Winter 2014

December 23, 2014



Plaza Family Care, P.C. is pleased to announce the addition of Unnati Tailor, D.O. to our Medicine staff. Dr. Tailor received her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, Old Westbury, NY and her Bachelor’s Degree in Science from New York of Technology, Old Westbury, NY. Dr. Tailor completed her Internship and Residency at Christ Hospital/UMDNJ-SOM, Jersey City, NJ. She is Board Certified in Family Medicine and will be caring for adult patients. She will be joining our staff, effective, March 1, 2015.


Reminder: In the event of a weather emergency or phone outage at Plaza, the emergency line may be used: that number is 877-844-5225. Please do not call the emergency number during regular office hours if the phones are working, as it will likely result in a delay in our being able to assist you.


The office will be closed on Christmas Day, December 25, and New Year’s Day, January 1. As always, there will be a doctor reachable by phone for any urgent issues that come up on these days.


All of us here at Plaza wish you and your loved ones Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year! As ever, we thank you for trusting us with your children.





Influenza (“The Flu”) is a contagious respiratory illness that infects the nose, throat and lungs. It is caused by a specific group of viruses. THE FLU IS NOT A COMMON COLD. While some symptoms of colds and flu overlap (e.g. nasal congestion and cough), the flu is much more extensive and serious. Influenza can cause mild to severe illness and can lead to death.


The symptoms of influenza are fever, chills, cough, sore throat, headache, runny/stuffy nose, muscle/body aches, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. It is highly contagious and spreads by respiratory droplets (similar to colds). The virus can be airborne or on surfaces, and people typically inadvertently infect themselves by touching their eyes or nose with contaminated hands. The contagious period starts one day before symptoms appear and continues for 5-7 days of illness.


Much like the weather, influenza is somewhat unpredictable, despite scientists’ best efforts. Flu usually reaches our area around Christmas time and lasts until early spring, but certain strains such as H1N1 (“Swine flu”) may be active much later into the spring and early summer. Some flu seasons are mild, and others bring much more severe illness and death.


Complications of influenza include bacterial pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical illnesses such as heart disease, asthma and diabetes. Those at particular risk for a bad outcome are the very young, the very old, pregnant women, and those with underlying health conditions.


Influenza is a dangerous infection. It causes from 55,000 to 431,000 hospitalizations annually and the death rate averages 36,000 deaths per year. It is not a disease to be taken lightly. Although there are a couple medications available to treat influenza, they have some significant adverse effects, and are usually only used in high risk patients (the elderly, children under 2, or people with chronic illness). The medication is only useful if it is started within 48 hours of symptom onset. The best way to be safe from the flu is to get the flu vaccine each year.


Influenza vaccine is safe, effective and readily available. Everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated. If you have an infant younger than 6 months old, everyone in close proximity to that infant should be vaccinated. The best time for getting the vaccine is early to mid fall (before the disease reaches our area), but it is still recommended after the season has started and as late as February, since peak flu activity is sometimes not until March. As stated previously, pregnant women are at particular risk and should be vaccinated DURING PREGNANCY. If your OB does not carry the vaccine, we would be happy to provide it for you here at Plaza.


The influenza vaccine DOES NOT give you the flu. Sometimes, in addition to mild tenderness at the injection site, one may experience MILD “flu-ish” symptoms for a day or two after receiving the vaccine (this is more common in adults than in children). Though flu vaccine is produced in a medium containing a small amount of egg protein, almost everyone who is allergic to eggs CAN get the flu vaccine. If you are highly allergic to eggs, consult your allergist for their opinion. It is NOT better to get the flu than the vaccine. The vaccine is harmless, but people die of the flu.


You MUST get vaccinated every year, as strains of the flu change yearly. Prevention by vaccination is the best way to protect yourself against this deadly infection. Vaccinate yourself and encourage everyone you know to do the same.


For more information go to


by Pat Caruso, M.D., F.A.A.P.


Editor’s Note: At press time, Plaza Family Care still has flu shots available for adults and children in both offices.





The holiday season is a time to celebrate. Unfortunately, for many the holidays are also a time for overeating and weight gain. The festivities don’t have to leave you looking like Santa. By focusing on a healthy balance of food, activity, and fun, weight gain can be avoided. Here are some helpful tips.


  1. Always start with a healthy breakfast

It kick-starts your metabolism and is a great opportunity to start your day with balance by combining whole grains, fiber, and fresh fruit.


  1. Plan for snacks

Snacks are a good thing if they are healthy. Being overly hungry leads to overeating. Grab a 100- to 200-calorie snack containing whole grains, protein, and a little bit of fat: for example, a non-fat yogurt with fruit or a banana with peanut butter. Snacks help control your hunger and keep your judgment intact, so you can make better decisions and will be less likely to grab something that smells and looks good, but isn’t good for you.


  1. Don’t skip meals

Eating every four hours throughout the day will help keep your metabolism revved up. Skipping meals doesn’t save you calories over the long haul, because by the time you sit down to eat, you’re ravenous, which leads to overeating. Skipping meals also causes your body to go into starvation mode, making it more likely that the calories consumed are stored as fat instead of being burned.


  1. Dress strategically

Wearing fitted clothes provides a subconscious reminder to avoid overindulging, because your clothes will feel snug when you start to overeat (versus clothing that stretches right along with your waistline.) Another good strategy for women at holiday parties is to bring a clutch bag rather than one with a shoulder strap. If you have to hold your purse, you’ll be hard-pressed to grab multiple appetizers.


  1. Have a strategy ready for food pushers

Don’t feel pressured to eat everything. Just because it is there doesn’t mean you have to eat it. And you don’t have to overeat to be a good guest. Have polite comments ready for food pushers. Politely say, “No thank you, I’ve had enough. Everything is so delicious.” The host/hostess will appreciate the compliment and you will avoid overeating out of guilt.


  1. Bring a healthy dish

By offering to bring a healthy dish to a holiday gathering, you will be a great guest, and can be assured that you will have something to eat that you like and that is nutritious.


  1. Manage stress

Holidays can be a stressful time for many people and stress can contribute to weight gain in several ways. Make sure to set some personal time aside for rest, relaxation and leisure.


  1. Listen to your body

It is easy to get distracted from signals of physical hunger and fullness at social gatherings. Make an effort to stay in tune with your body’s signals during holiday meals. If you feel satiated and comfortable, stop eating. Just because there is more food available, does not mean you need to eat more. For an added reminder, put your phone on vibrate and set a countdown timer for 20 or 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, check in with yourself and notice how you are feeling and what you are doing. Are you eating? If so, are you actually hungry? Are you eating to cope with emotions or to distract from stress? No judgment; just observation. Then set the timer again.


  1. Eat mindfully

Survey the entire table before you take any food. Choose foods that look visually appealing or that you know you will like, and enjoy a small portion thoroughly. If the food you selected does not taste as good as you expected, stop eating it and choose something else. By giving yourself permission to eat a certain amount of food, you are much less likely to overeat later.


  1. Get enough sleep

Studies have shown that poor sleep can increase appetite and caloric intake. Get enough sleep to avoid overeating and food cravings throughout the day.


by Gina Consalvo, MA, RD, LDN, NCC





I am pleased to be taking over editorship of the newsletter from Dr. Allen Menkin. As mentioned in the previous newsletter, Dr. Menkin is not leaving us (thank goodness!), but will be focusing exclusively on meeting the mental health care needs of our patients. It is clear that children’s mental health needs have been overlooked and undertreated for a long time now, and we here at Plaza feel strongly that mental health care should be fully integrated into the mainstream health care delivery system in this country. One luxury that we enjoy in primary care pediatrics is that children are, by and large, healthy little creatures with very few medical problems. As a result, however, we often find that the only health issue a child has is a mental health issue–even when it presents with physical symptoms such as stomach aches or headaches. Dr. Menkin has many, many years of experience in this area, and the primary care doctors at Plaza feel very lucky to have his expertise as a practice resource. Dr. Menkin is accepting new patients for mental health/behavioral consultations in both the Hackettstown and Chester offices.


Kristen Walsh M.D., F.A.A.P.


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