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More on Spring into the Summer with Fresh Health Tips on Traveling, Tanning, Heat Stroke and More
More on Spring into the Summer with Fresh Health Tips on Traveling, Tanning, Heat Stroke and More
- Ten Tricks to Combat Winter Allergies
- When a Winter Wonderland Becomes a Nightmare: Best Ways Older Adults Can Avoid the Hazards of Winter
- Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Announce New Powerhouse Recruit for Cancer Research and Patient Care
- High-Risk Alert: Sun Protection Tips for Teens
- New Diagnostic Test May Help Answer the Question "Is My Mole a Melanoma?"
- NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System Welcomes The Hebrew Home at Riverdale as Affiliate Member
Research and Clinical Trials
More on Spring into the Summer with Fresh Health Tips on Traveling, Tanning, Heat Stroke and More
Spring into the Summer with Fresh Health Tips on Traveling, Tanning, Heat Stroke and More
NEW YORK (Apr 10, 2009)
High-Risk Alert: Sun Protection Tips for Tweens and TeensNewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Dermatologists Offer Guidelines for Group at Highest Risk for Melanoma
It's never too early to start protecting your children against sun damage, and if you are the parent of a young girl this message is especially important.
"Even one blistering sunburn can increase your risk of skin cancer. As few as five sunburns can double your risk of skin cancer," says Dr. Anjali Dahiya, a dermatologist at the Iris Cantor Women's Health Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Teenage girls and their parents should be particularly careful, since melanoma, a potentially fatal skin cancer, is the most common cancer in young women between the ages of 25 and 29. Much of the damage from the sun in these patients will already have occurred in their teens.
"Sun exposure plays a significant role in the development of melanoma. Although more adults are using sunscreens during outdoor activities, many are unaware of how important it is to make sure that their children are getting the necessary skin protection," says Dr. Desiree Ratner, director of dermatologic surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.
Drs. Dahiya and Ratner recommend the following guidelines to help protect teens, tweens and infants from the harmful effects of the sun:
- Use self-tanning creams. Tanning beds are not good for anyone. Teenagers and young adults looking to get that perfect tan should use tanning creams to get a safe summer glow.
- Be wary of freckles. Developing freckles may be a sign that the skin has sustained early sun damage.
- Apply sunscreen generously. Teens and tweens should apply sunscreen to the entire surface of their body about 30 minutes before going outside; if they are swimming, they should reapply once they are out of the water. Parents should apply approximately one ounce of sunscreen to their infant's body as well.
- Make it easy. Parents of tweens should find a spray-form sunscreen that is waterproof and sweat proof. This will make it more convenient to apply sunscreen to your growing child every day, and more effective.
- Minimize exposure to the sun. In addition to applying sunscreen, everyone should be guarding against the sun with hats, sunglasses and umbrellas when appropriate. Babies up to 6 months of age should be kept out of the sun completely.
Stay in the Game This Summer with R.I.C.E.NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Physicians Offer First-Aid Technique and Prevention Tips for Common Sports Injuries
The summer is fast approaching and sports players will soon fill the courts, fields, greens and trails looking to get back in shape and practice their game. However, this also means there are plenty of opportunities for cuts and bruises, ankle sprains, muscle strains, and knee injuries, to name a few.
Dr. William Levine, chief of sports medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, and Dr. Anil S. Ranawat, clinical instructor of orthopedic surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and assistant attending orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, recommend R.I.C.E., a first-aid technique that can be applied to most sprains, strains and joint injuries.
- Rest: If you are injured during any activity, stop the activity immediately and rest the injured area. Do not try to work through the pain.
- Ice: For the first 24 to 48 hours apply ice packs to the injured area every two hours for 15 minutes. Make sure that the ice is not in direct contact with the skin; a cotton handkerchief covering is helpful.
- Compress: Bandage the area firmly, extending the wrapping above and below the injury. This pressure will stop any bleeding and reduce any swelling in the injured area.
- Elevate: Whenever possible, elevate the injured area above the level of your heart. Elevation and compression are typically used for acute injuries such as a twisted ankle.
Once an injury has occurred you should always consult a physician to ensure proper rehabilitation.
However, prevention is always better than cure. Drs. Levine and Ranawat give a few simple tips for preventing sports injuries:
- Start slow. You are probably not in the same condition that you were last summer; new activities require muscles and joints to respond in new ways. This may result in minor soreness that could develop into something more serious if you push yourself too hard.
- Warm up. Get your blood pumping to those under-used muscles and joints before you begin, and do some gentle stretching once you are done. This will help you retain and improve flexibility.
- Take breaks. Every so often it is recommended that you rest the body parts that are working hard and are susceptible to injury — even tennis pros rest between sets.
- Listen to your body. Don't ignore the little aches and pains you feel in your joints and muscles because they may help you prevent serious injuries.
Stay Safe at Summer Camp!NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital Physicians Offer Tips on Making Summer Camp Memorable for Everyone
Whether it's a day camp or long-term stay, a summer camp experience usually makes for fond memories for everyone involved. Parents and guardians can make the most out of the experience by preparing in advance.
"Parents should ask camp organizers basic questions about what plans they have in place to keep kids safe, handle medical emergencies, and deal with routine health needs," says Dr. Patricia Hametz, director of the Injury and Violence Prevention Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.
"Camp staff should be trained in first-aid/CPR and also be thoroughly familiar with the facility's protocol in case of a medical emergency. Parents should receive a copy of those guidelines or have access to them through a posting on the Web site or on a bulletin board at the facility."
Dr. Hametz offers parents and guardians the following tips for a safe and injury-free summer camp experience:
- Share pertinent information. Camp records should include emergency contacts for all children as well as the child's physician including name, telephone number, fax number and the date of the last healthcare visit. Additionally, parents should have emergency contact information for staff handy. If your child has a medical condition, camp staff should be notified.
- Get a physical before they get physical. Make sure your child undergoes a physical examination and that their vaccinations are up to date.
- Stay hydrated. Remind your child to drink plenty of water, even if they do not feel thirsty. Ensure they know to steer clear of sugary and carbonated drinks.
- Teach your child to practice sun safety. Pack lightweight clothing in light colors with a loose fit to keep the sun at bay and to keep body temperatures at a normal level. Also remind your child to use sunblock (SPF 15 or greater) regularly when outdoors for prolonged periods of time, even on hazy or cloudy days.
- Teach your child to be safe in the water. Remind your child to follow all camp rules in and around pools, lakes and other bodies of water. Children should never be around water without a certified life guard on duty.
- Keep the bugs off. Avoid scented soaps, perfumes or hair sprays on your child. Ensure repellents contain no more than 10 percent DEET. The concentration of DEET varies in different products, so read the label of any product you purchase.
Seniors Keep Their Cool This Summer With Tips From NewYork-Presbyterian HospitalPhysicians Offer Advice on How to Prevent Heat-Related Injuries
The dog days of summer are fast approaching, and while we cannot control the rising temperatures on the streets, we can control the heat index of our bodies.
When temperatures rise, so does the risk for heat stroke and other heat-related injuries, but oftentimes the warning signs for these conditions go dangerously unnoticed. Senior citizens are at an especially high risk of experiencing heat stress and heat-related injuries throughout the summer.
Dr. Michael Stern, co-director of Geriatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, says, "As a person ages the body's response to higher temperature changes. Compared with a younger person, a senior citizen may not be able to sense elevations in temperature as quickly or be able to cool down as readily. As well, certain medications for chronic illness that many older people take can affect the body's normal responses to heat."
"Heat-related injuries range from minor issues such as muscle cramps due to loss of water and salt through perspiration; to heat exhaustion in the form of headaches, nausea and weakness; and finally heat stroke, which can be fatal," says Dr. Elizabeth Paras, attending emergency medicine physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.
Heat stroke occurs when a person can no longer perspire and his or her temperature control mechanism stops working. At first, it will seem like heat exhaustion, but the person may begin to experience confusion, seizures and other more serious side effects.
Drs. Stern and Paras offer seniors the following tips for a cool and injury-free summer:
- Slow down. When temperatures begin to reach extreme highs you should stay in the coolest place available out of the sun or in an air-conditioned room, and reduce or eliminate all strenuous activities.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. You should minimize the amount of caffeinated beverages and alcohol that you drink, and grab a water bottle or a sports drink instead. A good test of hydration is to make sure that your urine is always clear in color.
- Avoid salt tablets. Those on salt-restrictive diets should consult a physician before increasing their salt intake.
- Don't get too much sun. Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult. Always remember to use sunblock (SPF 15 or greater) when outdoors for prolonged periods of time in the summer months, even on hazy or cloudy days.
- Dress cool. Lightweight, light-colored, loose clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.
- Anticipate change. Turn air conditioning systems or other ventilators on as soon as you go inside and take off extra layers of clothing when going outside. For seniors having trouble recognizing temperature changes, these automatic actions help maintain a comfortable indoor and outdoor environment.
Health Tools to Guide You Through Your VacationNewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Physician Offers a Step-by-Step Guide to Illness-Free Travel
There are millions of vacation destinations to visit this summer and thousands of sights to see, but there is one surefire way to ruin your trip — getting sick. Although you may not be thinking about viruses and bacterial infections when you plan your trip, there are a few nasty bugs you should be aware of as you pack your bags.
Dr. Scott Weisenberg, director of the Travel Medicine Clinic of the Division of Infectious Diseases at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, offers the following step-by-step guide to help you stay healthy and active in whatever corner of the world you may find yourself this summer.
BEFORE YOU GET THERE:
- Get vaccinated. See a doctor experienced in travel medicine to determine if you need vaccines against illnesses such as yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis A.
- Get medications. If you are traveling to a malaria-containing region, medications can significantly reduce the chance of infection with this serious disease.
- Avoid blood clots. If you are on a long flight you should try to stand up and walk and/or stretch for several minutes every hour or so, to avoid blood clots that can form in your legs.
- Control jet lag. Eat light during your flight, and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Sunlight exposure after arrival can help ease adjustment to the new time zone.
- Stay hydrated. Travelers frequently become dehydrated during long flights. Drink fruit juices or bottled water to prevent dehydration during your flight.
WHILE ON VACATION:
- Don't drink the water. It is wise to heed this common warning and stay away from drinking tap water while on vacation. It is also important to refrain from using tap water in any way, including: in ice, in mixed drinks, and brushing your teeth with tap water.
- Avoid rare or raw meat or fish. Eat meat that is thoroughly cooked. You should also steer clear of raw vegetables including salads and fruits that do not have a thick, disposable outside covering.
- Be wary of local dairy products. You should be cautious about dairy products sold by small, independent vendors, and avoid any dairy products that seem to have been left out in the sun.
- Don't get bitten. Use insect repellents to reduce the chances of infection with insect-transmitted diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. Use a bed net at night if you are in a malaria region.
SO YOU GOT SICK ANYWAY:
- Consult a physician. If you have any of the following symptoms you should seek medical attention immediately: bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, high fever or dehydration.
- Ease the symptoms on your own. To ease the symptoms of diarrhea while on vacation, try an over-the-counter medication such as Pepto Bismol or Imodium, which come in various forms and you can pack in your suitcase beforehand.
Summer Safety Tips from the Hearst Burn Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell
Take extra care at your Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day celebrations this year, to ensure that accidents do not interfere with summer fun. Dr. Roger Yurt, director of the Hearst Burn Center of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, recommends the following safety tips to avoid burns from barbecues, fireworks, and other routine activities that can pose a hazard this season.
If you are planning to barbecue:
- If you are using a propane gas grill, inspect your propane tank and hoses for leaks, dents, cracks or corrosion.
- Always light the match before turning on the propane gas.
- Use your grill outdoors and far from any structures that may catch fire, such as patio covers, garbage cans or buildings.
- Do not use lighter fluid, gasoline or other flammable liquid with your barbeque.
- Never smoke cigarettes or use matches or lighters near the grill.
- If you are using a charcoal grill, use water to make sure that coals are extinguished, and be careful never to dispose of briquettes that are still hot.
- Avoid loose clothing — especially long sleeves — while grilling.
- Parental supervision is essential — keep all children away from the grill.
Fireworks add festivity to a Fourth of July celebration, but a public fireworks display is safer and more dazzling than trying to do it yourself. Keep in mind that
- Fireworks and sparklers should be handled by trained professionals. Sparklers can get as hot as 1,200 degrees!
- Stay at least 500 feet away from the fireworks display.
- Remind children that if they find used fireworks or sparklers — do not touch!
When spending time outdoors this summer, you and your family should consider these burn prevention tips:
- ALWAYS wear sunscreen to avoid serious and painful sunburns!
- When playing in the sand or on playground surfaces, always wear shoes to avoid injuries and burns to the feet. Playground surfaces can reach temperatures of 180 degrees.
- If caught in a lightning storm, seek shelter IMMEDIATELY.
- If your car radiator overheats, do not remove the radiator cap until after the engine completely cools down.
Simple Steps to Healthy Summer FeetNewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Offers a Guide to a Safe Pedicure Regimen
The first thing most women do before exchanging their winter boots for summer sandals is make an appointment with their pedicurist. It is the beginning of summer and the start of the busy season for most nail salons, but sometimes this professional grooming ritual can have an unwanted and lasting effect.
"Toenail fungus infections can last for years if not treated properly," says Dr. Tzvi Bar-David, Attending Podiatrist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
Here are Dr. Bar-David's tips for having healthy pedicure sessions this summer and happy feet all year round:
- Bring your own instruments. Avoid infection by bringing your own tools. This includes bringing your own sandals to avoid contracting fungus like athlete's foot.
- Avoid deep cuts. Do not let your pedicurist cut deep into the corners of your nails. Also ask your pedicurist to cut your nails straight across instead of curving the edges. This will help avoid ingrown nails.
- Don't use sharp instruments on calluses. Do not have your calluses cut. Instead, use a pumice stone. Also helpful is a cream or lotion product with urea or a lactic acid derivative on the affected area twice a day. Wrap with saran wrap and a sock to dissolve thick or calloused skin.
- Avoid Flip Flop Tendonitis. Adapting to flip flops or sandals from closed shoes creates stress on the shin muscles as they try to balance the shoe on the foot. When transitioning to open shoes wear them gradually and give your muscles a chance to adapt. This will help avoid painful shins or tendonitis of the leg.
- Avoid heel and arch pain. After a long winter you may be enthusiastic to return to the outdoors and exercise. Heel and arch pain can occur when starting to exercise without proper stretching. Sneakers should have a rigid heel counter and flexible ball of the foot. Shoes should have a comfortable toe box, be well padded, and have a cushioned sole. Stretch the calf muscles for several minutes every day and before exercising. Stand two to three feet behind a counter or wall placing your hands there. Keep your heels planted on the ground firmly and bring your body forward thus stretching the back of the calf. Hold for one minute and repeat several times.
Get Great Shades Without Losing Your ShirtHealthy Style Tips Help You Choose the Best Sunglasses This Summer
Overexposure to the sun can wreak havoc on your eyes. Sun damage can cause severe conditions such as photokeratitis (sunburn to the cornea), pterygium (tissue growth on the whites of eyes that can block vision), skin cancer on the eyelids, and has been implicated in the development of cataracts and possibly macular degeneration as well.
What you may not know is that even the best designer sunglasses may be doing more to improve your reputation than to protect your eyes from sun damage.
The three most common myths about sunglasses are:
- Darker sunglasses provide better protection against the sun.
- Expensive designer sunglasses are of a better quality than generic sunglasses.
- Sunglasses only need to be worn in the summer.
"Although not every situation or every person requires sunglasses, there are many situations where the use of sunglasses will enhance comfort and may provide eye health benefits as well," says Dr. Donald J. D'Amico, chair of ophthalmology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Dr. Stephen Trokel, attending ophthalmologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, adds, "There are strong indications that chronic exposure to the components of sunlight may accelerate aging of ocular tissues. Any protective eyewear should have side shield protection or wrap around the eye so light cannot enter the eye from side reflections."
Drs. D'Amico and Trokel offer the following advice to help you choose the best sun protection for your eyes during the summer and all year round:
- Check out the label. When you buy your next pair of sunglasses, look for the label that states the glasses provide over 95 percent UV protection. That is the only label that counts.
- Color coordinate. Choose a lens tint that blocks 80 percent of transmissible light, but no more than 90 percent to 92 percent of light; neutral gray, amber, brown or green are good colors to choose from.
- Make a healthy fashion statement. Choose sunglasses that wrap all the way around the temples, and/or wear a hat with a three-inch brim that can block the sunlight from overhead.
- Personalize your style. People with light-colored eyes, such as blue and green, are often more sensitive to bright sunlight than people with brown or dark brown eyes.
- Wear shades over your contact lenses. People who wear contact lenses that offer UV protection should still wear sunglasses. Sunglasses are helpful from preventing the drying effect most contact lens wearers get from warm wind.
- Early protection is the best medicine. For the greatest protection, consider providing UV-protected sunglasses for your children, and remember that the eyes of very small infants should always be shaded from direct exposure to the sun.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Is Buzzing About Outdoor AllergiesExpert Offers Strategies for Avoiding and Treating Warm-Weather Allergies
Every spring, millions of Americans dread the trip to the park, the playground, or participating in any of the myriad outdoor activities that trigger outdoor allergy symptoms.
This season can be especially trying for children who suffer from allergies, as they and their parents struggle to participate in outdoor activities without triggering the sneezing, runny nose, eye irritation, or in some cases, asthma symptoms and hives that may occur.
Grass and tree pollen, barbecue smoke, food allergies and even a typical bee sting can cause these reactions. Dr. Ronit Herzog, a pediatric allergy immunologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, offers the following strategies to help parents of allergy sufferers survive the winds of spring and summer:
- Stay in an air-conditioned space. If you are allergic to pollen it is recommended to run the air conditioner as much as possible during the warm-weather months, because it can filter out large, airborne pollen particles. Remember to keep your windows closed and your air conditioner clean.
- Cut back on morning activities. Pollen counts are usually highest in the early to mid-morning hours between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., so minimizing early morning activities may help you get a jump start on a symptom-free day. Shower and shampoo after playing or working outside.
- Avoid stinging insects. If you are allergic to bees you should avoid wearing brightly colored clothing, flower prints, or perfumes and lotions with flowery scents. Always wear shoes when walking in the grass, cover your body as much as possible when working outside, and don't forget to carry medication in case of an emergency.
- Take medications. Eye drops, nose spray, and non-sedating antihistamine can relieve symptoms temporarily, and taking it an hour before exposure can decrease symptom severity.
Heart-Conscious Exercise Routines from The Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
The summer is a great season for getting in shape, whether by playing a sport, an aerobic exercise routine, or just returning to that familiar running path — this is the time for activity.
However, exercising during the warmest season of the year can lead to dehydration, profuse sweating, exhaustion, and even to a cardiac event.
Dr. Holly Andersen, director of education and outreach at the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, says, "Exercise is the fountain of youth and summer is the perfect time to get re-connected with your body."
She offers the following tips to those looking to resume or begin a workout routine this summer:
- Talk to your doctor. You should always consult your physician before beginning or changing your exercise regimen in any way.
- Take your workout indoors. When it is too hot or humid outside you should exercise in a cool, air-conditioned space. Extreme temperatures can interfere with circulation, making breathing more difficult and causing chest pain.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Throughout your workout routine it is important to drink plenty of water, even before you feel thirsty. If you are prone to lightheadedness (from low blood pressure), are an endurance athlete, or over age 75, you should replenish your "electrolytes" as well — having a little salt can be important for you.
- Try to maintain an even body temperature. After your workout you should not take an extremely hot or cold shower, or a sauna bath, as these can increase the workload on your heart.
- Be an early bird. If you truly enjoy exercising outdoors, take advantage of the coolest times of day — the early morning and evening hours.
- Wear sunscreen. If you have a sunburn, it will decrease your body's ability to cool itself off. Always remember to apply sunscreen to your entire body every morning.
- Take it slow. Start your exercise regimen slowly and pace yourself throughout the workout, including plenty of time for breaks and to drink fluids.
- Have fun. Taking time to exercise is taking time for you. Enjoy it — smile, breathe deeply and clear your mind. Exercising to music is mood and energy enhancing, but if you are outside wearing headphones, PAY ATTENTION!
Slimming Down in the SpotlightNewYork-Presbyterian Dietitians Offer Tips on How to Lose Weight in the Summer
For most, summer is the time to put away layers of winter clothes and spend more time outdoors enjoying the warm sun, but if you are feeling the effects of winter weight gain, choosing from your summer frocks can become more of a chore than a relief.
Thankfully, it's not too late to shed those extra pounds you've been battling since New Year's Day.
"This time of year offers us a greater variety of healthy foods to choose from which makes this an ideal time to lose and keep weight off," says Lynn Goldstein, R.D., of the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Wahida Karmally, P.H., R.D., C.D.E., C.L.S., a registered dietitian at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, adds that "Every season offers us new ways to improve our diets and the summertime is no exception."
Lynn Goldstein and Wahida Karmally offer the following tips to help trim the fat this summer:
- Take advantage of the warm weather to increase your exercise regimen. Play a game of Frisbee®, volleyball or tennis; take long walks; or swim laps.
- Make seasonal vegetables the focus of your meal. Indulge in salads and steamed vegetables. Season vegetables with spices, lemon and balsamic vinegar, a little Parmesan cheese and low-fat dressings. Make these the largest items on your plate and add small portions of protein and/or starch.
- Grilling your food is a great way to add flavor while reducing fat and calories. Grilling meats allows some fat to drip off, which lowers fat and calorie content. Try wrapping fish or chicken in foil and add vegetables and seasonings to the grill.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruits. Bypass cakes, cookies and ice cream and opt for fresh berries, melons and even some of the more exotic fruits that are available instead. Fruit is fat-free, high in nutrients and fiber, and a natural energizer.
- Try "Calorie Banking." Cookouts with family and friends should not signal a diet disaster. By cutting back on your calories a week before special occasions, you can indulge a little more and enjoy yourself. However, try to restrict high-fat foods such as potato chips and mayonnaise-based salads.
- Stay away from empty calories. It is important to drink plenty of fluids during these warm summer months but juice, whole milk, regular soda and alcoholic beverages are high-calorie drinks that you want to stay away from. Alcoholic beverages contain empty calories and may stimulate your appetite. Instead fill up on water, seltzer, juice diluted with seltzer, low-fat milk or iced tea.
Don't Fear! You Can Prevent Swimmer's Ear
Summer is approaching fast, which means it's almost time to get out there and enjoy the warm weather and the cool waters as much as you can. If swimmer's ear, or otitis externa, is a concern, prevention and treatment is easier than you think, says Dr. Ian Storper, director of otorhinolaryngology (ENT) at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.
Swimmer's ear is a very common infection occurring more frequently during summer months because of high humidity, heat and exposure of the ear canal to bacteria-laden waters. Swimmer's ear is actually an inflammation of the external ear canal and the (wax producing) cerumen glands that line it. The root of the problem? It is an absence of ear wax which protects the thin skin of the ear canal both chemically and by acting as a barrier against germs. Sufferers usually complain of sharp pain in and around the ear and jaw and hearing loss. They may also have severe itching in the ear canal, which, if scratched, will worsen the condition.
Dr. Storper offers these tips to prevent and treat swimmer's ear:
- Avoid using cotton swabs. Cotton swabs or any other instrument can remove ear wax which normally lines and protects the delicate skin of the ear canal.
- Keep your ears dry. If you develop recurrent infections due to swimmer's ear, your ear should be kept dry with either an ear plug or some cotton with Vaseline to avoid getting it wet and to prevent further infection.
- If necessary, seek medical attention. Swimmer's ear is a preventable condition; however, if contracted, it can become quite painful and require the use of eardrops and oral antibiotics. If an infection develops, seek medical attention — don't let it ruin your summer.
NewYork-Presbyterian HospitalNewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation’s largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,242 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 230,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/The Allen Pavilion and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the largest and most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report, has the greatest number of physicians listed in New York magazine’s “Best Doctors” issue, and is included among Solucient’s top 15 major teaching hospitals. The Hospital’s mortality rates are among the lowest for heart attack and heart failure in the country, according to a 2007 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report card. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation’s leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
- Linda Kamateh
Phone: (212) 821-0560.