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October is Dental Hygiene Month

dental

Written by Ivan Lee

How important are your teeth? Your teeth are essential to help you eat, talk and breathe easier. Taking care of your teeth can help in many different ways like having a great smile, being able to eat food that you like and much more.

A great start to taking care of your teeth is choosing the right kinds of foods in your diet. Try foods that provide calcium to help re-mineralize your teeth and strengthen your enamel. These are some of the best food choices for your teeth:

  • cheese
  • chicken or other meats
  • nuts
  • milk
  • Fiber-rich fruits and veggies

The worst food choices usually contain lots of sugar, starch or acid (the foods that taste so good!). These foods can eat away at your enamel and add more bacteria in your mouth. Here are a few you should limit for your dental health:

  • hard candy
  • citrus fruit
  • pickles
  • sugary drinks like bubble tea, soda and fruit juice
  • acidic drinks like vinegar, wine and tomato juice

It is okay to eat your favorite treat from time to time, as long as you are taking care of your teeth. Remember to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day, use mouthwash to wash any access residue, don’t smoke, and of course, visit your dentist regularly. This will reduce your chances of getting cavities, and gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Please visit the dentist to see how they can assist you on having a great smile. Going to the dentist sounds like a chore or possibly scary, but they are your best friends when it comes to your teeth. You can make an appointment with the dental department by calling (212) 226-9339.

Written by Ivan Lee. Ivan Lee is the dental program associate from the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. He coordinates outreach and workshops to the community to educate about dental health.

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Flu, Enterovirus D68 and Ebola – Should I Worry?

should i worry

Written by Dr. Loretta Au

There is a lot of fear about infectious viruses like Enterovirus D68 and Ebola, and we understand why. We want to provide you with information on what these viruses are so you can take steps to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy. Disease-Chart*Information taken from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

There are a few ways that you can protect you and your family from the flu and Enterovirus D68. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth and food with unwashed hands and avoid direct contact with a severely ill person. If you or your child feels ill, do not go to school or work—go see the doctor right away. To prevent further spread, regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched by someone who is sick. Make sure to get a flu shot! This will not protect you from Enterovirus D68, but it will protect you from the flu.

While Ebola is a very scary and serious disease, it is important to remember that it is only spread through direct contact with a person who has symptoms. Here at the Health Center, we have a plan in place if we do have a patient who has symptoms of the Ebola virus. We will do everything we can to protect our patients and our community.

The Health Center and other medical facilities are here to support you and make sure you and your loved ones stay healthy throughout the season.

Written by Dr. Loretta Au, MD, MPH. Dr. Au is the Chief of Pediatrics at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. She received her medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine and completed her residency training at New York University Medical Center. Dr. Au is certified through the American Board of Pediatrics.


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Case Management Week – Celebrating Care Managers

care management

Our case managers are our patient’s advocates and confidants. Their role is to meet unique patient needs through resources and care coordination. They ensure that patients understand their health, the importance of health treatment and management and that they have the resources to reach their health goals. These unsung heroes make a habit of taking that extra step that may just be what makes the crucial difference in the lives of our patients.

This week is National Case Management Week, and we are proud to celebrate our dedicated case managers. We spent some time with Mary Chiang, one of our care manager specialists, who shared what a day in the life is like for our case managers.

DN: What made you decide to be a case manager?

MC: I was a medical assistant at the Health Center for two years. An opportunity to be a case manager for The Hepatitis B Care Program and The Hepatitis B Perinatal Program came up. The position also focused on patients with diabetes and hypertension, which sounded interesting to me. My favorite part of being a medical assistant was interacting with patients, so it was a good fit.

DN: What is a day in the life like for you?

MC: Follow-up, follow-up! I start off my day looking at our Hepatitis B database to make sure my patients have been coming to their appointments. If they have missed an appointment, I call and check in with them. These are not always easy calls—there is always a reason why they have missed an appointment. They may be working outside of NYC, or just very busy. It is a real challenge to make the patients understand how important it is for them to keep up with doctors’ appointments.

DN: How do you handle patients who miss important doctor’s appointments?

MC: It’s important to be understanding. They may have missed an appointment and they really need to come see their doctor, and they tell you they can come in three months. I’ll say to them, “Okay, let me make an appointment for you right now.” I want them to at least have an appointment so they will be reminded to return. There are also patients who will soon run out of medication, but can’t come back yet. I will emphasize the risks of stopping their medication. If they still say they can’t come, I will talk to their doctor for medication refills. I know it is hard for some patients to come in, but we have to continue to call them and make sure they are getting the care they need.

DN: What does the rest of your day look like?

MC: A big part of the Hepatitis B Perinatal Program is providing face-to-face counseling with pregnant women with hepatitis B. I meet them after they see their doctor. Some of these patients have just learned that they have hepatitis B, and they do not know much about it. So there is a lot to talk about! I communicate that they are not just taking care of themselves, and that they have to protect their baby from this disease as well. I tell them how important it is to take medication when prescribed, and how important it is to have their child vaccinated.

DN: What do you enjoy most about being a case manager?

MC: I really get to know my patients. I learn all about their lives. As case managers, we provide extra support for those who need it most, and they are grateful for that. When I help our patients get free or reduced-cost medications, link them to resources or teach them something new about their health—they really do appreciate it. It’s the little things. Just showing them I care seems to make a difference.

DN: Can you share a time where you felt that your job was important?

MC: I had a hepatitis B patient who came to the Health Center because he lost his insurance. He stopped seeing his doctor and stopped taking his medication because he had lost his insurance. His doctor referred him to me for a counselling session. We discussed all the challenges he was facing trying to get medication—and he was trying. He simply could not afford it. I discussed all the options for him to get the medicine he needed. It took an hour just to discuss all the options, and to make sure he understood them. We—including his doctor—decided on the best option for him, which was to try to apply to a pharmacy program that would provide medication for free. We completed all the paperwork right away and faxed it the same day. The very next day he was approved and was able to start medication again.

DN: That is great! What was that like for you?

MC: He was so happy, and I was happy. I said to myself, “That was exciting—next case!”


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Be the Match and Save a Life

eric

This is Eric Hou. He needs our help.

About Eric Hou

Eric Hou is a 25 year old senior at Rutgers University, where he currently has a double major in cell biology and neurology. He hopes to pursue research and healthcare to further the medical field. He has always excelled in academics and is very active in charitable events in both school and his community, such as volunteering with animal shelters. Eric is a high spirited young man who has always been willing to lend a helping hand and is extremely family oriented. He is generous and contagiously spreads his humor and laughter to all of those around him. Eric was recently engaged to his long-time girlfriend.

Eric recently relapsed after his first battle with leukemia and is currently undergoing chemotherapy at Hackensack University Hospital. He was on the path to finish college and marry his fiancé before relapsing. He has a big heart and lots of potential in his future. Eric’s friends and family are organizing the drive to help him fight this deadly illness.

How Can You Help?

You can help Eric by becoming a member of the bone marrow registry. To become a member, you take a simple cotton-swab test to see whether or not you are a match for someone in need for bone marrow donation. If you are determined to be compatible, you will be given the opportunity to donate your bone marrow to Eric. There is no obligation to donate bone marrow when you join the bone marrow registry.

Take part in a special bone marrow typing drive as part of a movement to find a bone marrow donor for Eric Hou. The event will take place on Saturday, October 11, from 11am to 3pm at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. We are located at 268 Canal Street, 1st fl, New York, NY 10013. If you are between the ages of 18 and 44 and are in good general health, please come fill out a consent form and get a cheek swab. It will take 15 minutes and it is painless.

Not only will your contributions help increase Eric’s chances of finding a compatible donor, it will also help the many others in the present and future who are diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma, sickle cell anemia or other life-threatening diseases.

There is currently a severe shortage of bone marrow matches for minorities, including Asian Americans. If you are Asian American, we encourage you to register.

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Coping With Stress and Anxiety

Written by Sook Yee Yeung, LCSW

Mental Health is often negatively associated, stigmatized, and misconstrued—this can be particularly true in Asian communities. It is important to understand that our mental health is vital in maintaining our overall health. When we neglect to do so, we may fall prey to daily stressors, have difficulty coping, and can even become physically ill.

How does stress and anxiety affect your body?

When we are faced with stressful situations and do not know how to cope in healthy ways, our bodies may react with a wide array of negative symptoms. These can be physical—like headaches, dizziness, heart pounding, sweating, frequent urination or diarrhea, shortness of breath, poor sleep, tremors, twitches and muscle tension.

There are, of course, a range of emotional symptoms as well, including being easily annoyed or irritated, unable to sit still, trouble relaxing, feeling tense and jumpy, unable to stop worrying, and difficulty concentrating.

How can I manage stress and anxiety?

Everyone deals with stress, and many people live with anxiety. There are many practical ways that we can improve the way we cope. Here are 5 things you can incorporate into your daily life to best manage stress and anxiety.

1. Have a regular to daily exercise routine. Exercise is a huge stress reliever and mood booster. Try walking, jogging or even dancing for 30 minutes a week for a start.

2. Get Enough Sleep. A lot of times when we are stressed, our body is actually telling us that we need more rest and sleep.

3. Eat well-balanced meals. Foods that are high in fats and sugars often leave us feeling lethargic and less able to deal with stress. Also consider limiting alcohol and caffeine intake. Alcohol and caffeine can greatly impact our sleep cycle, which in turn can heighten our fatigue and stress levels. They can also aggravate symptoms of anxiety and trigger panic attacks.

4. Take a time-out. You can do this through meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and massage therapy. These activities will help your body to produce endorphins—a chemical which our bodies produce as a natural painkiller.

5. Talk to someone. Talking with trusted family members and friends about your stress and anxiety can help a great deal to relieve stress. It is also helpful to speak with your medical doctor or a therapist if professional help is needed. If you are a patient of the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, we have licensed professionals who can provide you with the right treatment, which could include medication and/or counseling. Call us to make an appointment at (212) 941-2213.

Written by Sook Yee Yeung, LCSW, is a New York State-Licensed Clinical Social Worker with the Mental Health Bridge Program at Charles B. Wang Community Center. She provides mental health related treatment and services.


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Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Understanding Dense Breast Tissue

breast cancer

Written by Dr. Allan Ho

With this month being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we want to touch on an issue common among Asian women.

In New York State, radiologists are required to inform women if they have dense breasts along with the results of their mammograms. For women with dense breast tissue, mammographic images may be more difficult to read, making breast cancer harder to detect. Dense breasts on mammography are common in Asian women. Having dense breasts means you have more breast glands than fatty tissue in your breasts. Having dense breasts is not abnormal. On the other hand, it is important to know that women with dense breasts may have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than women who do not.

Many factors can affect breast density. They include age, genetics, pregnancy, use of certain medications, menopausal status or even timing of the menstrual cycle. At this time, there is no consensus among experts whether further screening tests are needed for women found to have dense breasts. If you have dense breasts on mammography, talk to your doctor to arrive at a follow up plan that is best for you.

Mammography can save lives

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women, and the second most common cause of cancer death in women. We encourage all women age 40 and older to have regular mammography to screen for breast cancer. Early detection offers the best prognosis and the most treatment options. If you want more information about getting a mammogram, you can click on this link.

The Charles B. Wang Community Health Center provides linkages to low-cost or no-cost mammograms. Clinical breast exams and breast health education are available at our health center. To learn more, please call (212) 966-0228 for Manhattan or (718) 886-1287 for Queens.

Written by Dr. Allan Ho, MD, MPH, FACOG. Dr. Ho is the Chief of Obstetrics/Gynecology at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. He received his medical degree from New York Medical College, and completed his residency training from Maimonides Medical Center. Dr. Ho is certified through the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.