brings reminders of life awakening about us. The longer days bring
us outdoors and the warmer weather gets us moving. As we shed our
winter clothing and start the tasks of fixing up the house, planting
in the garden and changing the oil in the car, we need to give some
thought to maintenance of our health. We remember to fertilize our
lawns, change the oil, store the winter clothing, but sometimes
forget that good health can't be taken for granted.
The NYC Department of Health and Mental Health have outlined
10 important steps to improve health. These steps, incorporated
into your life and the lives of your loved ones, can give you an
action plan to stay healthy.
- Have a regular doctor or health care provider.
Don't wait until you are ill to see your doctor. Utilize the visit
with your doctor to discuss concerns, family history of illness,
health habits and to ask questions about your health. Episodic
care through emergency rooms visits does not provide the continuity
with a health care professional.
Tobacco-Free. The single most important health decision
you can make is to stop smoking. Exposure to second hand smoke
also puts your health at risk. In the hours after you stop smoking,
improvements in blood pressure, breathing and circulation are
seen. Quitting smoking lowers risks of heart disease, stroke and
cancer. Children of smokers have increased respiratory risks and
also are more likely to become smokers themselves.
- Keep Your Heart Healthy
by addressing the issues of blood pressure control, weight and
cholesterol. As a nation ,we have gained weight. Children as well
as adults have become couch potatoes with super-sized portions.
Maintaining or losing weight requires dietary changes accompanied
by an exercise program. The ideal exercise prescription includes
a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity
at least four days a week. Learn to read food labels and develop
strategies to incorporate at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables
into your daily diet.
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- Know Your HIV status. Getting tested can put
your concerns to rest. But avoiding risky behaviors and using
protection to prevent exposure on each and every encounter remains
- Get help for Depression. Depression is a treatable
condition. Although we may seek help for a cold and sore throat,
we remain reluctant to address the very real symptoms of depression.
Depression will be made worse by alcohol and drug abuse. Making
that first step and seeking help for yourself or family members
is often the most difficult but most worthwhile.
free of dependence on Alcohol and Drugs. Abuse of alcohol
and drugs, whether prescription or non prescription, impacts on
individual health as well as family and work health and life.
Treatment plans are available to get help with these substances.
Again recognizing that abuse is the first step in getting help.
- Get checked for cancer. For all people over
fifty and people with increased family risks, getting a colonoscopy
to look for colon cancer is recommended. For men over 50 or with
a family history, blood testing for PSA can detect prostate cancer
in an earlier stage. Women should get PAP smears at regular intervals.
Women over forty should get regular mammograms to detect breast
cancer. Any person who finds a lump in their breast (male or female)
should get it checked. Skin surveillance and showing changes in
the skin to your doctor will also address skin cancers. Prevention
of cancer begins with protecting the skin from sun exposure.
- Keep your immunizations updated. Shots are
not just for kids. Ensuring that your children are immunized is
important as is ensuring that your immunizations are maintained.
Hepatitis B immunizations, flu vaccine, tetanus boosters are important
adult immunizations. Flu vaccine is offered every fall.
your home safe and healthy. Take an assessment of your
home environment. Are your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide
detectors in working order? Each family needs to practice leaving
the house in a fire or other emergency. Discussing a plan is a
family activity that may save lives.
- Have a healthy baby. Planning pregnancy can
help ensure a healthy mother and healthy baby. Preparing for a
healthy baby includes avoiding drugs, not smoking and good nutrition.
Multivitamins including folic acid can prevent birth defects.
Good health cannot be assured
but preventable causes of illness and disease can be addressed.
The commitment to good health habits starts with each individual.
The benefits are very real. Start today to incorporate good health
practices into your life.
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The Annual Medical remains an important part of health maintenance.
On that day members receive needed immunizations, get TB testing
with the PPD skin test and undergo medical testing. This testing
can be helpful in the detection of medical problems that could pose
a threat to good health.
Also members receive needed training, mandated by OSHA, in the area
of blood borne pathogen training and right to know training. Mask
fit testing is also done on the annual medical day. The current
schedule provides a medical examination at a 15 month interval.
Members on medical leave or light duty who have not had an annual
medical examination in over two years will be scheduled for a medical
when the member is on light duty or ready to return to full duty.
Members will be placed on light duty and receive a medical evaluation.
The member will then be returned to full duty or remain on light
duty if the member is unable to return to full duty.
The member assigned to light duty will be directed to BHS to report
for a complete medical evaluation including the complete educational
The annual medical day has been instrumental in detecting unknown
medical problems. Addressing health concerns can be accomplished
through this medical process.
Stay well, stay safe.
WTC Medical Monitoring
Details to Follow
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Dr. Kerry Kelly
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. David Prezant
Deputy Chief Medical Officer
Director, FDNY CSU
Mary T. McLaughlin
Director, FDNY BHS