New York’s Medically-Vulnerable

While Hurricane Sandy might be over, its after-effects are still being felt by those who are medically vulnerable in the region. Herewith are some of the health risks those in the New York and New Jersey areas may expect to encounter: exposure to carbon monoxide; injuries and infections resulting from floodwaters (this includes bacterial; electrical; eye and hand injuries).  Mold is still a concern as that could develop once one’s home is exposed to standing water for a long period of time.  It is thus important to immediately dry and remove water-damaged items to further prevent mold.

People are also at risk of hypothermia, so it is crucial to find ways to stay warm when there is no electricity.  One way of doing so is by dressing in layers as this makes a great personal insulator.  Body temperature can be maintained by drinking hot, sweetened drinks.  The good news is that according to New York City’s Health Department, tap water is safe for drinking in those areas that did not encounter flooding.  Often, sewage overflows do not affect the city’s water supplies, but each case needs to be examined individually.  Generally common sense is advised; once one notices or smells something strange about the water, it should not be consumed.

When it comes to food, food safety rules must be followed.  If it wasn’t properly refrigerated or encountered any exposure to floodwater, it should be exposed of.  Any food items touched by sewage water should also be dumped. 

It should also be remembered that all chronic diseases – especially diabetes and high blood pressure – are likely to be exacerbated in the wake of the hurricane. Extra care thus needs to be taken.

Junk Foods Offered in 50% of Elementary Schools

A recent study shows that more than fifty percent of elementary school students have the option of buying junk foods like ice cream, potato chips and other snacks while at school. Researchers implied that schools should heed health warnings and be encouraged to improve nutrition at school, both during lunches and between periods.

When children are presented with appealing sugary and salty snacks, they are more inclined to skip the healthier, more balanced meals for trips to the vending machines.

According to Lindsey Turner of the University of Illinois, elementary school is “really a crucial period where the preferences and behavioral habits are being developed.

“If kids are early on in that environment where that junk food is around, then it potentially becomes a habit that’s harder to break,” she said. She added that the recent findings are “disappointing.”

BSN in 10 Bill Requires Bachelor’s Degree for Nurses

Though the healthcare industry is currently dealing with staff shortages, New York lawmakers are considering a new measure that would require new registered nurses to earn a bachelor’s degree within a decade. This motion comes as part of a national effort to boost educational requirements for nurses.

The bill, nicknamed “BSN in 10”, is supported by health policy organizations, as well as nursing associations, who hope to resolve the issue of limited nurses qualified to care for the aging population. This population includes hundreds of thousands of nurses who will retire in the next few years. The downside to the plan is that it may discourage new entrants into the field.

“It simply means that if you graduate from a program like ours, within 10 years of graduation, they need to have earned a bachelor’s in nursing (BSN),” explained Rhonda Reader of St. Joseph’s College of Nursing. “We don’t think that’s a bad thing. We think that’s a great thing. It’s naturally starting to happen without the legislation,” Reader added.

She continued, “One of our focuses has always been encouraging lifelong learning and this is a starting point. We’re definitely behind the curve in terms of health care professions.”

New York City Baby’s Life Expectancy: Mayor Michael Bloomberg

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that the life expectancy of a New York City baby born in 2009 has increased to 80.6 years. In 2000, the expectancy was 77.6, and today’s national rate is 78.2 years.

Mayor Bloomberg publicized the figures in a statement alongside Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. During his statement, the mayor also cited New York’s health interventions, which include anti-smoking campaigns and strengthened testing and treatment for HIV.

He added that the life expectancy for New Yorkers in their forties has increased by two and a half years, to age 82, between years 2000 and 2009.

Child Obesity Rates Fall in NYC

The obesity rate in schools throughout New York has fallen 5.5% over the past five years, thanks to the city-instituted programs to encourage healthy eating habits and physical activity.

According to a study, the percentage of obese children from kindergarten through 8th grade dropped to 20.7% over this past school year. According to city officials, the drop is due to programs working to remove deep-fried foods and sugary drinks from cafeterias, adding low fat milk and salad bars to the menu, as well as to limit junk food-selling fundraisers.

“The tide of the obesity epidemic is beginning to ebb,” said New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Thomas Farley. “We see this as validation that our public health efforts to address the obesity epidemic are beginning to work.”

Santa Project Party and Auction Supports United Cerebral Palsy of New York City

Last Wednesday, Bier International hosted the Santa Project Party & Auction in support of United Cerebral Palsy of New York City. UCP of NYC is one of the most established non-profits in the US. It helps both children and adults with disabilities throughout the city, serving more than 14,000 individuals and family members.

UCP of NYC delivers programs and services all year round, and the proceeds from the Santa Project Party and Auction help to fund equipment requests, aid and even holiday gifts cards for children with disabilities in all of the non-profit’s programs.

The event’s silent auction featured numerous luxury goods and services up for bid, such as two nights at the SOHO Grand, several tickets to the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, fashion items, gift certificates for NYC restaurants and electronics. The guest list included both professionals and celebrity guests including Mike Woods, Isiah Whitlock, Jose Salvador, Richie Rich, Brian Keane, Josh Folan and many others.


New York Health Officials: AIDS Medication for HIV Residents

New York health officials have recommended that HIV positive residents be offered AIDS medication as soon as the virus is diagnosed. This immediate, aggressive response has proved to prolong life and reduce the spreading of the disease in the past.

Until recently, standard practice has called off the medication until the immune system weakens significantly, due to the steep expense. The pills can cost up $15,000 a year in the United States. Now, New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley has expressed his optimism as recent studies have shown the significant benefits of early treatment, together with education and testing, which suggest a promising strategy for battling the disease.

“I’m more optimistic now than I’ve ever been about this epidemic that we can drive our new rates down to zero or close to it- eventually. I don’t know how soon. But I’m very optimistic of the direction that it’s going to take the epidemic to,” Farley said.

The Common Cold and the Flu


The season is changing, and with the winter come the flu and the common cold. Though these ailments are inconvenient and uncomfortable, they often pass on their own in less than a week. Learn which symptoms may indicate a more serious infection and when a visit to the doctor is advised.

New York Health Comissioner Dr. Thomas Farley Launches Ad Campaign

According to the New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, a new ad campaign will be hitting the streets of the Big Apple within the month. The ad aims to expose people to the dangers of drinking soda and other sugary drinks on a regular basis. Drinking one soda every day is like consuming a fifty pound bag of sugar annually. Drinks such as these can lead to diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, arthritis and even some forms of cancer.

According to Farley, sugary drinks are the most common source of added sugar to a child’s diet, increasing the obesity risk dramatically with each serving. The New York ad campaign will include a YouTube video showing how far a person would need to walk to burn off the calories from a single drink, as well as bilingual posters which will strengthen the message.

New York’s Pedestrians Suffer Numerous Bike Accidents

A recent analysis published by Hunter College professors revealed that more than 500 New York City residents suffer severe injuries after being struck by cyclists. Though the number seems small in comparison to the number of pedestrians injured by cars, it has been growing rapidly over recent years.

The survey studied hospital data from the State Department of Health gathered between 2007 and 2010. Results showed that 1,000 pedestrians were treated at hospitals every year after being hit by cyclists, 55% of whom were residents of New York.

An additional study, conducted by Professors Peter Tuckel and William Milczarski, found that the number of pedestrians treated in hospitals annually was not much higher than 1,000. Dr. Tuckel explains that these figures represent “the tip of the iceberg,” because they list only the pedestrians who ended up at the hospital, and not those who then visited a doctor’s office or clinic.