What Are the Worst Months for Allergies in NJ? Your Guide To Finding Relief

Allergy Season MonthsThe flowering trees are gorgeous but the tree pollen counts combined with windy days makes for some seriously miserable allergy symptoms. Pass the tissue, please! Here in New Jersey, we’ve already started into the allergy season month and many residents have been feeling the effects for weeks…and it’s more than just a sneeze and itchy eyes. In fact, 55 percent of employees report calling in sick to work because of their allergies.

Understand the Difference: Spring Allergies or Common Cold

Understanding the differences between a common cold and environmental allergies will help you choose the best treatment. Unlike allergies, the common cold is caused by a virus, while allergy symptoms are a result of immune system responses to allergens like pollen, dust, or even pet dander. With more than 50 million Americans suffering from allergies and more than 1 billion colds every year, how do you tell the difference between the two?

It can be tough to spot. But the best way to make a distinction between the two is the duration of the symptoms. A cold will typically last no more than 10 days, while allergies can affect people for months on end. If you experience persistent mild, cold-like symptoms that are unaccompanied by a fever, it might be allergies. And colds may cause aches and pains, symptoms usually not associated with allergies.

Many patients dealing with allergies also suffer from asthma, as these two conditions commonly occur together. But thankfully, you can find a little relief during the allergy season months with a few simple tips.

Spring Cleaning Goes a Long Way

Cleaning everything in your home, including your washing machine, can help to manage allergies but don’t use a feather duster. While you should be dusting every week, a dry rag…or worse, a feather duster, is worse than not dusting at all. Use a wet cloth to trap the dust instead of sending it into the air.

Go Green

We’re talking about green plants here. NASA research has suggested that some houseplants, like the corn plant (also known as the mass cane), may help to clean the air of contaminants such as formaldehyde—an irritant that can make you more sensitive to allergens. Plants may even help to remove particles from the air: One study showed that in a small office, they reduced dust by up to 20 percent! But keep an eye out for rotten leaves that can be a sign of overwatering to keep mold away.

Stay Indoors

Try to stay indoors when the pollen counts are high and keep your windows closed at night and if possible, use air conditioning, which cleans, cools and dries the air. Also, when you’re in the car, keep your windows closed to prevent pollen from coming in. This doesn’t mean you have to live in a plastic bubble, but if you limit the time you’re around your triggers, it should help lighten your symptoms.

Use a Pillow Cover

Dust mites are one of the most common causes of year-round allergies, and given that their favorite food is human and pet skin cells, it’s no surprise that they thrive in beds. To fight these little critters, get an allergen-proof encasing for your pillows, comforters, mattresses and box springs.

eMedical Urgent Care Walk-In Clinic

eMedical Urgent Care can help you differentiate the cause of your symptoms if you are unsure or have never experienced allergy symptoms before. Our emergency medicine physicians provide urgent medical care 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.

Flu Activity in New Jersey Hitting Peak Later Than Usual

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

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

Flu Vaccinations Are Your Best Defense

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

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

Who’s At Risk?

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

Symptoms

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

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

Prevention

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

Flu Shots and Treatment at eMedical

For your flu shot or if you feel that you have symptoms of the flu, it’s important to see a doctor. Our convenient hours are designed to fit your schedule. Learn more about our services and how we can treat you by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707.

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

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

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

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

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

Walk-In Clinic vs ER

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

Protect Yourself from the Flu Virus

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get Medical Treatment Right Away

Most of our pediatric physicians are parents too, so we understand the importance of keeping our tiny humans happy and healthy. After school, or on weekends, we‘re here. Patients are seen on a walk-in basis without appointment. Our convenient hours are designed to fit your schedule. Learn more about our services and how we can treat you by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707.

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.

Flu Season Doesn’t Take Days Off (and neither do we)!

Changing leaves, pumpkin spiced lattes and…the flu. Yes, flu and cold season is upon us (again). But this year, give all those aches, sore throats, chills and fevers the cold shoulder by getting your annual flu shot.

Flu season has already begun; the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises on getting a flu shot at the start of the season to ensure you’re completely protected from the influenza virus. Luckily, eMedical Urgent Care offers convenient hours – we are an after-hours doctor’s office and open on the weekend as well – to allow you to be seen when you need it most.

Protect Against the Flu Epidemic

Did you know that according to the CDC, rates of the influenza virus are climbing quicker than the past 3 years, and are on track for a particularly brutal flu season? Not only that, but as of late December last year, enough cases were reported nation-wide to declare the 2014-2015 flu outbreak an “epidemic”.

Flu shots are your best protection against the flu. And because the influenza virus(es) changes every season, it’s important to get vaccinated every year. In addition to getting vaccinated, you can do more to fight the flu with a few healthy steps:

  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your elbow when you sneeze to avoid spreading germs.
  • Keep surfaces and objects clean and disinfected. Wash pretty much everything you touch including phones, microwaves, keyboards, doorknobs, light switches, bed rails, remotes, toys, etc.
  • Avoid close contact with others who are ill. A recent study from MIT revealed that infections droplets from coughs and sneezes travel much farther distances that previously thought. If someone near you sneezes, turn your head away!
  • Rethink that drink. Excessive alcohol suppresses the immune system reducing the body’s ability to fight off bacteria.
  • Steer clear of sugars which slow your body’s defense system (similar to alcohol) from destroying bacteria and viruses.
  • Get some fresh air (yes, even if it’s cold out). One of the reasons we get sick more often in the winter is because we’re sharing more recycled air. Open a window or take a walk outside – just be sure to bundle up! Also, consider investing in an air purifier to remove or inactivate bacteria and viruses in your home.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are sick to avoid spreading the sickness to others.

How Do You Know if You Have the Flu?

Symptoms of the common cold and the flu can often be confused. But common symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose or congestion
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting

What if I get the Flu?

Getting the flu is common, and in most cases with proper rest, hydration and over-the-counter treatment, symptoms should diminish in a few days. For high-risk individuals (children under two, adults over 65, pregnant women, those who are already sick), anti-viral prescription drugs may need to be prescribed by a doctor.

It’s important for eMedical Urgent Care patients to keep in mind that an influenza infection will affect everyone differently; for some of us, it could be just a low fever and body aches, but for others, it could result in other health related issues such as upper respiratory infection (URI) and even hospitalization. When in doubt, always contact a physician immediately.

While visiting a walk-in medical clinic for treatment after symptoms arise is always an option, eMedical recommends taking preventative measures by getting your flu shots early on in the season. Don’t wait for the attack of the brutal flu season. Protect you and your children with a flu shot, today. Because… the flu doesn’t take days off, and neither do we.

Prevention, Signs and Symptoms of Acute Upper Respiratory Infections

Prevention, Signs and Symptoms of the Common Cold | Weekend Doctor's Office, eMedicalViral upper respiratory infections (URI), also known as the common cold, can hit us in different degrees of severity and cause uncomfortable symptoms in the ears, sinuses, throat and nose. It’s one of the most common illnesses, leading to more doctor visits and school/work absences than any other illness. When a cold hits, you can’t afford to wait until Monday morning to be seen by a doctor. That’s why at eMedical Urgent Care we offer convenient hours; our weekend doctor’s office will see you when you need it most.

What is Acute Upper Respiratory Infection?

Acute Upper Respiratory Infections are common in adults and in children alike and can happen any time of the year. It’s estimated that during a one-year period, people in the U.S. will suffer 1 billion colds. That’s a lot of sniffles! This contagious virus of your upper respiratory tract (including the nose, throat, pharynx, larynx, and bronchi) causes inflammation and swelling of the mucus membrane lining of the nose and throat. It can be the result of more than 200 different viruses; however, the rhinovirus causes the majority of all colds.

Who is at Risk for an Acute URI?

  • Those with a weakened immune system are at a higher risk to catch a cold.
  • Most children will develop at least six to eight colds a year.
  • People who are in hospitals, institutions, schools and daycare centers have increased risk because of close contact.
  • Colds may occur less frequently after the age of 6.
  • Adults get colds about 2 to 4 times a year.

When is the “Cold” Season?

Seasons with low humidity tend to increase the risk of catching an acute upper respiratory infection. Fall and winter (September to March) is the typical cold and flu season. People are more likely to be inside (in close quarters) with the low humidity indoor heating that favors survival of many viruses. Dry nasal passages can also increase vulnerability to infections.

What Causes URI?

The common cold is a contagious illness that can be caused by a number of different viruses. You can catch it from another person who is infected with the virus. This happens if you physically touch that person or if you touch a surface (phone, doorknob, or table) that the infected individual touched and then touch your nose or mouth. You can also catch it if you’re near someone who sneezes into the air. When the virus enters your body, it attaches to the lining of your nose or throat and causes a reaction. The body’s immune system (the body’s defense system) responds to this foreign virus by:

  • Increasing mucus production (runny nose)
  • Swelling of the lining of the nose (congestion and difficulty breathing)
  • Causing irritation in the nose (sneezing)
  • Increasing mucus drainage down the throat (coughing)

URI Prevention

Prevention is key. URIs spread from one person to another through aerosol droplets and direct hand-to-hand contact. Amazingly, about 80% of contagious diseases are transmitted by touch. Your best protection from the common cold and flu is frequent hand washing.

Vaccination may also help prevent URIs, mostly against Influenza viruses, Adenoviruses, Measles, Rubella, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Diphtheria, Bacillus anthracis, and Bordetella pertussis.

Signs and Symptoms or URI

Symptoms of a cold can start from 1 to 3 days after contact. Usually the symptoms last one to two weeks. Symptoms may include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Congestion
  • Low grade fever
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Scratchy throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat and cough
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

Since the symptoms of the common cold may resemble other conditions or medical problems, it’s important to consult with a physician for a diagnosis.

Treatment for URI

It’s important to remember that the common cold does not have a cure. Antibiotics may not necessarily treat the infection, but medications can help to relieve the symptoms. Some people benefit from cough suppressants, expectorants, vitamin C, zinc, nasal decongestants, steam inhalation, salt water gargling and acetaminophen to help reduce fever, aches and pains. If the infection is bacterial, such as sinusitis or strep, medical intervention is required.

Do I need an Appointment at eMedical Urgent Care?

After work, or on weekends, we‘re here. Our convenient walk-in hours are designed to fit your schedule. If you or your child becomes ill, don’t wait. Our experienced providers can diagnose and treat your urgent conditions quickly and expertly. Come see us for common illnesses, ailments, injuries and work-related issues. No appointment needed.

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

Preventing the Common Cold

Although the common cold is not life threatening, it can cause a disruption in your daily routine, sleep and even work productivity…and yes, they even occur during the carefree summer months. Prevention is key.

Preventing Summertime Sickness

According to the CDC, proper handwashing can prevent the spread of microbes (also known as germs) that can cause disease.

Hand Washing Routinereading-sick-child-best-medicine-1 (1)

Always wash your hands before eating, after your children play outside and whenever coming home after being in public. Germs are everywhere and simply by washing your hands, you can prevent the common cold. It’s common knowledge that washing your hands often and well is the best way to prevent disease transmission, but unfortunately too many simply rinse with running water while ignoring the importance of soaping up. Proper hand washing should take at least 20 seconds of thorough soap scrubbing.

According to Global Handwashing, germs than can cause diseases lodge in dirt, grease, and the natural oils on hands. Water alone does not dislodge them, but adding soap helps break down germ-carrying oils, and soap facilitates rubbing and friction which can remove germs form the hands, and can then be rinsed away with water. Hand sanitizer can help for on-the-go cleanliness.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water! Especially during the summer months, staying hydrated is vital to staying healthy. Make sure your children are drinking at least 6-8 ounces of water a day; and remember to replace lost sweat with extra liquids. A healthy diet and proper hydration keeps your body’s immune system functioning efficiently. Staying hydrated also goes a long way in maintaining long-term health.

Be Aware

When you’re in public there’s no doubt you will come in contact with some foreign bacteria. If you’re in a crowded public area, be sure to take extra care of other people. Colds are contagious so be sure to avoid sneezers and coughers at all costs; wash your hands immediately after being in contact with an individual who may be ill.

Good Night’s Sleep

Make sure your children get a good night’s sleep to help prevent pesky summertime sicknesses. A recent study showed that those who get less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep (10 hours for children) are more likely to become ill. Sleep is important for everyone and critical for your body to recover.

Visit eMedical Urgent Care

If your child is suffering from a summertime cold, you have options. eMedical Urgent Care 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! If your child has cold symptoms that won’t go away, it could be allergies or something worse than just a cold. Don’t take the risk; visit the eMedical offices in Middletown or Berkeley Heights NJ today.