Safety Tips for the 4th of July

The first day of summer has officially arrived and the 4th of July is upon us! Red, white and blue backyard barbecues and sunshine-filled beach days lead way to lightning bugs and firework shows ready to light up the sky. It’s a magical night…but it also can be extremely dangerous.

Fireworks Injuries

In 2013, Americans suffered 14,000 fireworks related injuries (many of which could have been avoided). The most common injuries are burns; typically in the hands, fingers and face, but can also include amputation, hemorrhage, skin tissue damage, abrasions, lacerations, puncture, dermatitis, internal organ injuries, fractures, strains or sprains.

New Jersey Fireworks Law

Believe it or not, possessing fireworks or pyrotechnics is against the law in New Jersey; it is actually considered a misdemeanor offense! Unfortunately, every year, there is a mad rush to Pennsylvania (where it is legal) to buy fireworks, sparklers, bottle rockets and Roman candles…all of which are not permitted in the Garden State.

We highly recommend the prohibition of all fireworks that are not run by professionals, but realize some things are out of your control. In the event that you find yourself at a backyard neighborhood party with fireworks, take these safety tips into consideration from our medical experts at eMedical Urgent Care:

Know Your Fireworks

Always read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting anything. This should be the first thing you do.

Supervise Children

Never allow children to play with fireworks. This may seem like common sense, but this includes sparklers as well as firecrackers and rockets. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, sparklers can reach temperatures greater than 1000°F which can cause serious burns and ignite clothing. Keep a bucket of water handy in case of unexpected accidents.

Stand Far Way

Avoid close proximity to fireworks. Point the firecracker away from people and buildings and do not hold it while lighting the fuse. And don’t carry them in your pockets…friction could actually cause them to explode!

Douse Duds in Water

Sometimes fireworks fizzle but then sizzle out. Do not attempt to relight the firecracker; it could be unstable and explode at any moment. Instead of picking it up to dispose of it, leave it where it is and douse it in water.

Careful With Clean-Up

Firecrackers can be too hot to handle. Soak each one in water prior to throwing them in the trash to prevent finger burns or a trash fire.

No Appointments Necessary!

Never hesitate to seek medical attention immediately after a fireworks injury. And remember, eMedical provides great care when you need it (open 7 days a week – even 4th of July, without the long waits and expenses) in two locations: Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, and Middletown, New Jersey. Feel better knowing we’re here.

NJ Summer Camp Physicals

Summer Camp in NJMost summer camps require children to get a physical before they arrive (and some before you’re allowed to even register)! At eMedical Urgent Care, we realize that moms and dads are constantly on the go, which is why we are pleased to offer walk-in summer camp physicals and sports physicals. Our professional, experienced staff provide convenient, high-quality medical care when you’re on a tight schedule and outside of regular doctor’s office hours…even on the weekends.

Why Physicals are Necessary

No matter if your children are heading to camp, swimming, playing football, cheerleading, golf or running track, there’s always a risk of getting hurt. Make sure these little bodies are ready for the season ahead by preparing with a pre-participation physical examination (PPE). If you feel this requirement is just one more hurdle in the registration process, just think about this: a physical could save your child’s life.

The purpose of the physical is to screen kids for health issues that may pose a risk when they’re at camp or playing sports. Medical conditions can be discovered during the exam that require further evaluation and treatment before participation can begin. Ensure your child is in the best physical condition possible to meet the demands of the sport or camp.

What to Bring

eMedical Urgent Care makes it easy to get your children’s camp, school or sports physicals. All necessary forms are completed onsite at the time of your visit. Remember to bring the form, a copy of your child’s most recent immunization records and insurance card.

What to Expect

Your healthcare providers at eMedical Urgent Care will include the following in the exam:
• Review your child’s medical history
• Ask about any use medications including drugs, vitamins or dietary supplements
• Record height and weight
• Perform a Physical exam
• Check blood pressure, pulse, respirations and oxygen saturation
• Test your child’s vision
• Check your child’s heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat
• Test all major joints, strength, and flexibility
Following the physical examination, the doctor will either sign a form allowing your child’s participation in camp or request a follow-up exam, additional immunizations, testing, or specific treatment for a medical problem.

No Appointments Necessary!

At eMedical Urgent Care, we’re excited to help you keep your kids healthy for a safe and super happy summer! No appointments necessary; all walk-ins welcome! There’s never been a better (or faster) way to get your children’s camp and sports physical exams. Plus, with our caring and compassionate staff to help take care of minor breaks, sprains and cuts, eMedical Urgent Care is here to help you get back in the game and feeling better fast if an accident occurs. Feel better knowing we’re here.

From workplace health services, such as blood tests, worker’s compensation injury evaluations, X-ray services and DOT physicals, to children’s physical exams, eMedical Urgent Care is the place to go for quick care.

6 Tips to Keep Your Child Healthy

One in three kids is overweight or obese, putting them at risk for a variety of health complications and chronic diseases. Evidence shows students who eat right and are physically active learn healthy lifelong habits that prevent illnesses and set them up so they are better equipped to succeed academically.

healthykidsHealthy Tips

Healthy habits start at a young age; teach them early and your children will carry them on throughout their entire lives.

1. Get enough sleep. Children under the age of 5 require at least 11 hours of sleep, and school-age children require about 10 hours of sleep a night. The right amount of sleep will keep them healthy and help them perform better in school and at home.
2. Eat a healthy, nutritious diet. Good nutrition and a balanced diet will set your kids on the right track to grow physically and mentally strong. Simple things like replacing sugary foods and drinks with healthy foods may take more planning initially, but will set you up for success in the long run.
3. Get outside! Limit screen time and encourage children to get up and go outside. Not only will it improve concentration in school, but it also will positively impact a child’s social life. April 24 to April 30 is TV-Turnoff Week. We Can!, is a campaign organized by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH) offering families tips and resources to help them turn off the TV.
4. Wash up. Short of ordering everyone into hazmat suits, you can protect your family and prevent germs from spreading by simply teaching your children good hygiene habits with frequent hand washing. Since about 80% of infectious diseases are spread by touch, this tip can’t be stressed enough. Experts recommend scrubbing hands for about 20 seconds (enough time to sing “Happy Birthday” twice).
5. Get immunized. Take your child in for regular check-ups and stay up to date on their immunizations. Flu shots are especially important to prevent your child from getting sick and missing school. It’s important to get the vaccine every year since the immunization last season will not protect you this season. Protect yourself and your family; talk with the pediatric-trained doctors at eMedical Urgent Care about the benefits of getting the flu vaccine.
6. Stay informed. Many resources are available to improve the health and wellness of children through sound nutrition, regular physical activity and health promoting programs. Launched by Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) in 2013, Every Kid Healthy Week is an annual observance held the last week of April and is recognized on the calendar of National Health Observances. Every Kid Healthy Week celebrates schools who are joining the fight against childhood obesity.

Specialized Pediatric Care

Every parent wants to keep their kids happy, healthy and safe but getting sick sometimes happens. Our New Jersey pediatric urgent care facilities treat a variety of childhood illnesses and injuries, including sore throats, upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, ear pain and sprains/fractures.

Our eMedical Urgent Care Center is staffed with board-certified and pediatric-trained physicians who deliver friendly and compassionate NJ pediatric urgent care to patients of all ages. Most of our physicians are parents too – so we understand firsthand the importance of keeping our tiny humans happy and healthy!

10 Questions – And Answers – About Sinus Infections

By Jane Sennett, DO flu

While winter is known for cold weather, ice skating and hot chocolate, it’s also known for the flu, colds and the dreaded sinus infection. Deciphering and diagnosing a sinus infection can be tricky, but fortunately there are frequently asked questions to help you.

What are sinuses?

A sinus is a hollow, air-filled cavity. There is a frontal sinus, located in the forehead; the maxillary sinus, which is behind the cheek; ethmoid sinuses between the eyes and the sphenoid sinus, located deep behind the eyes.

What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis, or a sinus infection, is an inflammation or swelling of your sinuses. Normally, your sinuses are filled with air. When the sinuses become blocked and filled with fluid, bacteria can grow there and cause an infection.

How common is sinusitis?

More than 37 million Americans suffer from at least one episode of acute sinusitis each year. It has increased throughout recent years, perhaps due to increased pollution and resistance to antibiotics.

What are the signs of a sinus infection?

Symptoms include facial pain or pressure, nasal obstruction, or a “stuffed up” nose, nasal discharge, and a diminished sense of smell.

How is sinusitis treated?

Most sinus infections are viral and will resolve. However true bacterial infections require an extended course if antibiotics. Patients needing antibiotics are generally treated with 10 to 14 days of antibiotics. We also may prescribe oral and topical decongestants to help alleviate the symptoms.

Can I use over-the-counter sinus medicine for a sinus infection?

It depends on the person. It’s best to come to our office to be examined by a doctor to determine the best treatment.

How long does a sinus infection last?

Severe cases can last 4 to 12 weeks, while less severe cases can last up to 4 weeks. Chronic sinusitis can last 3 months of longer and may require surgery.

Is rinsing your sinuses safe?

You may safely use normal saline spray to help irrigate your sinuses. Using something like a neti pot is safe as long as the water used is filtered or distilled. If you experience a fever, nosebleed or experience frequent headaches after using a neti pot, you should definitely seek medical attention.

Are sinus infections contagious?

Sinusitis is not contagious. However, keep in mind that clogged sinuses can provide an ideal environment for bacteria to breed.

What happens if a sinus infection is left undiagnosed?

If left untreated, a sinus infection can lead to severe medical problems including infections of the eye socket and blood clots in the sinus area around the front and top of the face.

If this winter weather has you yelling ”achoo” instead of outside chanting ”woohoo,” visit eMedical Urgent Care in Berkeley Heights and Middletown, N.J., and to start feeling better today!

Jane Sennett, DO, is the medical director for eMedical Urgent Care, formerly known as eMedical Offices (EMO). She joined eMedical Urgent Care in 2014. She is board-certified in emergency medicine. Dr. Sennett earned her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s School of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her emergency medicine residency at Union Hospital and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. Dr. Sennett holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Rutgers University. She also is an attending physician at Overlook Medical Center- Union Campus and Robert Wood University Hospital at Rahway.

Is Your Child Suffering from the Common Cold or Seasonal Allergies?

By iTriage

Are you one of the 50 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies? According to allergies-childrenCathie-Ann Lippman, MD, from Los Angeles, Calif., people who are genetically predisposed to inhalant allergies suffer the most during the spring months when most plants are growing and blooming and the volume of allergenic particles (pollens) is at its maximum.

So, what plants should you look out for? Dr. Lippman noted that trees, grasses, weeds and flowers can all cause allergic symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the United States, and a frequent complaint in urgent care offices. Common medical conditions resulting from seasonal allergies include hay fever, allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis, hives and dermatitis (eczema).

As a parent how can you tell if your child is dealing with the common cold or seasonal allergies? Dr. Lippman noted, “It may be very difficult to differentiate between a cold and allergies.” A doctor at your local urgent care office should be able to help you determine which you are suffering from. Some of the differences include:

  • A cold should last no longer than two weeks, while allergies can last for months.
  • Colds more commonly occur in the winter, while allergies can occur any time of the year.
  • One symptom of a cold may be fever and with allergies no fever is present.
  • Colds may cause aches and pains, symptoms usually not associated with allergies.

Common symptoms of seasonal allergies include:

  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy eyes and nose

Pollen Counts

You may have seen the daily pollen count report on the news or even have had a notification from a weather app appear on your phone, but what exactly do these pollen counts mean? According to Dr. Lippman, “The pollen count measures the number of allergenic pollen particles in the air in gram per cubic meter.” The website, Pollen.com notes that, “Pollen counts are measured from low, meaning they affect few individuals, to high, meaning symptoms affect most allergy sufferers.” By checking the pollen counts in your area, allergy sufferers can see if there are any special environmental factors that may make their allergies worse.

Adulthood Allergies

Did you know that you can develop allergies into your adulthood? Dr. Lippman asserted, “This can happen especially if a person has a mild genetic propensity to allergies and their immune system becomes depleted, making them more vulnerable to manifesting the allergies.” It may seem like more and more people are developing allergies. Dr. Lippman noted that this increase may be caused by a number of different things, including:

  • The environment becoming more toxic
  • People not being as healthy in general due to lack of nourishment
  • Many people’s immune systems becoming depleted due to medications

While allergies cannot generally be prevented, the CDC suggests avoiding contact with the certain allergens that may be causing you problems. If your seasonal allergies leave you feeling miserable, the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAI) suggests setting up an appointment with an allergist/immunologist. “An allergist will have the background and experience to determine which allergies, if any, are causing your symptoms,” notes AAAI.

AAAI also suggests following some of these precautionary tips to alleviate symptoms:

  • Keep your windows closed at night and if possible, use air conditioning, which cleans, cools and dries the air.
  • Try to stay indoors when the pollen counts are high.
  • When traveling by car, keep your windows closed.
  • Take any medications as prescribed.

If you need medical attention for a non-life-threatening illness or injury, eMedical Urgent Care offices are open during the evening hours to treat walk-in patients. If you have questions about medical conditions, download iTriage from the iTunes or Android Marketplace, or check out iTriageHealth.com for your healthcare answers.

Back to School: 5 Tips for a Healthy School Year

By eMedical Urgent Care back to school

Say so long to sweet summer and hello to the 2014-2015 school year. By now school supplies are purchased and the countdown until the kids go back to school is over. You’ve done all you can to prepare your child for a successful school year, but have you prepared them for a healthy one too? Here are back to school tips from the urgent care Middletown NJ and Berkeley Heights NJ doctors to help your child avoid sneezing ‘‘achoo” and keep cheering ”woo hoo” all year long.

Count Enough Sheep

Transitioning your child from summertime to a new bedtime can be a challenge, but one of the biggest health-related issues for elementary school-aged children is exhaustion; children need at least 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night.

During the first few weeks of school, your child may come home tired and in need of a nap. Consider allowing your child to rest for 45 minutes, if he or she can’t sleep, try 45 minutes of quiet time to help rejuvenate your child before homework, dinner, bath time and bedtime.

Plenty of rest at night will help to ensure a healthy start to the school day.

Morning Meal Time

In an ideal world, your child would sit down to breakfast each morning prior to heading to school. In reality, it is 8:15 a.m. the bus comes at 8:20 a.m. and your child’s shoe decided to play a game of hide-and-seek. The easiest thing to grab may be a sweet, sugary snack, but before you pick up the Pop Tart, consider whole grain cereal or an apple. While delicious, sweet, sugary snacks will give your child a jolt of energy which will come to a screeching halt within hours.

Your child’s teacher also will appreciate him not coming to school on a sugar high.

Eyes and Ears

You can’t expect a child to learn if he or she is having trouble seeing the board or hearing the teacher. So have your local Middletown NJ or Berkeley Heights NJ eMedical Urgent Care screen for vision and hearing problems during your child’s back-to-school checkup.

Remember: You can’t assume your child has 20/20 vision just because he never complains about not being able to see; children with vision problems may not realize the world isn’t blurry to everybody else. If your child often has headaches, tilts his head to one side to read schoolwork, or holds objects unusually close or far away to view them, it could be a sign that he has a vision problem.

Healthy Hand-Washing Habits

Start healthy habits while they’re young and teach your child the importance of frequent hand-washing. Hand-washing is essential before dinner or after they use the bathroom, blow their noses or touch pets and other animals. Teach your child these steps:

  • Wet hands with clean, warm water.
  • Soap up, rub hands together, making sure to get between the fingers.
  • Continue rubbing for 20 seconds. Younger children can sing “Happy Birthday” twice to count the time.
  • Rinse with warm, running water.
  • Dry hands on clean towel.

If your child rockets out of the bathroom without stopping at the sink, consider sending her to school with a packet of antibacterial wipes. They’re not as effective as soap and water, but they may have more appeal for young children. (You also can check how many wipes are left at the end of the day to see whether your child is really using them.)

Stay Active

From pool days to school days, your child has gone from running around the backyard to sitting at a desk. Children should get 20 to 30 minutes of regular, non-stop exercise a day. Physical education classes help get your child active but often time is spent standing around waiting for the ball. Bike riding, walks and a trip to the park will benefit the whole family.

Going back to school is not only an adjustment for children but for parents too. Be sure to get plenty of rest, eat breakfast and stay active! And if you want to take an extra step to prevent illness this school year, bring the family to eMedical Urgent Care to get flu shots. We will be holding a Drive-Thru Flu Clinic at our Middletown NJ office on Sept. 20 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you need medical attention for a non-life-threatening illness or injury, both our eMedical Urgent Care Middletown NJ and eMedical Urgent Care Berkeley Heights NJ are open during the evening hours to treat walk-in patients. If you have questions about medical conditions, download iTriage from the iTunes or Android Marketplace, or check out iTriageHealth.com for your healthcare answers.

Swimmer’s Ear: Tips for Prevention & Treatment

By Kristine Samson, MD  157612167_7

Summer time is in full effect. For many, this means frequent trips to the beach or lounging by the swimming pool. With plenty of sunblock, water and snacks, you’re ready for a fun-filled day. But lurking behind all that fun in the water is potential for developing swimmer’s ear.

What is Swimmer’s Ear?

Swimmer’s ear is an infection in the outer ear canal, which runs from your eardrum to the outside of your head.

What Causes Swimmer’s Ear?

The most common cause of swimmer’s ear is swimming or prolonged water exposure. Trauma, cotton swabs, fingernails and dermatologic conditions such as eczema also can cause swimmer’s ear since they can damage the thin layer of skin lining the ear canal.
Excess moisture in the ear raises the pH in the ear and removes cerumen, a defense mechanism that creates an acidic environment which inhabits bacterial and fungal growth while also repelling water from penetrating the skin of the ear canal. A warm, moist environment is great for bacterial and fungal growth.

What are the symptoms of swimmer’s ear?

  • Ear pain – mild itching to severe pain worse with the motion of the ear
  • Excessive fluid drainage
  • Discharge from the ear canal
  • Decreased or muffled hearing
  • Feeling of fullness inside your ear or partial blockage of ear canal by swelling, fluid and debris

Your ear canal may be swollen and red, and there may be discharge in the canal. In severe cases the canal may be completely swollen shut and you may run a fever.

How to Treat Swimmer’s Ear

  • Topical antibiotics which treat the two most common bacterial agents – staph and pseudomonas — or acetic acid, which lowers the pH,  may  be used to treat mild infections because bacteria usually does not grow well in acidic environments.
  • Avoid getting water in your ear, so swimming and long showers should be avoided for at least 7 to10 days. When taking a shower, insert a cotton ball gently in front of the opening of the ear canal to help protect the canal.
  • Avoiding trauma to the ear also is important, so “nothing smaller than your elbow” should be placed in your ear canal.

Following the steps listed above should result in improvement within 2 to 3 days with complete resolution in approximately one week. If symptoms don’t improve or worsen, you may need a trip to urgent care or a referral to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist. An ENT specialist may clean debris in the canal that can promote infection and often will place a wick in the canal, which can help spread topical medication.

How to Prevent Infections

Avoid the need for a trip to urgent care, by practicing these prevention tips:

  • Shake water from your ears after swimming
  • Wear ear plugs while swimming
  • Blow-dry the ear after water exposure by placing the blow dryer on a low setting 12 inches away from your ears

So make the most out of your summer – enjoy the ocean waves and the cool waters of your pool, but remember to shake the water from your ears afterwards and wear plenty of sunblock.

About Kristine Samson
Kristine Samson, MD, joined eMedical Urgent Care in 2013. She is board-certified in emergency medicine. She completed her residency at Jacobi/Montefiore Medical Centers, Bronx, N.Y. She is an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Jacobi Medical Center.