Is it Bronchitis or Pneumonia? Comparing Symptoms of Each

PneumoniaHave you ever felt like you had a cold that you just couldn’t shake? It seemed you did everything possible under the sun from drinking a river of fluids, getting plenty of rest, even taking vitamin C and you still had a sore throat, nagging cough and felt unusually sluggish and feverish. It’s possible you didn’t have a cold, but rather pneumonia or even bronchitis.

But because they share such similar symptoms, how can you tell the difference between the two illnesses?

Let’s take a closer look.

Causes of Bronchitis and Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs; bronchitis is an infection of the airways that lead to the lungs. Bronchitis can occur after a viral illness, such as the cold or flu and it is usually viral, meaning that antibiotics are not helpful with treatment. Some individuals with bronchitis are at an increased risk for getting pneumonia, which is usually more severe.

Symptoms of Bronchitis and Pneumonia

Although both illness have bothersome symptoms, people with pneumonia usually feel a lot worse than those with bronchitis.

Cough

Bronchitis- Painful, persistent dry cough at first. May produce mucus after a few days.

Pneumonia- Wet, productive cough that often brings up mucus from the lungs. The cough is frequently painful.

Mucus

Bronchitis- Phlegm may be clear, yellow, green or even tinged with blood.

Pneumonia- Mucus may be green, rusty or tinged with blood.

Fever

Bronchitis- Typically a fever is mild or not present at all.

Pneumonia- Fevers are often higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit.

Duration

Bronchitis- It can resolve with one to three weeks, but the cough may linger for weeks or months.

Pneumonia- May last longer than two to three weeks.

X-Ray

Bronchitis- X-rays will usually appear normal.

Pneumonia- X-rays will usually appear abnormal.

Other Symptoms

Bronchitis- Sore throat, chest pain, chest congestion, wheezing, body aches.

Pneumonia- Chills, shaking, fast heart rate, headache.

Am I Contagious?

One of the most common questions about pneumonia and bronchitis is if it is contagious.

Is Pneumonia Contagious?

Pneumonia is usually caused by an infection, most commonly bacteria and viruses, which are both contagious. The germs are usually breathed in from coughing and sneezing or touching an object and transferring the germs.

Is Bronchitis Contagious?

Since acute bronchitis is usually caused by the cold or flu virus, that makes it just as contagious for a few days to a week. Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, is not contagious.

Like the common cold and flu, however, you can prevent the spread of pneumonia and bronchitis by taking hygiene precautions such as washing your hands regularly and using a tissue to cough or sneeze.

Treatment for Pneumonia and Bronchitis

As you can see, pneumonia and bronchitis both cause coughs and have similar symptoms. But they require significantly different treatments and only your health care professional can diagnose your illness to determine what treatment option is right for you. If you or a loved one is experiencing a persistent or severe cough that interferes with daily activities and sleep, have a high fever or your symptoms continue to worsen, visit eMedical Urgent Care immediately.

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.

And remember, after treatment allow yourself time to recover, drink plenty of hydrating fluids and take the prescribed medications through to completion.

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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Ready for the New Jersey Flu Season? Here’s What to Expect and Where to Get a Flu Shot

New Jersey Flu SeasonFall is officially here which means the days are getting shorter, Halloween decorations are in full effect and Santa’s reindeer have hit the shelves. At eMedical Urgent Care, this time of year means our experienced providers are already underway with preparations for the upcoming New Jersey flu season. And we’re already getting reports of seasonal influenza-like illness activity throughout the state.

The New Jersey flu season can vary in their timing, severity, and duration from one season to another. Most of the time, flu activity starts around October and peaks between December and March, lasting as late as May. Flu activity is unpredictable, for example, last year’s flu season peaked later (March 12, 2016) than the previous seasons.

2016-2017 New Jersey Flu Season: What To Expect

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that influenza vaccination coverage declined 1.5 percent across the entire U.S. population during the 2015-2016 flu season, with only 46 percent of Americans receiving the annual vaccine.

The decline in influenza vaccine coverage is causing concern among public health officials that more Americans might wave off a flu shot this year. Since vaccination not only reduces the chance of getting the flu but it also helps reduce the severity of infection and complications, this is particularly troubling for older adults because seniors are disproportionately affected by the flu.

Although Nasal spray flu vaccine has been pulled off the U.S. market because it has proven ineffective, according to the CDC, this season’s flu vaccine has been updated to protect against the four influenza viruses that research suggests will be most common during the 2016-2017 season.  This year’s vaccine offers protection against: A/California (H1N1), A/Hong Kong, B/Phuket and B/Brisbane.

Don’t Delay Protection for the New Jersey Flu Season

Each year, millions of Americans come down with the flu and hundreds of thousands of them are hospitalized. Flu vaccine effectiveness can vary from year to year, but the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that for the 2013-2014 flu season, the vaccine prevented approximately 7.2 million illnesses and 90,000 hospitalizations.

In an effort to continuously improve prevention of seasonal flu, the CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu shot every year. The CDC states: “Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of severe influenza and their close contacts, including healthcare personnel and close contacts of children younger than 6 months.”  It takes up to two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop and protection may last for up to one year.

Flu Shots Available at eMedical

Because of the unpredictability of flu activity, the earlier you can get your vaccine, the more protection you, your family and your community will have.

The influenza vaccine for the 2016-2017 flu season is now available at both eMedical locations. At eMedical Urgent Care, receiving the flu vaccination is as easy as stopping by when it’s convenient for you; no need for an appointment.

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.

Flu Activity in New Jersey Hitting Peak Later Than Usual

Flu Activity in New Jersey Hitting Peak Later Than Usual Winter is typically the time for flu, but flu activity in New Jersey is actually peaking later than it has in previous years and is expected to continue into April. In addition, although the state’s overall flu rate is considered to be moderate (last year it was rated as high), Bergen and Monmouth counties appear to be the state’s flu hot spots.

An article in NJ.com, “Flu cases spike dramatically in parts of N.J.” reports, “The vaccine being given this year is 59 percent effective against this season’s flu types, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced. ‘This means that getting a flu vaccine this season reduced the risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu by nearly 60 percent,’ said Joseph Bresee, chief of CDC’s Epidemiology and Prevention Branch.”

Flu Vaccinations Are Your Best Defense

Moderate to high numbers of influenza have been reported throughout New Jersey recently, your best defense is to get vaccinated. That’s right, it’s not too late to get your flu shot! Getting the flu vaccine reduces the risk of getting the flu by nearly 60 percent.

Influenza is caused by either virus A or virus B and there are different strains of the influenza circulating every year causing people to get sick and thankfully, federal health officials say this year’s version of the flu vaccine has been a good match for the strains showing up.

Who’s At Risk?

Most healthy people recover from flu within two weeks, but certain high-risk populations – pregnant women, children younger than 2, people over age 65, and people with certain chronic medical conditions – are more at risk of life-threatening complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Symptoms

Symptoms of the common cold and the flu can often be confused. Visit your closest eMedical Urgent Care walk in clinic near you if you or your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms:

• Fever
• Cough (without a cough, the illness is more likely a viral infection of another variety)
• Headache
• Malaise
• Muscle aches and severe tiredness
• Occasionally nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may be experienced

Prevention

Flu shots are your best protection against the flu epidemic. In addition to getting vaccinated, you can do more to fight the flu with a few healthy steps such as regular hand-washing, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or elbow when you cough, disinfect surfaces regularly, limit alcohol and sugar, get enough sleep and fresh air and avoid close contact with others who are sick.

Flu Shots and Treatment at eMedical

For your flu shot or if you feel that you have symptoms of the flu, it’s important to see a doctor. Our convenient hours are designed to fit your schedule. 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.

Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Facts

National Influenza Vaccination WeekHave you gotten your Influenza vaccine

December 6-12, 2015 is National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW). This week is a national observance and was established by the Centers for Disease Control to highlight the importance of continuing the influenza vaccine. As long as flu viruses continue to spread and cause illnesses, flu vaccinations can be your best defense in providing protection against the flu.

Why Do I Need the Influenza Vaccine?

Seasonal Influenza is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization. You can be exposed to someone at work, in the community (grocery store, school, gym, etc) and you can actually pass on the flu virus to someone else before you even know you’re sick. Anyone can get sick from the flu, even “healthy” people.

Flu vaccinations not only reduce flu illnesses, but also reduce missed work due to flu and prevent flu-related hospitalizations. Every year influenza, or “flu,” affects employers and businesses. Flu costs the U.S. approximately $10.4 billion in direct costs for hospitalizations and outpatient visits for adults.

Did you Know?

  • Flu season begins as early as October.
  • Flu season peaks in the months of December through February.
  • Flu season can last as late as May.
  • CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against influenza disease.
  • Vaccination is especially important for protecting those at high risk for serious flu complications, including: young children, pregnant women, adults 65 years and older, and anyone with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. The CDC provides a full A full list of “People at High Risk of Developing Flu–Related Complications.
  • Flu viruses are always changing which means the vaccine is updated every year to best match circulating influenza viruses. Because of this, yearly vaccinations are necessary.
  • It takes about two weeks after a vaccination for the immune system to build the antibodies your body needs in order to provide protection against the flu.
  • It is never too late in the season to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and loved ones.

Flu Statistics

Studies show that flu vaccination can reduce the risk of more serious flu outcomes, like hospitalizations and deaths.

  • Flu vaccination also may make your illness milder if you do get sick (Belshe, 1998).
  • A recent study showed that flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74% during flu seasons from 2010-2012 (Ferdinands, 2014).
  • One study showed that flu vaccination was associated with a 71% reduction in flu-related hospitalizations among adults of all ages and a 77% reduction among adults 50 years of age and older during the 2011-2012 flu season (Talbot, 2013).
  • Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions. Vaccination was associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease (Ciszewski, 2008; Phrommintikul, 2011), especially among those who had had a cardiac event in the past year (Udell, 2013). Flu vaccination also has been shown to be associated with reduced hospitalizations among people with diabetes (79%; Colquhoun, 1997) and chronic lung disease (52%; Nichol, 1999).
  • Vaccination helps protect women during pregnancy and their babies for up to 6 months after they are born. One study showed that giving flu vaccine to pregnant women was 92% effective in preventing hospitalization of infants for flu (Benowitz, 2010).
  • Other studies have shown that vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-related hospitalizations in older adults. A study that looked at flu vaccine effectiveness over the course of three flu seasons estimated that flu vaccination lowered the risk of hospitalizations by 61% in people 50 years of age and older (Talbot, 2011).

Have You Gotten Your Flu Shot?

Patients at eMedical Urgent Care are seen on a walk-in basis without appointment; after school, or on weekends, we‘re here. Our convenient hours are designed to fit your busy schedule. 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.

Should I Bring My Child to a Walk In Clinic for the Flu?

Should I Bring My Child to a Walk In Clinic for the Flu?It’s pretty much a given that our children will pick up the flu at some point throughout the school year from all the coughing and sniffling students in their classrooms. So, how does a parent know when to bring their child into a walk-in clinic for the flu or a terrible cold?

The flu and colds are both caused by viruses (not bacteria), so symptoms may last four or five days then you could be on your way to recovery. That said, both illnesses can morph into more serious conditions, including sinus infection, bronchitis, pneumonia, and strep throat.

Drive to an eMedical Urgent Care walk in clinic near you if your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent sinus pressure
  • Worsening sore throat
  • Cough followed by yellow or green phlegm
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Ear pain
  • High fever

Walk-In Clinic vs ER

Severe influenza problems are most common in children under 2 years. In addition, children with chronic health problems like asthma, diabetes and disorders of the brain or nervous system are at especially high risk of developing serious flu complications. How do you know when it’s better to go to an urgent care center versus the ER? Read more about the common emergency room and walk-in clinic differences on our recent blog post, “Walk-In Doctor’s Office vs ER [INFOGRAPHIC].”

Protect Yourself from the Flu Virus

Flu shots are your best protection against the flu epidemic. And because the influenza virus(es) changes every season, it’s important to get your child vaccinated every year. Take your child for regular check-ups and stay up to date on their immunizations. Protect yourself and your family; talk with the pediatric-trained doctors at eMedical Urgent Care about the benefits of getting the flu vaccine to keep your child healthy.

In addition to getting vaccinated, you can do more to fight the flu with a few healthy steps.

How do you know if it’s the flu, food poisoning, allergies or the common cold?

Symptoms of the flu usually develop within two days of exposure, but a person can spread the virus before they begin to develop symptoms. The common cold is a respiratory illness that can be caused by many different viral infections. I’s often confused with the flu. There is no cure for the common cold or for the influenza virus. There are, however, treatments available to lessen the severity of the symptoms.

As a parent, how can you tell if your child is dealing with a bout of food poisoning or the onset of the flu? They both have very similar symptoms. A doctor at your local urgent care office should be able to help you determine from which he or she is suffering, but always assume your child contagious and take the proper precautions.

It can also be difficult to differentiate between the common cold and allergies. Parents should be on the lookout for specific symptoms covered in our recent blog post, “Is Your Child Suffering from the Common Cold or Seasonal Allergies?

Get Medical Treatment Right Away

Most of our pediatric physicians are parents too, so we understand the importance of keeping our tiny humans happy and healthy. After school, or on weekends, we‘re here. Patients are seen on a walk-in basis without appointment. Our convenient hours are designed to fit your schedule. 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.