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.

Common Causes of Neck Pain

Neck PainMany of us will experience neck pain one time or another in our life. Whether it feels like a minor “kink” in the neck, chronic stiffness or severe pain from an injury, it’s always important to address the source.

As a very vulnerable part of the spine, the neck is susceptible to injury. Sources of neck pain are typically due to spine, muscle ligament and nerve injuries. Neck pain can be acute or chronic. Acute neck pain comes on suddenly due to an injury and the pain usually resolves within several days or weeks as the injury heals. Chronic neck pain, on the other hand, lasts longer than three months and may be the cause of structural changes in the spine from degenerative diseases.

Let’s take a look at some of the common causes of neck pain:

Common Causes of Neck Pain

Stinger from a Sports Injury

A stinger, also known as a burner, is an injury to the nerves that are located from your neck down into your arm most commonly occurring during contact sports, such as football.

Symptoms include a burning or stinging feeling, arm or shoulder numbness, weakness or a tingly sensation. They usually get better on their own within a few days, but additional therapy may be necessary to aid in recovery.

Strain from Whiplash

Neck strains often occur when the head and neck are forcibly moved during a car accident causing whiplash injury. Whiplash can also occur from sports injuries or amusement park rides. Pain may start immediately after the injury or it could even take up to a few days to develop. Additional symptoms of whiplash include stiffness, headaches and feeling dizzy.

Fracture from Impact

As the most serious neck injury, a fracture means that a vertebra has been broken. Fractures occur from a high-force impact, such as from a car crash, fall or serious sports impact and can cause serious pain, numbness or even paralysis.

But even without a specific injury, neck pain can occur.

Strain from Sleeping

Sudden minor neck movements usually cause minor ligament sprains or muscular strains where the muscles become tight and painful. But this can also be caused by sleeping with your neck in an awkward position at night.

Stress Spasms

When stressed, some people respond by tensing up the muscles of their neck, shoulders, and upper back. Chronic spasm in these muscles can cause neck pain and even lead to headaches.

Degenerative Disease

Breakdown of spinal structures from arthritis and other degenerative diseases can cause pressure on the spinal cords or nerves leading to chronic or occasional neck pain.

Bulging Spinal Disk Pressure

Pressure on spinal nerves can be caused by bulging spinal disks. As a natural result of aging or repeated small injuries to the neck, this kind of pressure causes tingling, pain, or numbness that spreads throughout the neck into the shoulder, arm, or hand on one side.

Treatment for Neck Pain Available at eMedical Urgent Care

As always, a medical examination by a qualified physician is necessary to identify the cause of your pain and determine the appropriate course of treatment. Be prepared to discuss symptoms and your medical history as well as perform simple neck movements to assess muscular strength, join motion and stability.

Additional tests, such as X-rays, bone scans, CT or MRI scans, may by ordered to identify the source of your neck pain. And although neck pain is typically treated with non-surgical methods such as medication, rest and physical therapy, but if neck pain symptoms progress, there are a variety of other treatments we can discuss with you.

Treatment for Neck Pain is available now at eMedical Urgent Care. Call to learn more about our services in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, (908) 464-6700, and Middletown, New Jersey, (732) 957-0707.

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.

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.

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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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.

Is it Pneumonia?

Is it Pneumonia?If you or a loved one are experiencing coughing paired with a fever, nausea and other symptoms, you could be suffering from pneumonia. Commonly the result of a cold or upper respiratory infection, pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs and the symptoms can vary from mild to severe.

Not sure if you’re experiencing symptoms of pneumonia? Our medical team at eMedical Urgent Care can pinpoint the root of your illness and find a treatment that works best for you. It’s also helpful to understand what it is, what causes it and how to recognize the symptoms. Let’s take a look:

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of one or both of your lungs causing the inflammation in the passages that carry air into your lungs. These airways get filled with fluid, making it hard to breathe.

What are the Causes of Pneumonia?

Pneumonia may occur because of exposure to a bacteria, virus, or fungus. For example, bacterial pneumonia is contracted simply from breathing infected air particles from the mouth, throat or nose into the lungs.

“Community acquired pneumonia” may occur from exposure at school or work and “healthcare acquired pneumonia” may occur from exposure in a hospital setting.

Additionally, your lungs may also become infected if you breathe in (aspirated) contaminant particles into your lungs, such as stomach contents from vomiting or have had exposure to hazardous materials.

Who is at Risk?

If your immune system was already weakened from medications or another illness, such as the flu, you could be at a higher risk. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, children under the age of 2 and adults over the age of 65 are also more likely to get pneumonia.

Is Pneumonia Contagious?

Pneumonia, in itself, is not contagious, but viruses and bacteria that can lead to pneumonia often are contagious.

What are the Symptoms of Pneumonia?

  • Fever with chills
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • “Wet” cough with fever
  • Mucus that appears rusty or green, maybe bloody
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

Each type of pneumonia is treated differently. At eMedical Urgent Care, you can trust our medical professionals to provide you with a reliable diagnosis and treatment for pneumonia. We will assess your condition by doing a physical exam and ordering an X-ray or blood test, if necessary, to help formulate the diagnosis.

eMedical Urgent Care in New Jersey

Searching for a place to get convenient urgent care in Middletown, NJ or Berkeley Heights, NJ? Since 1984, our physicians have been building relationships with families within the communities we serve and are here to help! At eMedical Urgent Care, it’s our mission to offer immediate care for a wide range of medical needs, from flu shots to fractures and neck pain to pneumonia, our experienced providers can diagnose and treat you quickly.

Open 7 days a week, including holidays, both of our medical offices have onsite diagnostic equipment, including laboratory and X-ray services. Walk-in for immediate care or contact us today with any questions.