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10 Ways to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Whether you’re at the mall, at a party, or on a train or plane, you can stop yourself from getting sick and out of shape. Learn the easy ways to stay well all season long.

Beat germs, stay well

The holidays are one time of the year when you really want to feel your best. But they’re also a minefield of health woes, from cold and flu bugs to party hangovers.

Beyond getting the flu vaccine, there’s a lot you can do to help your body weather the season. This is how to keep healthy—and merry—as you shop, travel, and celebrate.

Wipe away germs

Before you settle in for the flight (or train or bus ride), run disinfecting wipes over the armrests, the tray table and latch, the air vent, and your seatbelt buckle, and let air-dry. “Clean anything you might touch so you don’t pick up germs that those who sat there before you left behind,” says Amy Nichols, RN, director of infection control at University of California San Francisco Medical Center.

Indeed, studies done at the University of Arizona in Tucson have turned up flu virus—and even the antibiotic-resistant bacteria MRSA—on airline tray tables. “From what we can tell from our results, no one ever disinfects those things,” adds environmental microbiologist Charles Gerba, PhD.

Stay hydrated

Low humidity at high altitudes makes plane cabin air dry—and our airways more vulnerable to viruses and bacteria, says Marc Leavey, MD, primary care physician at Lutherville Personal Physicians in Lutherville, Maryland.

Staying well-hydrated keeps those mucous membranes moist so they can better keep bugs out of our systems. Down 8 ounces of water for every hour you’re in the air. Yes, that probably means using the plane’s germy lavatory (take your wipes!), but colds and flu are such monsters that you’re better off drinking than going dry.

Cruise the aisle

Once that “fasten your seatbelt” sign goes off, be sure to get up and move around to prevent deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), the formation of blood clots in your legs that can result from sitting immobile for long periods. (DVT can be life-threatening if a clot breaks off and travels to the lungs.)

To avoid it, move around the cabin every 60 to 90 minutes. And if you tend to get clots, talk with your doctor about support hose.

Watch your hands

Pack an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in your purse, and use it regularly. “The germs on your hands are the single biggest threat to your health, any time of year,” Dr. Leavey says.

That’s because cold viruses tend to spread more from hand-to-mouth contact than through airborne droplets, making mall doors, escalator rails, elevator buttons, and ATM touch screens virus central.

Stop for a rubdown

Try a chair at the massage kiosk or salon: In a study at Cedars–Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, a single Swedish massage session lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol and boosted several types of white blood cells, which protect the body against germs.

Only have 10 minutes to spare? Says study leader Mark Rapaport, MD: “I suspect some massage is better than none.”

Say no to treats

Don’t fall into the “I deserve this treat!” trap. Yes, strolling around the mall is good exercise. That said, we tend to overestimate just how many calories we burn when we shop, says Cris Slentz, PhD, exercise physiologist and assistant professor of medicine at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. “At most you burn 150 calories an hour if you weigh 150 pounds, and that’s a pretty generous estimate,” he says.

Reality check: You’d have to walk for six hours to burn off a Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Roll. Resist! Resist!

Snack wisely

Speaking of Cinnabon, “packing healthy snacks in your bag helps you fight temptation,” says New York City registered dietitian Ilyse Schapiro, RD. Her recommended take-alongs: a piece of fruit, low-fat string cheese, an ounce of nuts, a whole-wheat pita stuffed with turkey, low-fat Greek yogurt, or a granola bar (look for brands with about 150 calories, no more than 10 grams of sugar, and at least 3 grams of fiber).

Stay in, rest up

If you run yourself ragged and don’t get a good night’s sleep, you risk getting ill just because you’ve worn down your body’s defenses,” Dr. Leavey says. A study in theArchives of Internal Medicine found that people who slept at least eight hours nightly were about three times less likely to catch a cold than those who snoozed for less than seven.

You’re not being a Grinch by skipping a party when you feel worn-down; you’re being smart. Think of it as preventive medicine. “We know to wash our hands and drink lots of liquids. Reducing stress is another way to avoid getting ill,” notes Chicago psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD.

Prevent overeating

We’d never tell you to pass up tasty holiday fare, but if you’re feeling bloated after too many nights of baked Brie, try this simple party trick: Pop gum in your mouth 15 minutes before hitting the buffet table. “Chewing gum tricks your brain into thinking you’re eating, so you actually eat less,” says clinical psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD, author of Eating Mindfully.

Downing a mint in between servings can help, too: “It gives your body time to get a read on whether you are full or not,” Albers says.

Have a drink (but not too many!)

Mulled wine. Eggnog. Pomegranate martinis. When you’re at a party, try to limit yourself to two and alternate them with glasses of water to avoid a crushing hangover the morning after. “If we don’t eat before we drink, that can throw off blood sugar,” leading to next-day weariness, adds Steven Feinleib, MD, a staff physician in preventive medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. (Any food will do to help absorb alcohol.)

If you wake up with a throbbing head, down some water, pop a pain reliever like ibuprofen, and sleep!

SOURCE: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20648861,00.html


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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Dear Patients:

Our patients, employees and family are our top priority at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

We ask you to not visit any of our locations if you have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and possible shortness of breath.

Please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once you are feeling better and are no longer suffering with symptoms.

Only non-symptomatic patients will be seen. No exceptions.

Accompanying family members – including children – are asked to remain in the waiting area and will not be allowed to enter the exam rooms.

During this time of high concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are taking extra precautions to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and cleanliness. Please be advised that we are carefully following recommendations from both the CDC and WHO and are here to help guide you through this time if needed.

Some steps we are taking to keeping safe:

  1. We know how important cleanliness is and always maintain the highest standards of cleanliness. To further offer you peace of mind, we have increased the frequency of the cleaning of our office.
  2. Rest assured that hand washing is strictly followed. Hand sanitizer is available to all staff and patients.
  3. Additionally, if you have recently traveled to a country with high rates of the coronavirus or have been on a cruise, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your return date. We will gladly accommodate your needs to reschedule. At that time, a telehealth interface can be arranged if necessary.

Find up-to-date and accurate information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and feel free to reach out with questions.

- Your team at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

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