Connecting to Health

A Health and Wellness Blog

October 17, 2016

Protect Yourself from a Surprising Household Danger

Bet you don’t think of your medicine cabinet as one of the most dangerous spots in your home -- but if it contains drugs you’re no longer using, it just might be a household hazard, says James Abberton, senior director of pharmacy services at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center. That’s why the Drug Enforcement Agency has set next Saturday, October 22, as National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

More …

October 13, 2016

When Should You Get a Cough Checked Out?

A lot of people are doing a lot of coughing these days. It’s the time of year for it: Seasonal allergies are still prevalent while colds are starting to circulate, and both can produce coughs that last for a surprisingly long time. Fortunately, it's generally okay to let a cough run its course, as long as you feel well otherwise. Sometimes, though, a cough needs a doctor's attention. Here's how to know the difference.

More …

October 3, 2016

Fall Colors: Easy, Nearby and Gorgeous

To celebrate the season, we’ve rounded up some of the best places in the area for leaf-peeping and outdoor activities. Put these daytrips on your calendar for the next month or so; after all, fitness is more fun when you’ve got spectacular scenery to keep you company!

More …

September 23, 2016

Why You Should Get a Flu Shot (For Free!)

Doctors and other health experts would like to clear up a few misconceptions about the flu. First, flu is not just a really bad cold. Instead, it can be a very serious illness. Influenza kills more than 36,000 people each year and puts 200,000 more into the hospital. Fortunately – contrary to another common misperception -- the flu shot works. That’s why CareConnect wants to make it easy for you to get vaccinated.

More …

September 19, 2016

A Surprising Fix for Aches and Pains

If you’ve never taken a yoga class, you may think the ancient mind-body practice is just fine -- for someone else. Someone flexible, maybe, or someone who wants to chant “om.” But according to Rachel Friedman, a physical therapist at Phelps Memorial Hospital Center and a certified yoga instructor, yoga is a great way for most people to reduce their stress levels and feel fewer aches and pains – no om required.

More …

September 12, 2016

Sneaking in Veggies: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

In honor of Fruits & Veggies -- More Matters Month, here's a reminder that more than 90 percent of Americans don't eat enough produce, even though getting extra servings can help you fight off disease and maintain a healthy weight. From Eric Sieden, director of nutrition and food services at Northwell Health's Glen Cove, Plainview and Syosset Hospitals, here's a great way to sneak some squash into an old dinnertime favorite.

More …

September 5, 2016

The ABCs of Sports Safety

As kids head back to school this month, many of them are also heading back to the field, gym or court – the basketball or tennis court, that is. Playing a sport does carry some risk, as news stories about concussion and other dangers have driven home over the past few years. Fortunately, awareness and a few common-sense moves can make a big difference.

More …

August 29, 2016

3 Surprising Reasons for Memory Problems

Sooner or later, almost everyone worries about Alzheimer’s disease. Forget the name of an acquaintance? Can’t find your keys – again? Have no idea why you went into the living room, even though you know there was something you meant to do when you got there? If you’re feeling forgetful, here are a few things to consider.

More …

August 22, 2016

Your Child's Most Important School Prep

It’s back-to-school season: time to start stocking up on spiral notebooks, checking that school clothes still fit -- and making sure your children are current on their vaccines. Staying on schedule with immunizations should be a regular part of your kids’ annual check-ups, and in New York State and New York City (as in most of the country), being properly vaccinated is required if they attend a school or child-care center.

More …

August 15, 2016

Breathing Easy In the Heat

On a hot and humid day, you don’t need a healthy living blog to tell you that it’s not very comfortable to sweat and swelter, or that it might even be dangerous if the temperature rises too high. But heat isn’t the only thing to watch for on a day like today.

More …

August 8, 2016

6 Olympic Facts That Will Inspire You

The 2016 Olympics are underway and are as amazing as always -- with swimmers, gymnasts, cyclists and others managing physical feats that the rest of us can’t even imagine. After all, most of us don’t exactly measure up to the world’s best athletes in terms of speed, strength, or skill. It can be hard to relate to their grueling workout schedules or their intense training diets. But we can be inspired by them.

More …

July 25, 2016

8 Easy Steps to a Stress-free Vacation

When life gets stressful, vacations are supposed to help us feel refreshed and rejuvenated. But why does it sometimes seem like getting away from it all is more trouble than it’s worth?

“It’s easy to get overwhelmed when planning a vacation, or to come back more stressed than when you left,” says Curtis W. Reisinger, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine at Hofstra University. And that’s a shame, since taking time off (and using it wisely) can have important mental-health benefits.

The key is to avoid common stress traps before, during and after your trip. If you’ve got a vacation coming up, here's how to make the most of it.

More …

July 18, 2016

Healthy Moves that Can Save You Money

We’re officially more than halfway through the year, which makes this a great time to check in on your health and fitness goals for 2016 and see how things are going. Not so well? Don’t give up -- a little nudge in the right direction may be all you need. If you haven’t been as active or as health-conscious as you’d like this year, one great way to find motivation is to sign up for a running race or an organized walk. With more than 30,000 running events taking place every year across the country, there’s something out there for everyone. And thanks to CareConnect’s Wellness Program, you may be able to get reimbursed for the entry fee!

More …

July 11, 2016

6 Great Parks to Explore this Month

Living in the New York metropolitan area, it’s easy to get the best of culture – and nature. You’re never more than a short drive or subway ride from good food, interesting events and (of course) top-notch medical care, but you’re just a hop, skip and a jump from incredible natural resources, too. For Parks and Recreation Month, check out these nearby parks that guarantee a good time. 

More …

July 4, 2016

5 Numbers for the 4th of July

Happy birthday to our nation! Here’s to celebrating with barbecues, the great outdoors, fireworks and friends!

And yet -- not to rain on your parade, snuff your sparklers or put a cramp in your cookout -- we want to share a word to the wise: Besides being our national birthday, the Fourth has also been called the most dangerous holiday of the year. Do have fun! Just take a look at these numbers and adjust accordingly in order to keep your family safe, sound and happy.

More …

June 27, 2016

How Much Water Do You Really Need?

Google “how much water should I drink each day,” and you get upwards of six million hits -- half of them, probably, telling you to drink eight 8-ounce glasses every day and the other half telling you to ignore that advice. Here’s the good news: Most healthy people drink enough water and other liquids by simply responding to their thirst, says Nancy Copperman, RD, assistant vice president of public health and community partnerships for Northwell Health. Still, Copperman says, people do make a number of common mistakes when it comes to staying hydrated in the heat. Here are her rules for healthy summer drinking.

More …

June 20, 2016

Taste of Summer: Strawberry-Spinach Salad with Herbs, Goat Cheese and Pecans

Summer is a fantastic time to shop a farm stand or farmers market -- especially in New York State. For a delicious way to use some of this season's bounty, try this recipe for a restaurant-quality salad you can whip up in no time, from Patty Sobel, Northern Westchester Hospital executive chef and 2016 winner of Northwell Health's Annual Ultimate Healthy Cooking Challenge.

More …

June 13, 2016

Is Summer Giving You a Headache?

Headaches are an unpleasant but unavoidable fact of life. Just about everyone deals with them now and then – and some people suffer with them often. (According to the National Headache Foundation, more than 45 million Americans get frequent headaches.) But headache experts say that being aware of patterns in when and where headaches strike, and talking to your doctor if your symptoms are severe, may help you ward off future attacks.

More …

June 6, 2016

How to Avoid the Emergency Room This Summer

Summer is a time to kick back and relax -- unless you’re an ER doctor, that is. Hospitals don’t take vacations. In fact, some research shows that emergency room visits actually increase during the summer months. Outdoor fun and time off from school and work can provide great opportunities for staying active and fit, but they can also raise your risk for injury and illness. To keep yourself and your family safe this summer, check out these tips for staying out of the ER.

More …

May 30, 2016

Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning

Summer is here, at least unofficially – time for fun at the pool or beach. Some of the stay-safe basics are obvious: Just for starters, don’t swim alone, don’t mix alcohol with swimming or boating and don't take your eyes off your kids when they’re near water. But there’s another important point to keep in mind, one that isn’t so well-known.

More …

May 23, 2016

5 Steps to Perfect Grilling

Planning a cookout for Memorial Day? That’s a great idea: Grilling is a naturally healthy way to prepare food, says Jessica Palumbo, RD, a dietitian at Glen Cove Hospital -- as long as you take a few simple precautions and make smart choices about the menu.

More …

May 16, 2016

Family-Friendly Bike Trails To Try This Spring

The best way to celebrate spring is to get outside and enjoy it. And one of the best ways to do that is to hop on a bike. We asked cycling experts in the New York metro area for their favorite family-friendly routes in our backyards.

More …

May 9, 2016

5 Steps to Better Health You Shouldn't Skip

Yesterday’s celebration of Mother’s Day kicked off National Women’s Health Week, an annual reminder for all women -- moms, daughters, sisters, girlfriends, wives -- to make their health a priority. This is something all of us should be thinking about year-round, of course, but a refresher is never a bad idea. So listen up, ladies: Even if you exercise and eat right, you may still be skipping some of the most important steps to good long-term health.

More …

May 2, 2016

5 Top Sunscreen Mistakes to Avoid

Good news: Warm temperatures, backyard barbecues and trips to the beach are probably all in your near future.
Bad news: All those wonderful things mean you’ll be exposing yourself to the sun – and, maybe, raising your risk of skin cancer. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and today, the first Monday in May, is Melanoma Monday. That means it’s a good time to make sure you’re taking steps to protect yourself...

More …

April 25, 2016

Mosquito Season Is Here! How to Protect Yourself

Mosquito bites are more than just an itchy nuisance -- these days, they can also be downright dangerous. That’s true even if you never leave home, because you don’t need to travel abroad to catch a mosquito-borne illness; mosquitoes in our area can transmit many different viruses. The time to start practicing insect-bite prevention is now, says Sunil Sood, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Southside Hospital and Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

More …

April 18, 2016

Do You Drink More Than You Think?

There’s an old expression that all things are best in moderation, and that seems to be especially true for alcoholic beverages. Moderate drinking may even have some health benefits, like possibly lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes and gallstones. But the key work in that sentence is moderate.

More …

April 11, 2016

Hay Fever by the Numbers

Ah, spring! Warm breezes, chirping birds, blooming trees – and sniffling, congestion and all-around misery. Spring allergies, AKA hay fever, AKA allergic rhinitis, can last for weeks or even months, says Sherry Farzan, MD, an allergist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital. But paying attention to a few critical numbers may help you find a little relief.

More …

April 4, 2016

7 Ways to Keep Kids Safe From Lead

The ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan is heartbreaking for the people who live there -- and may have made you wonder at least a little about lead levels in your own home. That wonder may have turned to worry after news reports that many other cities around the country, including several in nearby New Jersey and Pennsylvania, have reported high levels of lead in their water, or high percentages of kids with elevated levels in their blood.

More …

March 28, 2016

The Hottest Health Drink

You probably don’t need another reason to pour yourself a cup or three of coffee today—if you’re a fan, you probably already figure that coffee’s something you just don’t want to live without. Still, maybe you’ve wondered if your daily habit is really okay for your health. In that case, we’ve got some good news. “Coffee has a lot of health benefits that people don’t think about,” says Debra Epstein, RD, chief clinical dietitian at Glen Cove Hospital.

More …

March 17, 2016

ER or Urgent Care? How to Know Where to Go

When you need medical attention, sometimes it’s obvious where to turn: Lingering cough and sore throat? Make an appointment with your doctor. Think you might be having a heart attack? Get to the emergency room, stat.  Other times, though, the answer isn’t so clear...

More …

March 14, 2016

5 Easy Ways to Protect Your Vision

Did you know that eye exams are an important part of your overall health -- even if you have perfect vision? It’s true: Starting at age 40, every adult should see an optometrist or ophthalmologist at least once every two to four years. As you get older (or develop vision problems), that frequency should increase.

More …

March 7, 2016

Your Daylight Savings Time Survival Guide

At 2 a.m. this Sunday, your clocks will “spring forward” an hour, kicking off Daylight Saving Time. The upside: You’ll get some extra sunlight in the evening for the next several months. The downside: You’ll almost certainly lose an hour of sleep Sunday night. And depending on how early you have to get up in the morning, it may be pitch black when you rise for a couple of weeks.

More …

March 1, 2016

Getting Back in Shape -- Safely

It may be cold, wet or slushy outside, but that’s no excuse to put off exercise until spring. And now that the New Year’s resolution crowds have started to peter out, this is a great time to get better acquainted with your local gym or fitness studio – especially because CareConnect will help pay for your gym membership if you go enough times!

More …

February 19, 2016

5 Ways to Keep Your Child Smiling

What childhood illness is seven times more common than hay fever—and can set your child up for a lifetime of trouble? Chances are, you didn’t think tooth decay. Few parents know that it’s the No. 1 chronic childhood illness...

More …

February 12, 2016

The New Rules for Eating Right

Every few years, the federal government comes out with advice about one of the most important things you do every day—eating. The new recommendations came out last month in the form of an update to the official Dietary Guidelines, and they include some big changes that are meant to help Americans make smarter choices about the food they eat in order to lower their risk of obesity and chronic disease.

More …

February 5, 2016

5 Numbers to Know for National Wear Red Day

If you’re seeing red today, it’s probably because some of your friends and acquaintances are using a splash of color to draw attention to the fight against heart disease in women. And with good reason: While coronary heart disease is recognized as a major threat to American men, a lot of people aren’t aware that it’s also the #1 killer of women.

More …

January 29, 2016

Be Part of a Medical Success Story!

We can’t leave the month of January without noting that it’s been Cervical Health Awareness Month -- a great time to take a closer look at cervical cancer, one of modern medicine’s most impressive success stories.

More …

January 22, 2016

How to Avoid America’s Top Killer

You may have heard some scary news last month about heart health. According to a new study from the American Heart Association (AHA), one in three deaths in the United States is caused by cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, clogged arteries or related problems), making it the country’s top killer.

More …

January 15, 2016

Beating the Winter Blues

This coming Monday—the third in January—is sometimes known as “Blue Monday,” and has been colloquially dubbed the “most depressing day of the year.” Of course, there’s no scientific basis to this designation, but most of us can all agree that Mondays can be rough. Making a few changes can boost your mood and energy levels, even in the depths of winter.

More …

January 8, 2016

Soothe Your Winter Skin

It was a slow start to winter, but the cold weather has finally arrived with a vengeance. So watch out: That means dry and itchy skin is on its way, brought on by challenging conditions outdoors and in the home.

More …

January 4, 2016

3 New Year’s Resolutions You Shouldn’t Make (and the Ones You Should Make Instead)

January is a time for new beginnings, and a time for promises to ourselves that this year will be better, happier and healthier than the last. But why are we so often right back where we started by the time February rolls around?

More …

December 18, 2015

Healthier, Happier Holiday Travel

The holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but if you're one of the millions of people planning to travel long distances by car or plane, you can be forgiven for feeling somewhat Grinch-like. Being cooped up for hours while you fight the crowds can put a damper on anyone’s festive mood, and can even raise your risk of serious health problems.

More …

December 11, 2015

Shop Right to Eat Right

Have you ever walked into the supermarket with the best of intentions -- only to walk out with a cart full of questionable items? Getting into and out of the grocery store can be the most challenging part of healthy eating, but done right, it can also be a great way to improve your diet in the midst of holiday overindulgence.

More …

December 4, 2015

Should You Be Taking Vitamins?

Do you take a daily multivitamin or another regular vitamin or mineral supplement? About half of all Americans do, according to a 2013 survey. If you’re one of them, you may think your habit is an easy way of protecting your health – like wearing your seat belt every time you get in the car. But in fact, the vitamin decision is a little more complicated than that...

More …

November 27, 2015

On the Fence? Get That Flu Vaccine!

If you haven't gotten a flu vaccine yet this year, you may not think it matters. After all, the flu’s no big deal, is it?

More …

November 19, 2015

Try These Tricks for Better Sleep (and a Healthier Heart!)

Aah, sleep. You know you need it so you won’t snap at your spouse and kids – and so you won’t get drowsy behind the wheel. But here’s another reason to take snoozing seriously: A recent study suggested that routinely losing out on sleep can increase the risk of heart disease.

More …

November 13, 2015

4 Ways to Reduce Your Diabetes Risk

Chances are, you know someone with diabetes. Most likely, you know several people -- maybe family members or close friends. That's a pretty safe assumption, considering that about 29 million people in the United States are estimated to have the disease, or roughly 9 percent of the population.

More …

November 4, 2015

The Surgeon General Wants You to Walk More. Here’s Why, and How to Do It

What if someone told you that you could significantly reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes in just 22 minutes a day? Even better, those 22 minutes can be spread throughout the day and don't require expensive equipment -- and you can take part almost no matter what shape you’re in. The requirements are, in fact, surprisingly simple: All you have to do is walk.

More …

November 2, 2015

Connect With Us!

Today we’re starting something new on Connecting to Health, our health and wellness blog. We hope you enjoy it! We’ll be sharing news and information we think you’ll find useful, interesting or fun – dispatches from the world of health care that may help you reduce your risk of disease and boost your sense of well-being.

More …