Granting wishes for pediatric patients

Art kits and music toys and meal cards for snacks – these are a few of their favorite things! Children in the hospital always need some extra TLC, and you can help Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital lift their spirits with the 10th annual Wish Book. The book lists items that are urgently needed by the Children’s Hospital, from small toys to programs that help our youngest patients and their families cope during hospital stays throughout the year. To receive your copy of the Wish Book, send an email to giving@ynhh.org or view it and donate items online.

Got those winter blues?

Fighting the winter blues? You aren’t alone. Many people report feeling sad or depressed during the winter months, and approximately 3 percent of Connecticut residents experience such significant changes in mood and behavior that it affects their quality of life.

This winter depression is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Symptoms of SAD include:

  • depressed mood and fatigue
  • carbohydrate cravings, especially for sweets and/or starches
  • increased appetite and/or weight gain
  • oversleeping or difficulty waking up in the morning
  • reduced work productivity
  • withdrawal from social activities

Symptoms of SAD usually appear gradually, beginning in September and last through March or April. Research suggests that SAD may affect as many as 11 million people in the United States. Women are more likely to suffer from SAD, and it tends to run in families.

How is SAD treated? According to Paul Desan, MD, PhD, a clinical psychiatrist at YNHH and director of the Winter Depression Clinic, exposure to bright light in the morning is an effective therapy for SAD. Dr. Desan recommends treatment with a 10,000 lux light box for 30 - 45 minutes before 8 am, including weekends. “Light therapy can reverse the effects of winter for most people with SAD,” he said.

If you are over 65, have any eye diseases or diabetes, or are taking any photosensitizing drugs, you should talk to your doctor or consult with an ophthalmologist before starting light treatment.

There’s still time to get a flu shot

If you've ever had the flu, you know how sick you can get. Don’t be misled by some of the common misconceptions about the flu vaccine.

  • FACT: If you are 65 or older, you are at higher risk for complications from the flu.
    There were more than 80,000 flu-related deaths in the United States last winter. Nine out of 10 deaths from the flu each year are people older than age 65. There is a high-dose vaccine for people 65 years and older. Ask your doctor about it if you are over 65.
  • FACT: You can’t catch the flu from the vaccine.
    The flu shot is made from an inactivated (dead) virus that can't transmit infection. People who get sick after receiving a flu vaccination were going to get sick anyway. It takes a week or two to benefit from the protection of the vaccine. But people assume that because they got sick after getting the vaccine, the flu shot caused their illness. The most common side effects from a flu shot are soreness where the shot was given and maybe a slight fever or achiness.
  • FACT: Healthy people still need to be vaccinated.
    While it's especially important for people who have a chronic illness to get the flu shot, anyone — even healthy folks — can benefit from being vaccinated. Current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend yearly vaccination against influenza for everyone older than 6 months, including pregnant women.
  • FACT: You need to get a flu shot every year.
    Each year's flu virus is usually slightly different from the past year's virus. That’s why the flu vaccine is updated each year to include the most current strains of the influenza virus. A new vaccine each year gives you with the latest, up-to-date protection.
  • FACT: It’s not too late to get a flu shot.
    Flu is unpredictable and seasons can vary. Vaccination can be beneficial as long as flu viruses are circulating. Seasonal flu disease usually peaks between December and March, but the disease can occur as late as May.

Do you need a referral for a physician? YNHH provides free information about more than 2,600 affiliated physicians 24 hours a day. Call 888-700-6543 or use our website's Find a Doctor feature for information on physician specialties, office hours and locations as well as insurance plans accepted.

Know the signs of lung cancer

Lung cancer causes the most cancer deaths worldwide, but people often don’t experience symptoms in its early stages. In fact, many lung cancers do not cause symptoms until they have already spread. Common symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • Cough that doesn’t go away or gets worse over time
  • Chest pain, which might be worse when coughing or breathing in deeply
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored mucus
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hoarseness
  • Wheezing
  • Appetite loss or unexpected weight loss
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Pneumonia or bronchitis occurring more than usual
  • Shoulder pain
  • Swelling in the face and arms

Some symptoms can be caused by lung cancer spreading to other parts of the body:

  • Bone pain
  • Yellowing of skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Headache, seizures or confusion
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck
  • Drooping eyelid

Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. Men who smoke are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer than those who don’t smoke, and women smokers are 13 times more likely to develop the disease than their non-smoking counterparts. Overall, between 80 and 90 percent of lung cancers in the United States are considered to be caused by smoking.

If you're having trouble trying to quit smoking, there is a good reason. Studies show that smoking can be harder to quit than opiates, cocaine or alcohol. But the effort is worth it. Tobacco is this country's most preventable cause of death and disease. Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven offers a “quit smoking” program to support you in the process. To find out more about the service, or to schedule a consultation, please contact the Tobacco Treatment Service at 203-688-1378 or send an email to quitsmoking@ynhh.org.

Infant/child CPR class for parents, grandparents

Children are unpredictable, and accidents can happen despite our best efforts to prevent them. That’s why it’s important that everyone who cares for children — including grandparents — knows what to do in an emergency. Every month, YNHH offers an “Infant/Child CPR” class for expectant or new parents, grandparents, family and friends. The four-hour course covers the basics using a video and skills station. Several sessions of the class are offered at various times on Dec. 14, Jan. 11 and Jan. 26 at YNHH Saint Raphael Campus, 1450 Chapel St., New Haven. Register online by clicking on the desired date in the event calendar. Fee for the class is $50 per person.

Do you need a physiatrist?

Don’t confuse physiatry with psychiatry. The words may look the same at first glance, but the two medical specialties are very different. Physical medicine and rehabilitation, also called physiatry, deals with the evaluation and treatment of patients with a disease, disorder or injury that impairs normal function. Physiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in non-surgical treatment of musculoskeletal issues that cause chronic and acute pain. Typical conditions include:

  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Hip, knee, shoulder and ankle pain
  • Work- and sports-related injuries
  • Brain or spinal cord injuries

Treatment focuses on helping the patient become as functional and pain-free as possible. Physiatrists may prescribe a combination of medication, physical and occupational therapy, ergonomic and gait aids and image-guided treatments. Physiatry offers multidisciplinary care aimed at the recovery of the whole person by addressing physical, emotional, vocational and social needs.

YNHH offers physiatry services at several convenient outpatient locations:

  • North Haven Medical Center, 6 Devine St., North Haven. Specialty services include both Physiatry (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation) and Orthopedics. To make an appointment for a consulation, call 203-688-9262.  
  • Old Saybrook Medical Center, 633 Middlesex Turnpike, Old Saybrook. In addition to Physiatry, specialty services at this location include Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology. To make an appointment for a consultation, call 860-388-8300.  

Referrals for physicians and surgeons

YNHH provides free information about and referrals to more than 2,600 affiliated physicians 24 hours a day. Call 888-700-6543 or visit our Find a Doctor feature on the hospital website for information on physician specialties, office hours and locations as well as insurance plans accepted. YNHH physicians represent more than 70 medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties, including internal medicine/family practice, obstetrics/gynecology, orthopedics, pediatrics and psychiatry. 

Free blood pressure screenings

More than half of all Americans over 60 have high blood pressure — and many more are at risk of developing it, according to statistics from the American Heart Association. YNHH offers free blood pressure screenings at many community sites. Call 203-789-3275 for a list of locations and times or for more information.

Need blood work? We’re in your neighborhood

When your physician orders blood work or you need to schedule a blood test, Yale New Haven Health makes it easy with blood draw stations conveniently located in your community. No appointment is necessary and all major insurance plans are accepted.

Please note: A requisition form is required. Our blood draw stations honor requisitions from other labs.

Find a location that's convenient on this list of blood draw locations on our website.

What would you like to know?

Want to learn more about a particular health topic or service? Questions about classes and events at YNHH? We want to hear from you! Tell us what you like about Advancing Care or send suggestions for improvement or changes. Email us and let us know how we can better serve your health needs.

YNHHS patients:  Do you have MyChart?

MyChart gives Yale New Haven Health System patients secure, online, 24/7 access to portions of your electronic medical record (EMR). There you can see your medical history, most laboratory and test results, appointment information, medications, allergies, immunizations and other health information. You can schedule appointments with your doctor, request or renew prescriptions, see your billing and insurance information and send and receive secure, confidential electronic messages with your doctor’s office. Sign up by using the activation code on the after-visit summary from your doctor, request a MyChart Activation Code at your next appointment or visit the MyChart website and click “New User?”

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Make a lasting impact at YNHH

Help support the mission of Yale New Haven Hospital with a donation! Your contributions support vital programs, services and facilities within the hospital and help keep Yale New Haven at the forefront of innovative treatment. When you make a gift to YNHH, you are part of the advanced medicine and compassionate commitment that touch so many lives in our community.

Billing questions?

Yale New Haven Hospital offers financial counseling to patients and families. Spanish-speaking counselors are available. Additionally, evening sessions are scheduled once a month — the next two are Monday, Dec. 16 and Tuesday, Jan. 22 from 5 - 7 pm. To make an appointment with a financial counselor, call 203-688-2046.