Win the War Against Germs: 5 Tips to Prevent the Flu at Work

Prevent The FluIn sickness and in health…professionals are coming to work. And you could be sitting right next to them wondering, “How in the world am I going to prevent the flu when this person looks like they belong in a NyQuil commercial?”

Sick? Stay Home

With a limited number of sick days, workers feel pressured to go to the office while under the weather. In fact, a new survey tells us that 85% of employees admit to doing so. Whether they feel guilty about letting the coworkers down, worried about work piling up, or just don’t want to ‘burn’ a sick day, it’s bad for business.

An article in Bloomberg points out, “Presenteeism—showing up at work ill, whether they’re contagious or not—costs companies about $150 billion a year, one study estimated. A worker is about a third as productive when he’s slumped in a desk chair working at half-speed as he is when he’s healthy, say researchers.”

With the ability to telecommute, a lot of businesses are saying, “STAY HOME.” Losing one day is better than affecting the entire team. Often people are contagious from the day before they realize they’re sick to about five days after.

Tips to Prevent the Flu

Make a point to heed these tips at the office

1. Wash Up with Soap and Water

Did you know that the typical office desk can have 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat?!

The quickest way to clear away germs is by washing your hands regularly. Doorknobs, telephones, elevator buttons, computer keyboards, water fountain buttons and even the refrigerator door in the office break room can host millions of germs and bacteria at any given time. Disinfect these objects often and then wash up.

By washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, you can protect yourself from germs that cause the common cold and avoid spreading illness to others.

2. Keep Your Distance

Sneeze droplets can travel as far as six feet. These droplets can get in your mouth or nose if you breathe them in; if you hear a sneeze. Duck! At least keep your distance if you notice a co-worker is coughing, sneezing or sniffling; that’s how diseases spread.

3. Get Prepared

These germs can also sit on objects near you. If you touch something that’s contaminated, avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose…or you may likely get sick. Place tissues and hand sanitizer everywhere to subtly encourage others at the office to use them, too.

4. Be Well

Best practices for wellness include: staying hydrated, reducing stress, exercising, eating whole foods and getting enough sleep.

In addition, lose the extra booze. Alcohol interferes with sleep quality which can directly impact your immune system. These are all simple ways to keep you healthy and productive through the entire cold and flu season.

5. Get the Flu Shot

And, of course, the easiest and surest way to prevent the flu is with a flu shot. And because the influenza viruses change every season, it’s important to get vaccinated every year.

Stay Healthy and Prevent the Flu with eMedical Urgent Care

Win the war against germs this winter and prevent the flu at work. If a coworker comes to work sick, remind them to stay home. Or just send them a link to our blog.

Learn more about our services and how we can treat you by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707.

Fact or Fiction? 8 Common NJ Flu Season Questions

NJ Flu SeasonOnce believed to be brought on by the influence of the stars, influenza, the dreaded cold-weather virus, battles new rumors about the flu and its vaccine each season. NJ flu season myths are common, maybe you’ve heard of some before? “The flu vaccine will give me the flu” or “I eat healthy and exercise, I don’t need the flu shot.”

We’re here to dispel the myths and help you separate flu facts from fiction.

8 Common NJ Flu Season Myths Dispelled

1. I’m young, eat healthy and exercise, I don’t need the flu shot.

FICTION. The flu does not discriminate — anyone can get the sick from the flu. True, young, healthy individuals are less likely to experience life-threatening complications from the flu, but they can still catch the virus.

In addition, getting vaccinated not only helps you avoid getting the flu, but it also helps to protect other, more vulnerable populations like infants, elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

2. Children need a special kind of flu shot.

FACT. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend different flu shots for children, depending on how old they are and whether or not they have been previously vaccinated. Some children may require a two-dose vaccine instead of the standard single-dose.

The inactivated nasal vaccine (LAIV), per CDC guidelines, is no longer recommended because it hasn’t been shown to be as effective as the standard flu shot.

Talk to your child’s eMedical physician to find out which flu shot option is right for your child.

3. I don’t need a flu shot if I got one last year.

FICTION. According to the CDC, it is recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months should receive the flu shot annually. There are hundreds of different strains of the flu virus, these strains change constantly. Each year, the vaccine is created based on the top three common types circulating at that time. So, if you or your child hasn’t been vaccinated against one of this current season’s strains, you’re considered vulnerable.

4. I need antibiotics to recover from the flu.

FICTION. Since influenza is a virus, not bacteria, antibiotics will not help you recover. In fact, taking an antibiotic when you have a virus could do you more harm than good. Antiviral drugs, (prescription medication) can help fight against the flu in your body. They’re most effective when taken within 48 hours of symptoms appearing, so if you start showing flu symptoms, stop by eMedical urgent care walk-in clinic to see if antivirals are right for you.

5. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect myself against the flu.

FACT. The flu shot is the best defense to ward off influenza. But it’s still important to protect yourself from contracting or spreading the flu with other flu prevention methods including: avoid spending time around sick people; wash your hands frequently with soap and water; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; disinfect surfaces and objects regularly; and stay home from work or school if you are experiencing flu symptoms.

6. The flu shot can give me the flu.

FICTION. One of the most common misconceptions is that the flu shot will give you the flu. This fear started back in 1979 when live-virus vaccines were used…and people did get sick. Today, however, the version of the influenza virus in the vaccine is inactive (it is no longer infectious) which means the flu shot cannot cause you to get sick with the flu.

One percent of recipients may feel transient side effects, such as sore throat or runny nose, after receiving the flu vaccine, but that usually dispels after a day.

7. The flu vaccine is dangerous for pregnant women.

FICTION. According to the CDC, flu vaccinations are safe for pregnant women and recommends a flu shot to protect both mother and baby from more dangerous complications that come along with getting infected with the flu.

8. It’s too late, I might as well not get vaccinated.

FICTION. While it is important to protect yourself against the flu before outbreaks begin, it’s never too late to protect yourself by vaccinating as late as January, February and even March.

Flu season peaks doesn’t usually peak until February and early March, so you still have time to get your flu shot.

Fight Off the NJ Flu Season with a Flu Vaccine

At eMedical Urgent Care, we see patients on a walk-in basis; no appointment necessary. After school or on weekends, we‘re here. Our convenient hours are designed to fit your busy schedule, even around the holidays. Learn more about our services and how we can treat you by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey(732) 957-0707.

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November is American Diabetes Month: Learn the Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

Symptoms Of DiabetesDid you know that 1 in 11 Americans today has diabetes? Despite its prevalence, diabetes is an invisible disease. It affects men and women, people young and old, and people of all races, shapes and sizes. Often there are no outward signs from the 29 million Americans who fight this chronic illness every day. That’s why there is a critical need to foster awareness and education while breaking down stereotypes, myths and misunderstandings about this growing public health crisis that affects so many.

This is exactly why the American Diabetes Association marks each November as American Diabetes Month: to bring extra attention to the disease and the tens of millions of people affected by it.

American Diabetes Month 2016: This is Diabetes

This year, the organization will showcase real-life stories of friends, families and neighbors managing the day-to-day triumphs and challenges of diabetes. The 2016 campaign is inviting us to use #ThisIsDiabetes to share personal stories and start a dialogue about what it means to live with diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is more than the medications and devices used to manage it. For many, diabetes dictates how they organize their day, what they eat at every meal, how they choose to be physically active and how they spend their money. People with diabetes can have health care costs that are 2.3 times higher than someone without diabetes, as type 1 and type 2 require very specific forms of treatment.

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and there is no known way to prevent it. Approximately 5 percent of people with diabetes have type 1, which means their body does not produce any insulin. Insulin is critical for the body to transport glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into cells for energy. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to live.
  • Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of cases in the United States, and is caused when the body does not produce or use insulin properly. Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include being overweight, having a family history of diabetes and having diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes). Some people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose (sugar) with healthy eating and being active; others may require oral medications or insulin, especially as the disease progresses. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as older adults.
  • Some women develop gestational diabetes, high blood glucose (sugar) levels during pregnancy, which requires treatment to protect the health of the mother and the baby. Gestational diabetes affects approximately 9.2 percent of pregnant women.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes: Know if You’re at Risk

If you experience any of these symptoms, please consult with one of our physicians for a diabetes screening. Early detection and proper treatment is key in preventing the symptoms of diabetes from manifesting into more aggressive medical complications.

Common Symptoms of Diabetes

  • Weight loss (even with a proper diet)
  • Incessant thirst
  • Blurry vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Numbness in hands or feet
  • Nerve pain

If you think you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes or that you may have prediabetes, you should know that diabetes prevention is proven, possible, and powerful. For example, studies show that people at high risk for diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by losing 5 to 7 percent of their weight.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states there are two keys to success: getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week as well as eating a variety of low-fat foods and reduce the number of calories eaten in a day.

Experiencing Symptoms of Diabetes?

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above symptoms of diabetes and you have reason to suspect you might be ill, please come see us at either of our medical offices in Middletown, NJ or Berkeley Heights, NJ. We are open 7 days a week, including holidays, and offer walk-in immediate urgent care treatment. Contact us today with any questions.

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Ready to Quit Smoking for Your Health? The Great American Smokeout is the Perfect Time

Quit Smoking For Your HealthNow is the perfect time to quit smoking for your health. Whether it’s a family member or close friend who’s trying to kick the habit or you’re struggling to stop, support can make all the difference.

Thursday, November 17, is the Great American Smokeout, an annual initiative by the American Cancer Society (ACS) to encourage smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By quitting, even for one day, smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life, one that can help lead to reducing health risks, such as cancer.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S. It’s a top contributor to a host of health conditions, from bronchitis and pneumonia to hypertension and cancer. Even knowing these risks, ending smoking habits can be challenging. With a little help from the physicians at eMedical Urgent Care, however, it’s not impossible.

Quit Smoking for Your Health: Immediate and Long-Term Benefits

When someone stops smoking, the benefits can be immediate as well as long-term. In fact, the ACS states that heart rate and blood pressure can drop to normal rates within 20 minutes. And 12 hours later, the carbon monoxide levels in the blood can drop to normal. Fast forward to a couple months later and quitters will begin to see improvements in circulation and lung function. One year after snuffing out their smoking habit, the risks of coronary heart disease are cut in half.

Although the benefits are well known, the challenge of doing so seems daunting to smokers. Getting help through counseling or medications can double or triple the chances of success.

The Great American Smokeout is the Perfect Time to Quit Smoking for Your Health

According to the ACS, 40 million Americans smoke cigarettes; that’s about 1 in every 5 adults. Almost 70% of smokers want to quit, but only 40% try. Of those who make the attempt, only 4% to 7% succeed on their own.  Making the decision to kick the habit is one of the most important steps to quit smoking for good. The Great American Smokeout, held annually on the third Thursday in November, gives smokers an opportunity to consider making this lifesaving change.

For more information, The American Cancer Society offers a guide to quitting smoking .

Quit Smoking for Your Health with eMedical Urgent Care in New Jersey

Life is short, and for those who smoke, quitting returns precious years and vitality.

Open 7 days a week, including holidays, both of our medical offices in Middletown, NJ and Berkeley Heights, NJ offer walk-in immediate urgent care treatment. Contact us today with any questions.

Show Your Hands Some Love: Ward Off Fingernail Infections and Fungus

Fingernail InfectionJust like your skin, fingernails can tell a lot about your health. Because we use them day in and day out in almost every activity from driving, typing, touching, cooking, picking, and wiping…fingernail infections are very common. Therefore, it’s important to show your hands some love and keep them healthy.

Ward Off Fingernail Infections with Healthy Hands (and Feet)

Healthy nails will be pinkish in color with the occasional flecks of white and a ‘half-moon’ of white appearing at the bed of the nail. Some bumps and ridges are normal; however, severe alterations of the nail’s surface could indicate an underlying infection or fungus. For example, brittle nails, which are often a normal result of aging, can also be due to certain diseases and conditions; koilonychia, an abnormal shape of the fingernail can be associated with iron deficiency anemia; and discoloration in the nail bed can signal liver and kidney disease, heart and lung conditions, anemia or diabetes.

But your cuticles also require some TLC. As part of your skin, cuticles on your fingers and toes serve as a barrier or protection for the nail and should look moisturized, healthy and the same color as the rest of your skin. Contrary to popular belief there is no good reason to cut the cuticles. Doing so would only increase the chances of a fingernail infection or irritation.

If you spot a swollen area on your fingernail or toe nail that has red streaks radiating form the cuticle, this can indicate an infection to be treated with medical attention right away.

Will Nail Biting Cause Fingernail Infections?

Nail biting will do far more than just ruin your fresh manicure. Aside from aesthetic considerations, nail biting can contribute to infections in the surrounding areas of skin and in the nail bed, called paronychia.

As nail biters chew their nails, bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms can enter through tiny tears or abrasions, leading to swelling, redness, and pus around the nail. Cuticle damage is especially common in children who often bite and pick at their fingers or in those who use unsanitary manicure tools.

Studies also show that nail biting can also increase the likelihood that you’ll develop a common infection, like a cold or the flu, since it facilitates the transfer of bacteria from your hands to your mouth.

Is it Nail Fungus?

Nail biting can also lead to nail fungus. Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a condition that occurs when a microscopic fungus enters either the fingernail or toenail through a small trauma (cut or break). Fungal infections cause about half of all nail disorders; but, they are more common in toenails because the toes are confined in a warm, moist, weight-bearing environment.

Fungal growths typically begin as white or yellow spots under the tip of your fingernail or toenail and progresses to symptoms including a thickened, brittle or crumbly, distorted, dull and/or dark nail.

When fungus infects the areas between your toes and the skin of your feet, it’s called tinea pedis, commonly referred to as athlete’s foot.

When to Visit Urgent Care for a Fingernail Infections

Stop by eMedical Urgent Care (no appointment necessary) if you’re experiencing any of the following:

  • Dark streak in the nail that is new or widening
  • Nails that appear to be blue or pale
  • Clubbed or distorted nails
  • Horizontal ridges or pits in your nails
  • White lines or white color appearing under the nails
  • Joint pain or limited range of motion

Learn more about our services and how we can treat you by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707. We welcome you to walk in, get your exam and be on your way.

Get Rid of Head Lice For Good!

Head LiceBack to school is a very busy and exciting time as our children are exposed to a new curriculum, new teachers and new friends. But it’s also a time of the year when our kids are exposed to new germs and new health concerns such as head lice. Second only to the common cold, an infestation of these contagious parasites is a leading cause of absenteeism among elementary school children.

Head Lice Considered “Super Lice”

Head lice is not an indication of poor personal hygiene; they actually thrive in clean environments. Infestations can happen to anyone, regardless of age, social status or hair length. And now some are even calling lice “the new four letter word” as these tiny bugs are becoming more and more immune to over the counter treatments. They’re turning into indestructible “mutants” that are overwhelming parents nationwide.

A new report from the Journal of Medical Entomology says that “super lice” have turned up in more than 42 states where 100% of the lice tested were resistant to over-the-counter treatments. Six other states, including New Jersey, found lice to be resistant to OTC treatments.

Back to school after summer and after winter vacations are the busiest time for head lice, so you’ll want to be prepared with an alternative treatment plan.

Alternative Treatments for Head Lice

  1. Metal Tooth Lice Comb- Combing is one of the best ways to get rid of head lice. You must be thorough, so expect to spend at least an hour on a full head of hair. Do this once a week for 3 weeks.
  2. Olive Oil or Coconut Oil- Apply to your child’s scalp and hair and leave it in overnight under a shower cap. The oils will smother the lice. In the morning, use the nit comb to comb out the dead bugs.
  3. Essential Oils- Mix 2 ounces of olive oil or coconut oil with 15 to 20 drops of an essential oil. Apply to the scalp with cotton balls. Leave this mixture on the scalp and hair overnight, or for at least 12 hours. The best oils to use are tea tree oil, lavender, clove, eucalyptus, aniseed, cinnamon leaf, red thyme, peppermint and nutmeg.
  4. Lice Preventive Shampoo- Stock up on a few bottles for the entire household. Keep hair in braids, puns or pony tails and never. stop. checking.

While treating heads, it’s just as important to remove any nits or lice that may be hiding in your home. Be sure to vacuum areas of the house and any furniture that was exposed. Wash clothing, towels, sheets, hats, coats, etc., in hot water and dry using high heat. Vacuum car seats and put backpacks, stuffed animals and helmets into the freezer overnight.

Last but not least, do not be afraid to tell the school nurse, coach or daycare provider so they can check the rest of the class or team and notify parents. Those who are too afraid to utter that “four-letter word” inadvertently allow the spread to continue.

So, are you scratching your head yet?

eMedical Urgent Care Walk-In Treatments

The good news is that lice cannot fly or jump, they’re spread from one person to another by head to head contact. The adult lice can live up to 30 days on your or your child’s head, while making a home in your hair, each louse can lay up to 8 eggs per day. Those eggs (called nits) hatch within a week and mature a week after hatching. Without a host head, a louse lives only a day or two and nits will only survive a week; they need body heat to grow and hatch.

If you or your child still has head lice after two treatments, sores on the scalp, a fever or swollen neck lymph nodes, visit eMedical Urgent Care. Walk-in care is available at our locations in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707 with convenient hours designed to fit your busy schedule.

The Dangers of Scented Candles and Plug-Ins on Indoor Allergies and Asthma

Indoor Allergies and Asthma On a chilly afternoon, there can be something soothing about lighting a scented candle and filling the home with aromas of vanilla, pumpkin spice or lavender. Maybe you already have those fragrances wafting in every room with a scented plugin.

As soothing as they might smell, as your trusted New Jersey urgent care provider, we want you to think twice before lighting that candle or plugging in a fragrance box. Because when it comes to indoor air quality and your health, many studies show that they are both significant pollutants. Thankfully, through natural alternatives, you can still create an aromatic scent throughout the home without stirring up your indoor allergies and asthma.

Dangers of Scented Candles

Many studies show that scented candles pose dangerous health risks; so you might want to think twice before lighting up that sugar-cookie candle.

Besides the clear fact that candles pose a dangerous fire risk especially if you have children, they also give off smoke which can irritate people with nasal allergies. To those with a sensitive nose, a scented candle can be no different than cigarette smoke and trigger uncomfortable symptoms such as a runny nose, watery eyes and headaches.

Burning paraffin wax also produces soot with particles that can remain in the air for hours after being burned. In size and composition, these ultrafine soot particles are similar to diesel exhaust and can penetrate deeply into the lungs. A study by the Environmental Protection Agency shows that candles with more fragrance in them produce more soot; the agency suggests choosing unscented candles to reduce this leftover debris.

Additionally, many mass-produced candles on the market are made with paraffin wax, a petroleum byproduct; many also use synthetic fragrances and dyes. When burned, they release toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air (including acetone, benzene and toluene), that not only trigger indoor allergies and asthma but are also known carcinogens.

Scented Plugins Pose Health Risks

Many people who are cautious about the flames of candles often turn to scented plugins. However, it’s not just scented candles making us sick; plug-ins, gels and aerosols are also irritating to our airways and troubling to our health. The chemicals found in the fragrance and wax have researchers fearing that long-term use of these items may also lead to allergy irritation and asthma.

Safer Scent Alternatives to Prevent Indoor Allergies and Asthma

If you’re still longing for that soothing ambiance of a candle, don’t despair. As an alternative to traditional candles, non-toxic soy or beeswax candles produce less soot, burn slower (lasting about 30% longer) and are less likely to trigger indoor allergies or asthma.

Or try an even safer way to scent your home and add some humidity to the air at the same time through diffusion. Essential oil diffusers create a wonderful aroma with therapeutic benefits. Depending on the oil used, diffusing oils such as lavender, peppermint and frankincense can deodorize the household air of odor, promote a calm environment and support respiration all while leaving your home smelling great.

eMedical Urgent Care Walk-In Medical Clinic

At eMedical Urgent Care, we take your health very seriously. And part of maintaining your health is maintaining good indoor air quality. If you feel that you or your child is suffering from asthma, see a doctor at one of our locations. Walk-in treatment for asthma and allergies is available at eMedical Urgent Care in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707. Our convenient hours are designed to fit your busy schedule.

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