Mumps Virus is Back: Here’s What You Need to Know

Mumps VirusNationwide, it’s the biggest spike in cases of the mumps virus in a decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the past year, more than 4,000 people across the country have fallen ill with the mumps virus, a highly contagious and vaccine-preventable illness caused by a virus.

To stay healthy, it’s advised to consider a booster shot.

About the Mumps Virus

As reported by the CDC, there are between a few hundred and several thousand cases reported in the US each year, although that number is expected to be higher than reported.

Causing flu-like symptoms, mumps is a viral illness that causes swelling of the salivary glands resulting in a swollen face and cheeks, jaw pain and headaches. The infection usually beings with a few days of a fever, headaches, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite. It is transmitted via saliva from coughing, sneezing or sharing objects such as utensils and cups. It is very contagious, especially in confined areas like college campuses.

Treatment for the Mumps Virus

If you suspect you have the mumps virus, visit your closest eMedical Urgent Care center to be tested. The physician will obtain a swab of your cheek to be tested for infection. Those affected should stay home and isolated for five days to limit the spread of the disease.

Outside of rest, currently there is no treatment for the viral illness. Over-the-counter medications can help to alleviate swelling, fever and pain.

Prevention for the Mumps Virus

Since the pre-vaccine era, there has been a more than 99% decrease in mumps cases in the United States. Although some speculation has circulated regarding the effectiveness of the MMR vaccine recently, it’s still the most effective protection against mumps infections.

MMR protects against three diseases: measles, mumps and rubella. The CDC recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults also should be up to date on their MMR vaccination. Many schools and colleges require proof of MMR vaccination for enrollment, although there are still exemptions allowed in many states for medical and philosophical reasons.

Getting vaccinated is the best prevention from contracting mumps and significantly reduces the chances for severe complications if you do. If you and your loved ones have already been vaccinated, you may want to consider a booster shot.

MMR Booster Vaccine

The MMR vaccine is extremely effective against Mumps (in addition to Measles and Rubella). But, as we’ve addressed, even someone who has received the vaccine can still contract Mumps. Why?

The phenomenon, known as vaccine failure, is when the effectiveness of a vaccine potentially wears off over time. Additionally, it can happen when the body doesn’t maintain the same level of antibodies that it once did. To combat this, consider getting a Mumps booster shot.

If you have a unvaccinated child or need a booster shot, contact eMedical Urgent Care today to learn more about vaccinations like the MMR and how they can help keep you and your children healthy and safe. Call to learn more about our services in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, (908) 464-6700, and Middletown, New Jersey, (732) 957-0707.

January is National Winter Sports TBI Awareness Month: Recognizing Head and Neck Injuries

Head and Neck InjuriesEvery year, throughout January, The Johnny OTM Foundation, along with the CDC, local urgent care centers, like eMedical Urgent Care, and surrounding sports clubs, work to raise awareness about common health risks related to participation in winter sports. Some of the common injuries related to winter sports include sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures. While all winter sports injuries should be taken seriously, head and neck injuries are especially serious as they have the potential to cause long-term health problems.

About National Winter Sports TBI Awareness Month

It doesn’t matter if you’re five or 50, safety in the snow is important for all ages. The more you know, the more you and your family can have a safe and healthy winter season.

TBI stands for Traumatic Brain Injury. It’s a common result of head and neck injuries associated with winter activities such as skating, skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey, sledding and tobogganing. The Johnny O Foundation along with National Winter Sports TBI Awareness Month is a public campaign to highlight the dangers and importance of taking precautionary measures when participating in those sports. Their main goal is to decrease TBIs in the country.

Statistics on Head and Neck Injuries

According to the American Physical Therapy Association, each year, there are approximately 1.7 million head injuries in the United States. Commonly caused by falling or colliding into another person or object while skiing or skating, many of these accidents lead to head injures such as a concussion or TBI.

The top causes of TBI include:

  • Cycling
  • Football
  • Baseball
  • Softball & Basketball
  • Water Sports
  • Soccer
  • Powered Recreational Vehicles
  • Skateboards
  • Scooters
  • Golf
  • Fitness & Exercise
  • Winter Sports
  • Horseback Riding
  • Gymnastics
  • Dance
  • Cheerleading

However, not all head and neck injuries are related to sports. In fact, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 30% of TBI causes results from falls. So, whether you’re taking the dog out for a walk on an icy sidewalk or hitting the ice for a hockey game, you could be at risk. But just because there’s risk, that’s no reason to lock up and put life on hold. Go ahead and head out to enjoy the New Jersey snow, just exercise caution.

Preventing Head and Neck Injuries in the Winter

Since falls are one of the leading causes of TBIs, take caution on icy surfaces: walk slowly, wear boots with good tread and pay attention to the surface you’re walking on.

Preventive measures, such as wearing protective head equipment, choosing helmets that fit correctly and following safety rules, can help those who participate in winter sports prevent head and neck injuries. New to the sport? Don’t be afraid to take lessons.

Proceed with Caution

If you suspect a loved one has suffered a concussion or TBI, it is important to take the injured individual out of the activity until he or she has been thoroughly evaluated by an experienced medical professional. We offer convenient walk-in hours designed to fit your busy schedule; learn more about our services and how we can treat you and your family by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707.

The physicians at eMedical Urgent Care want to remind you and your loved ones to enjoy the winter season, but stay safe by taking proper precautions during play.

Feeling Heartburn? 5 Acid Reflux Symptoms That Require Immediate Medical Attention

HeartburnFeeling heartburn but not sure if it’s just because you ate your meal too quickly or that you ate too close to bed time or that it was just too much food in one sitting? As our work/school/family schedules continue to get jam-packed, it’s no wonder that many of us lack the time to eat a mindful, balanced meal.

But, how do you know when to walk it off, pop an over-the-counter antacid for indigestion and when you should see a doctor?

Feeling More than Heartburn: GERD

If you’re feeling effects that go beyond mild heartburn (and that fails to respond to simple over-the counter medications), you could be experiencing gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Here are 5 symptoms that indicate you should seek medical attention promptly for better treatment of this condition.

1. Abdominal Cramping

An upset stomach, including moderate indigestion and gas, can cause cramping in your abdomen. But if those cramps persist beyond using the bathroom, resting, or are in conjunction with tarry-looking stools, visit urgent care right away. Sever cramps could indicate internal bleeding or other stomach or intestinal damage.

2. Difficulty Swallowing

If swallowing food has become painful or you feel as if you’re choking when you eat, this could be a sign of severe acid reflux. Your throat and esophagus could be damaged from constant reflux of stomach acid; see a physician at eMedical promptly.

3. Constantly Coughing

A chronic cough could be more than just the common cold or allergies; it could actually be caused by GERD. If you suffer from a cough that can’t be relieved by a cough suppressant or a rescue inhaler, visit urgent care to test for acid reflux.

4. Chest Pain

Many mistake heartburn for a heart attack, but sudden or sharp chest pain is never something to be ignored. Likewise, if you experience symptoms of shock, such as weakness, confusion and feeling faint or dizzy, these symptoms also call for a trip to the doctor immediately.

5. Weight Loss

Uncontrollable weight loss can be the result of GERD robbing your body of the nutrients needed to maintain weight. If you seem to be losing weight uncontrollably, you need to visit urgent care quickly. Any delay could result in nutritional deficiencies and a suppressed immune system.

Heartburn and GERD Relief at eMedical Urgent Care

If you are suffering any of the above symptoms that are stronger than your typical heartburn, visit with your eMedical Urgent Care Physician promptly for a proper diagnosis.

eMedical Urgent Care physicians provide urgent medical care and heartburn treatment to both adults and children with convenient hours designed to fit your busy schedule. Learn more about our services and how we can treat you and your family by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707.

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.