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.

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.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

August has arrived, which can only mean one thing — it’s time for the kids to start heading back to school! But did you know that August is also National Immunization Awareness Month? Getting immunized against infectious diseases is an important part of going back to school. You’re not only protecting you and your child’s health, but also protecting the health of those in your community.

Ready for School?August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Getting vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule is one of the most important things a parent can do to protect their child’s health. Diseases can quickly spread among groups of children who aren’t vaccinated. Whether it’s a baby starting at a new child care facility, a toddler heading to preschool, a student going back to elementary, middle or high school – or even a college freshman – parents should check their child’s vaccination records.

When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for disease and can spread disease to others in their play groups, child care centers, classrooms and communities – including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions.

But vaccines are not just for kids. All adults, including pregnant women, should get the influenza (flu) vaccine each year to protect against seasonal flu. Even healthy adults can become seriously ill, and can pass certain illnesses on to others.

Recognizing National Immunization Awareness Month

At eMedical Urgent Care, we believe that the best treatment is prevention which is why we’re happy to recognize the importance of National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) in our communities.

An annual observance held in August, NIAM highlights the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. It is considered one of the top 10 public health accomplishments of the 20th Century, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

NIAM was established to encourage people of all ages to make sure they are up to date on the vaccines recommended for them. Communities have continued to use the month each year to raise awareness about the important role vaccines play in preventing serious, sometimes deadly, diseases.

Quick, Convenient Vaccines at eMedical Urgent Care

Vaccines give parents the safe, proven power to protect their children from serious diseases. Parents can provide the best protection by following the recommended immunization schedule – giving their child the vaccines they need, when they need them.

eMedical is here for all of your back-to-school health needs. We can provide you with any immunizations you or your children may need, as well as school physicals and an annual flu shot. Find out more about our quick, convenient services by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707.

National Immunization Awareness Month

Protect Your Family against Pertussis with the Whooping Cough Vaccine

Whooping Cough Incidence On The Rise In NJ

Protect Your Family against Pertussis with the Whooping Cough VaccineWhooping cough is surfacing again and New Jersey residents are urged to get their vaccines. Whooping cough, clinically known as pertussis, mainly affects infants younger than 6 months old, who are not yet adequately protected by immunizations, and kids 11 to 18 years old, whose immunity has started to fade. It is a highly contagious respiratory disease and caused by the bacterium Bordetella Pertussis. Known for the uncontrollable, violent coughing, pertussis makes breathing difficult.

History

In its kid-friendly fact sheet, the CDC profiles the history of “Whoopie Doopies.” Doctors have been dealing with pertussis for at least 500 years. Finally, in 1906, scientists were able to identify and see Bordetella pertussis bacteria through a microscope—a first step in learning how to stop its evil tricks. From 1940–45, before the vaccine was widely used, 200,000 people in the United States were infected each year. In the 1940s, vaccinating against pertussis became routine and the tables turned for the better. Now, 10,000 to 40,000 people are infected each year, and very few die.

Whooping Cough Symptoms

Pertussis usually begins with cold-like symptoms, therefore, it may go unsuspected or undiagnosed until more severe symptoms start appearing. Severe coughing may begin after one to two weeks, and early symptoms can last for 1 to 2 weeks. These usually include:

  • Runny nose
  • Low-grade fever (generally minimal throughout the course of the disease)
  • Mild, occasional cough
  • Pauses in breathing

As the disease progresses, more symptoms of pertussis typically appear including:

  • Fits of repeated, rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched “whoop”
  • Vomiting
  • Exhaustion after coughing fits

While not everyone with pertussis coughs or “whoops,” the characteristic sound is unmistakable and leaves its victims literally gasping for air.

Prevention: Hygiene

Just as with other respiratory illnesses, pertussis is spread from being in close contact with others who are infected who cough or sneeze near you. Practice good hygiene to stay healthy by:

  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Place your used tissue in the trash (not on the countertop)
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow (not your hands)
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • When a sink is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Prevention: Whooping Cough Vaccine (Tdap Pertussis)

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, the best way to protect against whooping cough (pertussis) is still to get a vaccine. eMedical Urgent Care offers the Tdap pertussis vaccine, which is recommended for all adults, teenagers, preteens and pregnant women who will be around a new baby. The CDC reports whooping cough vaccines are effective in 7 out of 10 people who get them within the first year, but the protection decreases over time. Only 3 or 4 people out of every 10 are protected after four years.

Learn more about eMedical Urgent Care services by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707.

Importance of Preventing Disease When Traveling and At Home

mutantstomachbugRecently in the news, a drug-resistant form of a bug that causes traveler’s diarrhea (called Shigella sonnei…or more commonly known as “Montezuma’s revenge”) is causing outbreaks in the United States.

Shigella is a common cause of diarrhea. The bacteria spread very easily through contaminated food or pools and ponds. Once easy to treat with antibiotics, the infection has taken on a mutant form and being carried into the U.S. by international travelers and spreading once it’s here. This antibiotic-resistant superbug is hard to treat because it spreads easily and the potential for more (and larger) outbreaks is a real concern. All of this makes it even more critical to prevent shigellosis from spreading.

5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Disease When Traveling

1. Drink bottled water when traveling outside the United States. Use bottled water for brushing teeth as well.
2. Be sure tea and coffee are made with boiled water.
3. If alcoholic drinks are consumed, ensure they are not served with ice cubes made from tap water in at-risk areas.
4. Beware of consuming fruits and vegetables that may have been washed in unsafe tap water. Try to eat produce you can peel yourself (like bananas and oranges).
5. Avoid buying food from street vendors and be careful of undercooked meat or seafood.

Preventing the Spread of Disease

Healthy habits can prevent germs and infectious diseases from spreading. Take the proper precautions, teach the healthy habits to children and you can decrease the risk of infecting yourself or others:
1. Get vaccinated. Immunization offers protection and saves lives. Vaccines can prevent many infectious diseases. You should get some vaccinations in childhood, some as an adult, and some for special situations like pregnancy and travel. Visit eMedical Urgent Care facilities to ensure you and your family are up-to-date on your vaccinations.
2. Avoid close contact and stay home when you are sick.
3. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Cough and sneeze into your sleeve – not your hands.
5. Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces and objects. Pay special attention to the “hot zones” like door handles, light switches, counters, toys and other high-traffic areas.

World Meningitis Day is April 24

Going to your local urgent care center and getting vaccinated is one of the easiest ways to fight preventable contagious diseases. The Confederation of Meningitis Organizations (CoMO) recognizes World Meningitis Day annually on April 24. Every year more than 1.2 million people suffer meningitis which is a disease that can affect anyone, anywhere and at any time. Vaccinations play an incredibly important role in the prevention of this deadly and most devastating disease. Vaccines have been effectively used for many years to protect against the three major causes of bacterial meningitis, commonly known as meningococcal, pneumococcal or Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib). Tragedy can be prevented and lives can be saved.

Contact the Middletown, NJ or Berkeley Heights, NJ eMedical Urgent Care today to learn more about vaccinations and how they can help protect you and your family.

Anti-Vaccination Movement Causing Growing Concerns

The anti-vaccination movement and the parents in favor of the movement, known as anti-vaxxers, have been in the news lately, particularly due to the measles outbreak at Disneyland in December and January.

More than 24 cases of measles have been linked to Disney theme parks in Southern California, and these parents are attracting widespread attention and vilification since measles was virtually eliminated from the U.S. nearly a decade ago and is now becoming prevalent again. The reported rising numbers (along with rising anxiety) proved that this highly contagious disease is still circulating around the world.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been at least 170 measles cases reported in 17 states including: California (113), Illinois (15), Michigan (1), Texas (1) Nevada (8), Washington (7) and Arizona (7), Pennsylvania (1), Utah (2) and New Jersey (2). As cases continue to stack up, so does the risk.

Anti-Vaxxers

Experts say that several (avoidable) diseases are now making a comeback due to anti-vaxxers who are opposed to vaccinating their children. According to the CDC’s findings, the following 10 states have the highest rates of children enrolled in kindergarten with a reported exemption to vaccination which is a direct reflection of the states listed above with the most measles cases reported:

1. California
2. Illinois
3. Michigan
4. Texas
5. Florida
6. Washington
7. Arizona
8. Oregon
9. Pennsylvania
10. Utah

Symptoms of Measles

The highly contagious virus can take four to 12 days for symptoms to appear and before you even notice the symptoms and recognize it as measles, you can be infecting other people. Measles starts as a fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis (pinkeye) and a red, pinpoint rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. If the virus infects the lungs, it can cause pneumonia. Measles in older children can lead to inflammation of the brain, called encephalitis, which can cause seizures and brain damage. Measles kills about once in every 1,000 cases.

Vaccines Prevent Disease and Save Lives

Going into your local urgent care center and getting vaccinated is one of the easiest ways to fight preventable contagious diseases. Vaccination acts as a firewall in the spread of disease, preventing further transmission of the disease. The more individuals who are resistant to disease, the smaller the probability that a susceptible individual will come into contact with an infectious individual, which is called herd immunity. The principle of herd immunity, also known as community immunity, applies to a variety of contagious diseases, including measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, influenza and pneumococcal disease.

The MMR vaccine is a two-part vaccination recommended for all children. It protects against three serious illnesses (measles, mumps and rubella). Two doses of this vaccine can provide 97% protection against infection and is proven safe by the CDC. eMedical Urgent Care offers MMR vaccines to both children and adults (adults may first take a simple blood test, an antibody titer, to find out whether they are already immune to these three diseases).

If you have an unvaccinated child (or are unvaccinated yourself), contact the Middletown or Berkeley Heights, NJ eMedical Urgent Care today to learn more about vaccinations like the MMR and how it can help protect you and your family from the resurgence of measles in America.