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Resolutions for a Healthy New Year

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Written by Bonnie Tse and Dr. Perry Pong

Counting down to the New Year brings much excitement for the coming year and another chance for a fresh start. After celebrating another year gone by, many people begin the New Year with a resolution to “be healthier”, followed by an overwhelming health checklist.

One of the reasons why resolutions are often broken may be because we set our expectations too high to attain a very large goal. To make these resolutions stick, try setting small goals. Making small changes to your daily routine may be more manageable as you are working towards a healthier you. In 2015, try one of these resolutions for a healthier, happier and longer life.

  • Be active. You don’t need an expensive gym membership to stay fit. A brisk walk in the park or a light jog in your neighborhood is a great start. Aim to stay active for 30 minutes a day or 2 ½ hours a week.
  • Make healthy food choices. Instead of ordering take out, cook your own meals and pack your own lunch. Need some inspiration? Check out some of our healthy recipes here. You can also consider adding more fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains into your diet. Try to drink more water and choose drinks low in sugar. Some foods may be hard to cut back on, and that is okay. Eat those less-healthy-favorites in moderation.
  • Get enough sleep. A good night’s sleep prepares you for the next day. Sleeping is the body’s natural way of repairing itself. It helps the brain store all the new things learned throughout the day and helps control your appetite. Being well rested improves your mood and performance at school or at work. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each day, and check out our past newsletter for more do’s and don’ts for sleep!
  • Make an appointment for a check-up! When is the last time you had a check-up? Regular check-ups will help you and your doctor screen for health problem early, and to keep you up to date with vaccinations to avoid common illnesses and conditions. Your doctor will also be able to help you maintain a healthier lifestyle based on your age and family history. If you are looking for a new healthcare provider, read more about us on our website.

Resolutions may not be easy, but by making small changes, you can achieve better health. We wish you a happy and healthy New Year!

Written by Bonnie Tse, with contributions from Perry Pong, MD. Bonnie Tse is part of the Health Education Department at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. She has a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science from Hunter College. Dr. Pong is the chief medical officer at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. He received his medical degree from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, and completed his residency training at Veterans Affairs Medical Center New York. Dr. Pong is board-certified in internal medicine.


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Cold Season is Here – What You Need to Know About Cold Medicine Safety

cold season

This time of year brings holiday excitement, winter fun and sometimes the sniffles. There is no cure for the cold, but there are over the counter medications that can help relieve some of its symptoms. If you are treating a child who has a cold, we want to provide important information on cold medicine safety during this cold season.

If your child is an infant or under four years old.

If your child is under four years old, it is important to know that giving cough and cold medicines is not safe and may cause life-threatening side effects. See our fact sheet on Cold Medicine Safety for medicine that should never be given to infants and children under four, here.

If you use cough and cold medicines for children four years old and older.

  • Always read labels before buying our using medicine. Do NOT give children medications that are labeled for adults.
  • Make sure to read and use the recommended dosage that is on the label.
  • Use only the measuring spoons or cups that come in the box or those made for measuring drugs. You do not want to give your child more than what the medication says on the label—and this is the safest way to avoid that.
  • Check the “active ingredients” section of the Drug Facts label. Each ingredient is intended to treat certain symptoms. Make sure the medicine you are using treats the symptoms your child has.
  • Be very careful when giving more than one medication to a child. Two medications may have the same “active ingredient”. If you use multiple medications with the same ingredient, your child will get more doses than what is recommended.
  • If the symptoms do not get better in a few days, bring your child to the doctor.

What else can you do if your child has a cold?

If your child is younger than 3 months, call or see the doctor at the first signs of a cold. If your child is 3 months or older, you can usually treat cold symptoms at home.

  • Give plenty of fluids to your child.
  • Run a humidifier to moisten the air.
  • Seek medical help right away if your child’s cold becomes more serious.

When in doubt on how to treat your child, be sure to call your pediatrician.


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Managing Holiday Stress

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It is the most wonderful time of the year! And sometimes, it is also the most stressful. Make the most of this special season, and try our tips to manage the stress that often comes with the holiday.

Gift giving

  • Create a budget and stick to it! Be creative, and consider making homemade gifts.
  • If you have too many people on your list, start a family or friend gift exchange. Here is a great site on how to organize a gift exchange.
  • Ask people what they want instead of spending too much time looking for the perfect gifts. Ask your family and friends to create a wish list on Amazon this year. (If you shop through Amazon Smile, you can support the Health Center with every purchase you make. Learn more here.)

Getting together with family and friends

  • Being a host can be incredibly stressful and costly. To lighten the load, ask your family and friends to bring their favorite dishes. Accept when your guests offer to help you clean up.
  • Manage your time and expectations. It is okay if you cannot do all that is on your list, or visit all the people you hope to see during the holiday season. If you feel that you will not be able to visit all the people that you love, you can tell them that you will visit them after the holidays.
  • Remember to enjoy yourself! Sometimes there are so many places to go and people to see that we forget to enjoy time with our loved ones. When the holiday tension sets in, be intentional about doing something light. Take time to play games, make a craft or cook a meal together.
  • Take a break. Step away and take a walk when you are feeling overwhelmed. If you are visiting several places during the holidays, make sure to allow time to relax between visits.

Beat the holiday blues

  • Volunteering can be incredibly rewarding. It will remind you of the spirit of the holidays.
  • Be active to help with your mood. Take a walk, dance, or check out activities at your local community center.
  • Celebrate, even if you are alone. Do something that you love to do or eat foods you most enjoy. Do something a little bit out of the ordinary and special during this season, just for you.

Whatever you are celebrating, we wish you a wonderful and healthy holiday!


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Breast Cancer Support Group – Look Good Feel Better Session

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In October, the Health Center held a special Look Good Feel Better session during its monthly breast cancer support group. The breast cancer support group is a culturally sensitive and language appropriate cancer support group that supports Chinese American women who have been diagnosed with or are survivors of breast cancer. This much needed service provides ongoing emotional support, and resources on breast cancer treatment and support services.

During this support group meeting, members participated in a group beauty session hosted by Look Good Feel Better (LGFB). LGFB is a public service program that teaches beauty techniques to cancer patients to help them manage the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. Volunteer cosmetologists gave makeup tutorials and demonstrations of wig fittings and headscarves to the support group members. Staff from the Health Center and the American Cancer Society (ACS) provided interpretation in both Cantonese and Mandarin for members. Laughter and chatter were heard throughout the session and the activity seemed to lift the spirits of the women, especially for three women who attended the group for the first time. One woman noted that she made new friends through the session and gained a support system—and they looked forward to attending future support groups together.

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Participants were provided with makeup kits to use and several women mentioned they will continue practicing at home. Participants, volunteers, and staff all thoroughly enjoyed the session. A special thanks to the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, ACS, and the Professional Beauty Association who partner together to support the LGFB program, and to Komen Greater NYC for supporting a culturally sensitive cancer prevention and support program for Chinese American women in the community. If you would like to learn more about our breast cancer screening and support services, email Esther Kim at Ekim@cbwchc.org.