Friday, December 2, 2016

Healthy Holiday Tips and Tricks

  • Eat a small, balanced meal or snack before you leave home (e.g. ¼ cup almonds). If you arrive to the party hungry, you’ll be more likely to overindulge.
  • Ask if you can bring a healthy side-dish or a “lightened up” dessert
  • Study ALL of the food options, and think about what you are going to have before you put anything on your plate. Decide which foods are worth eating and which can be ignored, and then stick to that decision.
  • If you taste something that you don’t enjoy, leave it on your plate—don’t finish it!
  • Choose vegetables first. Broccoli, baby carrots, cauliflower and tomatoes are good choices that are usually on the appetizer table. Fill half your dinner plate with salad.
  • Eat chips and crackers in moderation, and definitely avoid eating them straight from the bowl. Put some on a small plate so you can see your portion. 
  • Try not to hang out near the food to avoid grazing. Find a comfortable spot across the room and focus on socializing instead of eating.
  • Sip a large glass of water or fruit-flavored seltzer. This will keep you hydrated and provide you with a better option than alcohol or sugary drinks.
  • Make physical activity a priority during the holiday season. Plan to attend your usual exercise session the day of a party and if you over-indulge take a walk after a big meal.  
View a recipe for Coconut and Pecan Crusted Tilapia here.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Halloween Safety Tips

The day before the Feast of All Saints (or All Hallows), Halloween has its origin in ancient Celtic traditions. By taking some precautions, it can be both fun and safe for children and adults.

Here are some Halloween safety tips, courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics:
  • Bright and reflective costumes (you can add reflective tape) make your little trick-or-treaters visible. Also, be sure shoes and costumes fit well so they don’t trip and fall.
  • Non-toxic makeup and decorative hats are alternatives to masks, which can obstruct children’s sight and limit awareness of their surroundings.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and prescription from an eye care professional. Doing so can cause pain, inflammation and serious eye disorders and infections, which could lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Teach children how to call 9-1-1 , if they have an emergency or become lost.
  • Use a flashlight or glow stick if out at night.
  • Clear obstructions in the front yard, walkway and porch, and make sure outdoor lighting is adequate to keep everyone safe.
  • Instead of candy, consider offering non-food items such as coloring books, pens or pencils to trick-or-treaters who come to your door.
  • Children should never enter someone’s home or car for a treat, and a parent or responsible adult should always accompany young trick-or-treaters.
  • Wait until children have returned home to sort and check treats. Although tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and discard any suspicious items.
To find a pediatrician or other physician, visit and go to “Find a Doctor”.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In October, women are reminded of the dangers of breast cancer, ways to identify it and what to do if they suspect or are diagnosed with cancer.  This disease isn’t something that should be limited to one month, but rather should be a way of life. There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself.

Women ages 20 and older should perform breast self-exams monthly.  The American Cancer Society provides a guide; click on the link below for an explanation on how you can correctly perform an exam. click here

Of course, a self-exam cannot be relied on alone.  Regular mammograms are key in the early detection and the fight against breast cancer. A mammogram is a diagnostic tool, which can detect breast cancer in its earliest stages, before a lump can be felt. Finding breast cancer early gives women the greatest chance of survival and the best treatment options.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) offers a Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool, which is an interactive tool designed by scientists at the NCI and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP).  It helps estimate a woman's risk of developing invasive breast cancer

Further, you should be aware of possible risk factors that can contribute to your risk of breast cancer.

The following are offered by the NCI:
  • Age
  • Age at the start of menstruation
  • Number of first-degree relatives (mother, sisters, daughters) with breast cancer
  • Number of previous breast biopsies (whether positive or negative)
  • At least one breast biopsy with atypical hyperplasia

CHS hospitals in Nassau and Suffolk offer comprehensive breast health services in a welcoming and supportive environment. Talk to a doctor about your risk for breast cancer. To learn more, call 1-855-CHS-4500 or visit to find a doctor.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fall Prevention Awareness Week. Ready, Steady, Balance: Prevent Falls in 2016

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one third of adults 65 and older fall each year, resulting in injuries or even death. To help prevent these occurrences at home, the CDC provides the following tips:
  • Ask someone to arrange your furniture to allow a clear path through each room.
  • Always keep objects off the floor.
  • Remove or secure throw rugs (with double-sided tape or a non-slip backing).
  • Coil or tape cords and wires next to the wall so you can’t trip over them.
  • If lighting is insufficient, have an electrician install an overhead light and wall switch at the top and bottom of the stairs.
  • Put a non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the floor of the tub or shower.
  • Use nightlights in hallways and other rooms.
  • Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about your medications to identify any that could make you sleepy or dizzy.
In an effort to prevent injuries resulting from falls, CHS continues to partner with the Suffolk County Health Department to offer a Fall Prevention Program across Long Island. Called Stepping On, the free seven-week program provides assessments and techniques to avoid falls at home or elsewhere.

“Working with the Suffolk County Department of Health, CHS has been afforded the opportunity for several of our key falls prevention staff members to become Stepping On trained leaders,” explained CHS Vice President of Care Management and Performance Improvement Anna ten Napel. “These trained leaders allow for an increased penetration of the Stepping On course in the community, achieving the goal of helping to better educate Long Islanders on ways to prevent falls and stay healthy at home.”

Please call 1-855-CHS-4500 for more information.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Adjusting to the School Routine

Whether your child is just beginning pre-K, has moved up a grade or is starting college, making the transition from summer vacation back to the school routine may be challenging. Instead of long summer days spent outdoors, students (and parents) must reorient to the hectic demands that come with the start of the school year. That means rising early, participating in classroom and after school programs, and completing homework.

Good nutrition, a quiet study area and a structured routine are essential for academic success. But most important is adequate sleep; without it, there may be poor cognitive performance, deficient physical ability and even behavioral issues. A study published in Science Translational Medicine (October 18, 2013) suggests that sleep purges the brain of toxins. Also, correlations have been drawn between sleep deprivation and weight gain, dulled memory and even life-threatening disease.

It’s common for teenagers to stay up late, have difficulty waking with the alarm clock and doze until noon on the weekends.  Adolescents often become “night owls” due to the lifestyle of this age group—with lots of homework and busy social lives—but another reason is a biological shift that occurs in the teenage years.

“Instead of feeling drowsy in the evening, teenagers actually tend to become more alert and have a hard time settling in to sleep, probably because melatonin is secreted later,” explained Dmitriy Vaysman, MD, director of Good Samaritan Hospital’s Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders. “In the morning, when people of other ages are awake and primed for the day, teenagers still have elevated melatonin levels and often feel groggy as a result. Many teens also feel drowsy in the middle of the day, regardless of their sleep habits.”

While the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night for adults, it advises at least 10 hours for school-age children and 9 to 10 hours for teenagers, noting that loss of sleep adds up in what is referred to as sleep debt. To stay healthy, students must get their rest each night, with a set bedtime.

“For teens, limiting screen time in the evening is important, since the blue light emitted by screens on electronic devices can send alerting signals to the brain,” Dr. Vaysman said. “It’s also helpful to try to maintain a similar sleep/wake schedule on weekdays and weekends/holidays. If a teenager is excessively sleepy despite what seems to be a full night’s rest, his or her doctor should be consulted for more guidance.”

For more information on a sleep center near you visit or call 1-855-CHS-4500.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hurricane Safety Tips

This time of year tropical storms and hurricanes build along the coast line. Hurricanes are strong storms that have the potential to be life threatening, which is why it’s good to prepare in advance. The following is a list of helpful tips and procedures to prepare you and your family’s safety before and during a storm.

Be Ready:
  • Stock up on emergency supplies such as food, first aid kits, and medicine for your home and car.
  • Write down emergency phone numbers and keep them near every phone in your house or on the refrigerator.
  • Know where the nearest shelter is and the different routes you can take to get there if you leave your home.
  • Create and practice a hurricane evacuation plan with family members. Visit the CDC’s website to learn more:
If a hurricane is likely in your area:
  • Listen to the radio to keep informed.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off utilities, if told to do so.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.
  • Find out how to keep food safe during and after an emergency.
  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors,secure and brace external doors.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Avoid elevators.

Visit The Centers for Disease Control and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for more tips you and your family can use in the event of a hurricane.

Please visit or call 1-855-CHS-4500.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Natural Family Planning Awareness Week

Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week is July 24th – 30th, 2016. “Natural Family Planning. Love, Mercy, Life. Opening the Heart of Marriage” is the theme of this year's celebratory week, featuring a national educational campaign of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The goal is to celebrate God’s vision for marriage and promote the methods of Natural Family Planning.

NFP is a term for the safe, natural and effective method of both achieving and avoiding pregnancy. These modern methods teach couples how to monitor and understand a woman’s signs of fertility and infertility.  With this knowledge the couple can determine, each and every day, whether they might at that time achieve a pregnancy or not.

Catholic Health Services recently launched the Gianna of Long Island Center for Women’s Health & Fertility, in collaboration with the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The Center offers NFP training in addition to highly specialized restorative reproductive medicine. This innovative program was inspired by St. Gianna Beretta Molla, a wife, mother and physician who heroically chose to risk her own life to save her unborn child.

“NFP Week is a great chance to celebrate marriage and the awesome power to join with God in the creation of a new person,” said Paul Carpentier, MD, CFCMC, medical director, Gianna of Long Island Center for Women’s Health & Fertility at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, of Catholic Health Services. “Our professional, female, FertilityCare™ teachers, located across the diocese, are pleased to support the couple, in a very special way, in their privileged ministry to raise a family.”

Want to learn more about your different natural options?
Using the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System, a woman relies upon the standardized observation and charting of biological markers that are essential to understanding a woman’s health and fertility. These biomarkers tell the couple when they are naturally fertile women and infertile, thus allowing the couple to use the system either to achieve or to avoid pregnancy.

Are you interested in learning how the Creighton Model System approaches infertility?
Understand how to observe and chart your hormonal activity.

Is your cycle healthy?  
Learn how to know. Be equipped to identify your patterns and to know when to seek medical support and care.

Learn how to monitor your cycle. These biomarkers also identify abnormalities in a women’s health. The system lays the foundation for a new medical science that seeks to evaluate and treat reproductive issues by identifying the root cause of issues such as infertility, repetitive miscarriage, PCOS, hormonal imbalance, migraines, acne, PMS and many more.

To learn more about the Gianna of Long Island Center for Women’s Health & Fertility, visit

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Suffering from Seasonal Allergies?

Due to spring’s late start, many Long Islanders may have forgotten to take seasonal preventative steps to avoid irritating allergy symptoms.  Now that spring is here, blossoming flowers and trees, and of course, seasonal allergies are here as well. A runny nose and watery eyes are no fun, but there are ways to deal with your allergies and control symptoms.

“Sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, itchy-watery eyes, are the initial signs of an allergic reaction. Due to a longer than usual winter in the Northeast, allergy season was delayed a few weeks,” explained Louis Guida, MD, FCCP, allergist on staff at St. Charles Hospital. “The pollens are now in full bloom. One must remember an allergen is an irritant that causes an inflammatory process leading to some of the previously mentioned symptoms.”

How can you reduce the discomfort?
  • Take antihistamines immediately to help manage and prevent allergy symptoms, such as inflammations and sinus infections.
  • Use a saline solution or neti pot to cleanse nasal passages and rinse away allergens that stick to membranes in the nose, to prevent inflammation in the sinus passages and respiratory tissues. 
  • More over-the-counter (OTC) sprays and other remedies are available, including some that previously required a prescription. Do not over use them, as that can cause irritation and bleeding. Also, they can have significant side effects, including, but not limited to, hypertension and prostate enlargement. Please check with your health care provider prior to taking OTCs.
  • If you are experiencing any signs of sinusitis, asthma or upper respiratory tract infections, or if sneezing symptoms persist, consult your doctor. If you are prescribed allergy medications, please use only as directed.
  • Plan for good health: It’s recommended that sufferers know their allergens. Ask your doctor to test to find out what you’re allergic to, so you can take medication before symptoms begin. This usually helps allergy sufferers feel better throughout the changing seasons.

If you need a family practitioner, please visit or call 1-855-CHS-4500.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Volunteers Provide Extraordinary Service

Catholic Health Services (CHS) is blessed with almost 3,000 dedicated and talented volunteers throughout Nassau and Suffolk. The annual observance of National Volunteer Week allows CHS to pay tribute to these extraordinary individuals, who collectively donate thousands of hours of service each year to the system. Their efforts help to sustain our work and benefit those we serve all year round.

CHS volunteers come from all walks of life—students, retirees, homemakers and professionals—and provide a multitude of services, including comforting patients, organizing fund raisers, staffing gift shops or assisting with administrative projects. Whether they are junior volunteers or seasoned veterans, they share a profound commitment to helping others.

Contributing their time and skills, volunteers enhance the patient experience and support the delivery of health services in our communities. Their enthusiasm and hard work are valued and appreciated by our organization.

If you or anyone you know would like to learn more about volunteering at a CHS facility near you, please call 1 (855) CHS-4500.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

High Reliability in Patient Care

In industries such as aviation and nuclear energy, even small flaws or errors can result in disasters. The “high reliability” approach was developed to avert these occurrences. A growing number of hospitals and health care systems are also using high reliability concepts to help ensure safety, quality and efficiency. Creating a culture and processes that radically reduce system failures and effectively respond when failures do occur is the goal of every high reliability organization (HRO).

“Patients rely on hospitals and caregivers to offer consistently high-quality care,” explained CHS’s Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer Patrick M. O’Shaughnessy, DO. “Under the leadership of The Joint Commission, health care providers across the nation are applying the methodologies of HROs.”

At the core of HROs are five key concepts, which are believed to be essential for any improvement initiative to succeed:

Sensitivity to operations: Preserving constant awareness by leaders and staff of the state of the systems and processes that affect patient care is key to identifying potential risks and preventing them.

Reluctance to simplify: Simple processes are good, but simplistic explanations for why things work or fail are risky.

Preoccupation with failure: Near-misses are viewed as evidence of systems that should be improved.

Deference to expertise: Leaders and supervisors must be willing to listen and respond to the insights of staff who know how specific processes really work in order to have a culture in which high reliability is possible.

Resilience: Leaders and staff need to be trained and prepared to know how to respond when system failures do occur.

“These concepts are taught to all our staff, and in health care we specifically focus on maintaining a culture of safety,” said Dr. O’Shaughnessy.

Visit or call 1-855-CHS-4500 for information about services in Nassau and Suffolk.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Eating Your Way to Heart Health

Good nutrition is essential to wellness. This is especially true when it comes to fighting cardiovascular disease. Along with other choices we make in our daily routine, diet is key to maintaining heart health.

The core message of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020  [] remains consistent with previous editions issued since the effort was launched in 1980. However, note that the ban on cholesterol has been lifted! In general, it is recommended that we eat more fruits and vegetables, choose lean meats and low-fat dairy foods, and limit trans fat.

To optimize your heart health, it’s helpful to eat more whole plant foods and include lean and plant-based proteins, while decreasing refined foods, especially those that contain added sugar and sodium. Also, at least half of all grains in your diet should be whole grains, with a shift toward higher fiber foods.

Eating your way to heart health is only part of the solution to protect your heart. It’s also important to practice weight management, exercise regularly and live a healthy lifestyle. Other suggestions: manage stress, do not smoke, have a positive attitude and do not drink excessive alcohol.

Olive oil, 4 tbsp/dayNuts, 1oz/day
Vegetables, 2 or more servings/day
Fruits, 3 or more servings/day
Legumes, 3 servings/week
Fish, 3 servings/week
Chicken or turkey instead of red meat
Wine, 1 small glass/day (optional)

Consume less:
Red and processed meat
Butter, margarine and cream
Grain-based desserts and pastries

Here’s a great heart-healthy variation on a classic dish, pasta primavera. For more healthy living recipes, go to

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Be Good to Your Heart

With the annual observance of St. Valentine’s Day having just been celebrated on the 14th of this month, it’s appropriate that February is also American Heart Month. This is a good time to start leading a heart-healthy lifestyle. According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA), 80% of heart disease and stroke events are preventable.

The following are risk factors for heart disease and related conditions:
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity

Here are some tips from the AHA:

CHS offers a full range of cardiovascular services. To learn more, call 1-855-CHS-4500 for your free Services Guide booklet.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Feeling Blue This Winter?

Shorter days and less natural light make winter trying for many. Some are affected more than others experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a mood disorder associated with depression related to seasonal variations of light. It affects half a million people every winter between September and April, peaking in December, January and February. The “Winter Blues” a milder form of SAD, may affect even more people (

Signs of SAD:
  • Change in behavior or feeling depressed when there is less light, during the winter months or in light-deficient locations
  • Sluggishness or inability to function
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • A reduced ability to handle stress
  • Not finding pleasure in otherwise enjoyable events
  • A change in appetite. Either increased or no appetite

 “People who have noticed these symptoms at least twice in their lives should go for a consultation,” commented Ronald Brenner, MD, chief of CHS’s behavioral health services and director of psychiatry at Mercy Medical Center. “Assistance can be fairly simple; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

SAD may be alleviated through:
  • Exercise— not only beneficial in itself but also gets someone with SAD outdoors or into well-lit indoor environments
  • A well-balanced diet to counter cravings for sweets or starches
  • Stress management techniques, including mindfulness—in-the-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, sensations and immediate surroundings—and meditation
  • Psychotherapy
  • Antidepressants, including buproprion, may be prescribed before winter begins, for patients with severe depression 
  • Travel to warm, sunny regions
  • Light therapy“Patients respond to light therapy, either from natural outdoor light or using one of the many light boxes available in the marketplace,” explained Dr. Brenner. “White light is believed to be better than blue, and both fluorescent and LED-based light boxes have been found to be effective.”

Mercy’s outpatient clinic in Garden City offers psychotherapy and other expert services to address mood disturbances such as SAD, as well as treatment for a wide range of mental and behavioral health issues. For information on this and other resources or to find a doctor near you, visit or call 1-855-CHS-4500.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Help Save Lives. Donate Today.

January is National Blood Donor Month, when we  recognize the contributions blood and platelet donors make to patients and to health care to help save lives.

The winter storms cause cancellations and the ability for people to make donations. National Donor Month is a reminder that the inclement weather can threaten hospital’s blood supplies and availability for patients. Winter Storm Jonas recently dumped 20+ inches of snow, making collections even more of a challenge.

Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be given every seven days and up to 24 times a year. Anyone between the ages of 17 and 75 who is in good health and weighs at least 110 pounds can donate blood. Healthy individuals 75 and older can donate blood, if they present written permission from their physician obtained within two weeks of their donation.

To find a blood drive or donation center near you, visit

If you need a family practitioner, please visit or call 1-855-CHS-4500.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Teaming Up to Keep Student Athletes Safe

Through our ThinkSmart!™ Concussion Management program, originally launched in 2010 at St. Charles Hospital, CHS is working to keep student athletes safe. Collaborating with more than 41 school districts across Long Island, ThinkSmart! offers baseline testing, community education, specialized treatments and rehabilitation for student athletes and other individuals at risk of or who have sustained concussion, a common but serious traumatic brain injury (TBI). ThinkSmart! was developed to help prevent concussion and safely return athletes to the field, when an injury has occurred.

“Concussion recovery is extremely variable, which is why we provide each patient with a personalized treatment and recovery plan,” said Dr. Jennifer Gray, co-director of the ThinkSmart! Concussion Program at St. Charles Hospital. “It is important to ensure complete recovery of our student athletes prior to return to sports to prevent potentially severe consequences, as well as to avoid long lasting cognitive and physical effects.”

To date, approximately 30,000 students have received neurocognitive baseline testing through this program. The ThinkSmart! team of clinicians from St. Charles and Good Samaritan includes emergency medicine physicians, neurologists, physical medicine/rehabilitation physicians, orthopedic physicians, neuropsychologists, nurses and physical therapists who work with student athletes and their families. Visit and click through the “ThinkSmart! Concussion Management” link under “Services”/”Neuroscience” to learn more.

For a free copy of our Services Guide booklet, call 1-855-CHS-4500 or visit