Josyann Abisaab: Avoid Heat Stroke This Summer

With the advent of summer the possibility of suffering from heat stroke increases. Over exertion in hot, humid weather when not staying properly hydrated can lead to heat stroke, which is a medical emergency.

Heat stroke is a kind of hyperthermia, when the body temperature becomes elevated. This happens when the body is not able to regulate its temperature properly, either because the cooling mechanism of evaporation of sweat is hampered, due to extreme heat and humidity causing the body temperature to rise dangerously, sometimes to as much as 106 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another contributing factor to heat stroke is dehydration, so it is important to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, when exercising or otherwise exerting yourself outside on hot, humid days.

Some signs and symptoms of heat stroke are:

• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Fatigue
• Dizziness
• Weakness
• Headache
• Muscle Cramps

Sometimes individuals can get heat stroke without warning and without showing signs in advance.

Other things to look for in someone who you suspect may have heat stroke:

• high body temperature
• the absence of sweating, with hot red or flushed dry skin
• rapid pulse
• difficulty breathing
• strange behavior
• hallucinations
• confusion
• agitation
• disorientation
• seizure
• coma

Heatstroke is a true medical emergency, and should be dealt with immediately. If you suspect someone is suffering from heatstroke do the following:

• Take steps to cool the victim: Take him into the shade, take off clothing, place cool or lukewarm water on the skin, you can use a garden hose to gently spray the victim, fan the sufferer to encourage evaporation, and place ice into the armpits and on the groin.
• Encourage the intake of cool liquids such as water or other drinks which do not contain caffeine or alcohol.
• Observe body temperature and continue the cooling steps until the temperature drops down to 101 or 102 Fahrenheit. (38.3 – 38.8 Celsius)
• Call 911 as soon as the heat stroke is detected. If they will be delayed they can help you with instructions for how to help the victim further.

Emergency room doctors such as Josyann Abisaab, MD see many victims of heat stroke all summer long. Keep cool, drink a lot, and you will hopefully be able to avoid such an emergency.

Avoiding the ER: Wrist Fractures

ER doctors such as Dr. Josyann Abisaab often encounter unpleasant, remarkably painful and slow-healing injuries. One of the most common is a wrist or elbow fracture. People occasionally lose their balance or are knocked over while participating in a physical activity like skiing or mountain biking. Instinctually, they put out a hand or two to break their fall. This can easily result in a major gash or fracture which could take weeks or even months to heal properly. Occasionally physical therapy is needed, too. Sometimes the hand goes behind the body to break a backwards fall, which can result in an elbow injury as well.

There are a few things that can be done in advance to prevent such injuries:

1.       Train your instincts. Practice falling on a safer surface, and train yourself to react by tucking in your chin and rolling with the initial impact. If you can, try to fall on the back of your shoulder as this is a strong area of your body.

2.       Practice regaining your balance in a quick manner. Use a bike, or think of other ways to flex your balance muscles.

3.       It is important to wear a helmet and wrist guards. They may seem foolish, but they really can make a significant difference in a fall.

Halloween Safety Tips: Dr. Josyann Abisaab

Halloween is approaching, and already people can feel the excitement as they choose their costumes, make plans with trick-or-treat companions, and select pumpkins for their jack-o lanterns. Everyone is anticipating this fun, candy-filled night. Many ER doctors such as Dr. Josyann Abisaab and others have seen Halloween accidents first-hand, and, while Halloween night is certainly an exciting experience, parents are encouraged to be aware of the possible accidents that can occur.

The careful behavior should begin at home; children should not be allowed to carve pumpkins on their own. Pumpkin carvers, adults as well, should make sure to use a carving knife instead of a regular kitchen knife, so that their movements can be smoother and more controlled, even while cutting through the pumpkin’s thick skin. Also, make sure the handle of the knife is dry before it is used, to avoid slipping. If a cut on a finger or hand does occur, raise the area above the heart and apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. If the bleeding persists, a visit to the ER might be necessary.

Josyann Abisaab and Award for Service

Dr. Josyann Abisaab was recently presented with an award “for devoting 20 years to helping establish and nurture Emergency Medicine as a clinical and academic specialty.”  This is not the first time the MD has received an award for her dedication and services.  In 2009 Abisaab was likewise awarded a citation for two decades of service in medicine.  This was connected to her work at Weill Cornell Medical College and at that time, the college’s dean, Dean Gotto, was pictured with her at the ceremony.  In June 2010 however, the award was presented at the New York Presbyterian Residency Graduation Ceremony.

Summer Safety Precautions: Dr. Josyann Abisaab

During the summer, there are a number of “typical” accidents that emergency room physicians like Josyann Abisaab see repeatedly.  Planning ahead and paying attention to these danger areas can help to limit your exposure to the E.R. this summer.

Outdoor grills cause a great deal of accidents during the warmer months.  It’s important for the grill to be thoroughly cleaned before it is used and for all tubes leading into the burner to be checked before usage.  Don’t use the grill in a closed area such as a garage, carport or porch, or near a surface that can catch fire.

Drowning is, unfortunately, a common issue during the summer months.  Avoid alcohol when swimming or boating and wear a lifejacket if you are going onto a boat.  Keep your eye on your children at all times around water and never let anyone that you know swim alone.  Certainly, all children should be taught to swim when they are old enough to do so.