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyons, France, were higher than any previously reported, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation.
To stay safe in the sun, follow these Prevention Guidelines from the Skin Cancer Foundation:
  • Always use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher
  • For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
  • Spend time in the shade, especially between 10am and 4pm
  • Do not let your skin burn
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds
  • Cover your skin with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  • See your physician or a dermatologist every year for a professional skin exam.
Be smart! There are safer alternatives to tanning salons

Nowadays there are a number of “sunless” tanning products that contain dihydroxyacetone, a chemical that combines with an outer skin protein to cause a reaction that simulates tanning. It is nontoxic, has few side effects and usually will not cause an allergic skin reaction. Be aware, though, that these products do not provide any sunscreen protection from the sun.

More resources about the dangers of tanning beds

To be as informed as possible about the pros and cons of tanning beds, we thought you might find these websites helpful:

If you’re worried about possible skin damage due to tanning salons, please come see us

If you’re concerned that your child may have damaged her (or his) skin by using tanning beds, make an appointment with Westchester Health to see one of our pediatricians. We’ll examine your child’s skin and if we feel a specialist’s evaluation is needed, make a referral to a dermatologist. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

To read Dr. Adler’s blog in full, click here.

Categories: Blog

If Your Baby Needed CPR, Would You Know What To Do?

Westchester Health Blog - Wed, 08/15/2018 - 10:20

If your baby stopped breathing, what would you do? Do you know how to administer CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)? At Westchester Health, we hope you’ll never have to use CPR for your infant or child, but in case you do, it’s important to know the basics. As a guide, we recommend this very informative blog by Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician with our Westchester Health Pediatrics group.

CPR guidelines from the American Red Cross

Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP

The American Red Cross offers the following step-by-step CPR instructions that we think all parents should know. (Although you may have taken a class in child CPR, it’s still a good idea to keep these instructions handy so the information stays fresh in your memory.)

Print out several copies so you can keep them in your car, your desk, your kitchen, your child’s room and with your other first aid supplies. We also suggest that you read over the steps from time to time to keep your skills up-to-date.

Before giving CPR to a baby or child
  1. Check the scene and the child. Make sure the scene is safe, then tap the child on the shoulder and say loudly, “Are you OK?” to ensure that he or she needs help. For infants, brush the bottom of the foot to elicit a response.
  2. Call 911. If the child does not respond, call 911, then administer approximately 2 minutes of care.
  • If you’re alone with the child or infant, administer 2 minutes of care, then call 911.
  • If the child or infant does respond, call 911 to report any life-threatening conditions and obtain consent to give care. Check the child from head to toe and ask questions to find out what happened.
  1. Open the airway. With the child lying on his or her back, tilt the head back slightly and lift the chin.
  2. Check for breathing. Listen carefully, for no more than 10 seconds, for sounds of breathing. (Occasional gasps aren’t breathing.) Infants typically have periodic breathing, so changes in breathing pattern are normal.
  3. Deliver 2 rescue breaths if the child or infant isn’t breathing. With the head tilted back slightly and the chin lifted, pinch the child’s nose shut, make a complete seal by placing your mouth over the child’s mouth and breathe into the child’s mouth twice. For infants, use your mouth to make a complete seal over the infant’s mouth and nose, then blow in for one second to make the chest clearly rise. Then, deliver two rescue breaths.
  4. Begin CPR. If the child or baby is unresponsive to the rescue breaths, begin CPR.
Administering CPR to a baby or child
  1. Kneel beside the baby or child.
  2. Push hard, push fast.
  • For infants, use 2 fingers to deliver 30 quick compressions that are each about 1½ inches deep.
  • For children, place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest, then place the heel of the other hand on top of the first hand, and lace your fingers together. Deliver 30 quick compressions that are each about 2 inches deep.
  1. Give 2 rescue breaths (see above).
  2. Keep going. Continue these baby or child CPR steps until:
  • you see obvious signs of life, such as breathing
  • an AED (automated external defibrillator) is ready to use
  • another trained responder or EMS professional can take over
  • you’re too exhausted to continue
  • the scene becomes unsafe
What to do when your baby is choking

As well as their baby not breathing, choking is another fear for many parents. Babies easily can choke on food and toys, slip under the water in the tub or a pool, and get caught in drawstrings, elastics and curtain cords.

To know what to do if your baby is choking, we recommend the BabyCenter’s step-by-step illustrated guide, reviewed by health and safety services experts at the American Red Cross.

To learn more about CPR for babies and children

To see child and baby CPR steps performed, watch the American Red Cross child and infant CPR videos. For online, in person, and blended training courses on child, infant and adult CPR, visit the American Red Cross CPR Training Page. To find a class in your area, visit the Red Cross website or call 800-733-2767 (800-RED-CROSS).

For more information on CPR for your baby or child, please come see us

If you’d like to know more about how to perform CPR on your baby or child and when it’s needed, make an appointment with Westchester Health to see one of our pediatricians. We’ll go through all the steps with you, demonstrate how and when to administer CPR, and answer any questions you may have. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

To read Dr. Adler’s blog in full, click here.

Categories: Blog

6 Myths About Acne That Just Aren’t True

Westchester Health Blog - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 11:06

Contrary to popular belief, neither fatty foods nor chocolate causes acne. Primarily, hormones (male androgens or related compounds) cause acne, which is why so many young people get pimples during puberty, or for girls, right before their period starts. To debunk these and other acne myths, we recommend this blog by Mason Gomberg, MD, a pediatrician with our Westchester Health Pediatrics group.

6 acne myths that are just that: myths

KidsHealth article debunks the following 6 acne myths and we wanted to share them with you here. For the best ways to treat acne, we recommend that you and your child talk with a dermatologist or skin care specialist.

  1. Myth: Popping your pimples is the best way to get rid of them.

    Mason Gomberg, MD

Fact: No! Many teens think that popping zits will make them less noticeable and help them heal faster, but this is not true. Your fingers and fingernails are often dirty, and picking at or popping your pimples pushes germs and bacteria further under your skin. This can cause more redness, pain, inflammation and maybe even an infection. Also, popping zits can lead to scarring.

  1. Myth: Stress causes acne.

Fact: The normal stress of being a teenager does not cause acne. If you’re going through an especially stressful period in your life—such as switching schools or dealing with your parents’ divorce or the death of a beloved pet—your skin may produce more oil (sebum), but that doesn’t mean you’ll get more pimples.

  1. Myth: Getting a tan clears up acne.

Fact: Baking in the sun does nothing to improve your acne. In fact, in many cases, getting excessive sun on your already-irritated face can actually make your acne worse. Our advice is to use a sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30 and that says “noncomedogenic” or “nonacnegenic,” which means it won’t clog your pores and exacerbate your acne. And DO NOT visit tanning beds. This will not clear up your acne and may increase your risk of developing skin cancer. NOTE: Photodynamic therapy with UV-free blue light did not provide significant benefits in medical studies.

  1. Myth: You can get rid of acne by washing your face more.

Fact: Washing your face regularly is a good idea because it helps remove dead skin cells, excess oil and dirt from your skin’s surface. But over-washing or scrubbing your skin too vigorously can dry out and irritate your skin, which will only make your acne worse.

  1. Myth: If you want to avoid acne, don’t wear makeup.

Fact: Makeup does not give you acne. If you’re someone who likes to wear makeup, choose products labeled “oil-free,” “noncomedogenic” or “nonacnegenic,” which means the product won’t clog your pores or cause breakouts. Some cosmetics even contain acne-fighting ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.

  1. Myth: If you keep breaking out, using more medicine will cure your pimples.

Fact: False. Using too much acne medication can lead to dry, irritated skin. Whether you are applying over-the-counter remedies or using something prescribed by a doctor, be sure to follow the directions carefully. Using more than the recommended amount can cause troublesome and even dangerous side effects.

What’s the best way to care for your skin?

As a general rule, gently wash your face A FEW TIMES PER DAY with mild soap. For mild acne, you can try an OTC product containing 5% benzoyl peroxide once per day. Washes or cleansers, as opposed to acne creams, are better for those with widespread acne or more sensitive skin. The amount of medicine applied should be the size of a pea for your facial area. If OTC products do not work, your pediatrician or dermatologist can prescribe topical creams or antibiotics, oral antibiotics and/or other oral medicines to improve your skin condition.

To learn more

For more information on acne treatment and skin care, you might find this article, Taking Care of Your Skin, helpful.

If you’re concerned about your child’s pimples or acne, please come see us

If your son or daughter has persistent pimples or acne that’s not responding to treatment, make an appointment with Westchester Health to see one of our pediatricians. We’ll examine your child’s skin and together with you, choose the best treatment for their individual condition. If needed, we will refer you to a dermatologist for more aggressive treatment. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

To read Dr. Gomberg’s blog in full, click here.

Categories: Blog

Will Ear Tubes Help Cure My Child’s Ear Infections?

Westchester Health Blog - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 10:51

For children who suffer from ear infections from an early age, ear tubes can be a very effective solution, and they’re something we at Westchester Health recommend for many of our young patients with ear issues. The average age for ear tube insertion is 1-3 years old. To learn more, Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician with our Westchester Health Pediatrics group, has written a very informative blog on the subject.

What can ear tubes do?
  1. Reduce the occurrence of future ear infections
  2. Restore hearing loss caused by a build-up of middle ear fluid
  3. Improve speech problems and balance problems
  4. Improve behavior and sleep problems caused by chronic ear infections
  5. Help children do their best in school
Your child might benefit from ear tubes if he/she:

Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP

  1. Has had three or more ear infections within six months, especially if they retain fluid in between the episodes
  2. Has ear infections that are not resolved with antibiotics
  3. Has ear infections that are affecting their gross motor skills and/or balance
  4. Is experiencing hearing loss caused by the persistent build-up of fluid in the middle ear
  5. Has a collapsing eardrum, a condition known as atelectasis which causes decreased hearing and can also erode the bones in the ear
  6. Is at higher risk for fluid build-up-related developmental delays, including those with autism, permanent hearing loss, Down syndrome, cleft palate or any other developmental delay
  7. Has malformation of the eardrum or eustachian tube that inhibits drainage of the middle ear
Ear tubes: the facts

Usually made of plastic, these small tubes (1/20th of an inch) are surgically inserted into the tympanic membrane (ear drum) while the child is under light anesthesia. This allows air to flow in and out of the middle ear, which typically reduces the number of ear infections by ventilating and eliminating the pressure inside the middle ear. A child should not be able to feel the tubes while they’re in the ear.

Ear tubes come in two basic types: short-term and long-term. Short-term tubes are smaller and typically stay in place for 6-18 months before falling out on their own. Long-term tubes are larger and have flanges that secure them in place for a longer period of time. Long-term tubes may fall out on their own, but removal by an otolaryngologist may be necessary.

The good news is that children with ear tubes are able to play in water, swim and bathe without wearing earplugs. If the water is more than six feet deep, a child with ear tubes should wear ear protection.

To learn more

For more information about ear tubes and ear infections, you might find this article from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation helpful.

If you think your child may need ear tubes, please come see us

If your child is having persistent ear infections or other problems with his/her ears, please make an appointment with Westchester Health to see one of our pediatricians. We’ll examine your child and together with you, choose the best treatment to clear up the condition, which may or may not include ear tubes. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

To read Dr. Adler’s blog in full, click here.

Categories: Blog
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