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.

7 Secrets Every eMedical Urgent Care Physician in NJ Wants You to Know

Urgent Care Physician in NJWhether you wake up sick on New Year’s Day, take a spill on the ice or need a fast physical eMedical Urgent Care is your best bet to get treated quickly. But there are probably some things you didn’t know about us. Here are seven secrets every eMedical Urgent Care physician in NJ wants you to know:

7 Secrets Every Urgent Care Physician in NJ Wants You to Know

1. You Don’t Need an Appointment

The next time your regular doc tells you it will be months before you can get an appointment, walk-in and see us; we may be able to help. We offer complete urgent care, onsite laboratory and X-ray services at both of our centers and we’ll even electronically send your visit information to your primary care doctor on request. No appointment necessary.

2. We’ll Even See You on a Holiday

Illnesses and injuries don’t take a holiday vacation. Which is why we’re open seven days a week, including holidays! Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and other national and religious holidays, we’re open!

Our Berkeley Heights clinic is normally open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. seven days a week. The Middletown clinic is normally open Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

3. You May Be Surprised By What We Can Treat

If you’re concerned about a fracture or broken bone, the ER is not your only choice. We are equipped with state-of-the-art X-ray technology so our staff can explore every possible source of your pain during the visit. We’ll also provide IV fluids for dehydration and routine annual physicals that you may need to get quickly for work, school or a sports team.

4. We Provide Workplace Health Services

As a full-service, physician-staffed resource for workplace medicine, we’re here to support New Jersey employers. From medical exams and pre-employment testing to D.O.T. physicals and worker’s compensation services, we’ll help you custom-design a workplace program, provide compliance support and manage costs.

5. You Won’t Wait Long

At eMedical, you’ll receive the same quality care you’d receive at an emergency room…but without the long wait and expenses. Since emergency rooms attract people with life-threatening ailments, you could be waiting as long as 4 hours before being seen by a physician. Our pledge is that you’ll be seen by one of our professional providers within 30 minutes on average.

6. We Offer Autism-Friendly Services

eMedical Urgent Care has specially trained staff and an autism-friendly urgent care examination room located away from the bustling nurses’ station and public waiting area. Our autism-friendly urgent care room is equipped with iPad apps that help our staff communicate with patients who have autism as well as others who may have verbal impairments.

7. No Insurance? No Worries.

If you don’t have insurance, we offer affordable prices though our eCard membership. This discounted cost for your office visit is only $89 (compared to the usual office visit cost of $140-183).

Find Your Trusted Urgent Care Physician in NJ at eMedical

Looking for a trusted Urgent Care Physician in NJ? eMedical Urgent Care has two locations in New Jersey, both of which are prepared to handle the full spectrum of you and your family’s urgent care needs. From pediatrics to work physicals to those unfortunate accidents that may result in a sprain or even broken bones, we provide the best medical care. Fast.

Call to learn more about our services in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, (908) 464-6700, and Middletown, New Jersey, (732) 957-0707.

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.

Get Rid of Head Lice For Good!

Head LiceBack to school is a very busy and exciting time as our children are exposed to a new curriculum, new teachers and new friends. But it’s also a time of the year when our kids are exposed to new germs and new health concerns such as head lice. Second only to the common cold, an infestation of these contagious parasites is a leading cause of absenteeism among elementary school children.

Head Lice Considered “Super Lice”

Head lice is not an indication of poor personal hygiene; they actually thrive in clean environments. Infestations can happen to anyone, regardless of age, social status or hair length. And now some are even calling lice “the new four letter word” as these tiny bugs are becoming more and more immune to over the counter treatments. They’re turning into indestructible “mutants” that are overwhelming parents nationwide.

A new report from the Journal of Medical Entomology says that “super lice” have turned up in more than 42 states where 100% of the lice tested were resistant to over-the-counter treatments. Six other states, including New Jersey, found lice to be resistant to OTC treatments.

Back to school after summer and after winter vacations are the busiest time for head lice, so you’ll want to be prepared with an alternative treatment plan.

Alternative Treatments for Head Lice

  1. Metal Tooth Lice Comb- Combing is one of the best ways to get rid of head lice. You must be thorough, so expect to spend at least an hour on a full head of hair. Do this once a week for 3 weeks.
  2. Olive Oil or Coconut Oil- Apply to your child’s scalp and hair and leave it in overnight under a shower cap. The oils will smother the lice. In the morning, use the nit comb to comb out the dead bugs.
  3. Essential Oils- Mix 2 ounces of olive oil or coconut oil with 15 to 20 drops of an essential oil. Apply to the scalp with cotton balls. Leave this mixture on the scalp and hair overnight, or for at least 12 hours. The best oils to use are tea tree oil, lavender, clove, eucalyptus, aniseed, cinnamon leaf, red thyme, peppermint and nutmeg.
  4. Lice Preventive Shampoo- Stock up on a few bottles for the entire household. Keep hair in braids, puns or pony tails and never. stop. checking.

While treating heads, it’s just as important to remove any nits or lice that may be hiding in your home. Be sure to vacuum areas of the house and any furniture that was exposed. Wash clothing, towels, sheets, hats, coats, etc., in hot water and dry using high heat. Vacuum car seats and put backpacks, stuffed animals and helmets into the freezer overnight.

Last but not least, do not be afraid to tell the school nurse, coach or daycare provider so they can check the rest of the class or team and notify parents. Those who are too afraid to utter that “four-letter word” inadvertently allow the spread to continue.

So, are you scratching your head yet?

eMedical Urgent Care Walk-In Treatments

The good news is that lice cannot fly or jump, they’re spread from one person to another by head to head contact. The adult lice can live up to 30 days on your or your child’s head, while making a home in your hair, each louse can lay up to 8 eggs per day. Those eggs (called nits) hatch within a week and mature a week after hatching. Without a host head, a louse lives only a day or two and nits will only survive a week; they need body heat to grow and hatch.

If you or your child still has head lice after two treatments, sores on the scalp, a fever or swollen neck lymph nodes, visit eMedical Urgent Care. Walk-in care is available at our locations in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707 with convenient hours designed to fit your busy schedule.

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.

5 Tips for Summer Lawn Mower Safety

Summer Lawn Mower Safety TipsMowing the lawn can either feel like a chore or a time to relax and connect with nature. Either way, the sight and fragrance of freshly cut grass is pleasant to most, but without the proper precautions, lawn care can be a dangerous activity. Whether you’re gardening, mowing, mulching, planting or weeding, appropriate precautions and adequate protection can go a long way toward safe summer work. These 5 lawnmower safety tips will help you tackle the last of summer’s yard chores.

1. Schedule Your Outdoor Chores

Plan your yard work around the coolest parts of the day to avoid overheating. Sunlight exposure (and exposure to UV rays) is greatest when the sun is at its highest in the sky between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

2. Wear Proper Attire

Although outdoor safety apparel may not be the most fashionable, wearing the appropriate attire when you’re doing yard work can prevent a number of injuries including the prevention of burns, stings, bites and rashes. Long pants and long-sleeved shirts will reduce mosquito and tick bites and minimize contact with potential poisonous plants like poison ivy or poison oak. Go ahead and put on that wide-brimmed hat to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays and defend against ticks as well. And although it’s not fun to think about, consider tucking your pant legs into your socks to avoid any creepy crawly up-the-leg guests.

3. Stay Hydrated

Hard work and high temperatures can quickly lead to dehydration. Drink before you get thirsty and avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and sugar. Untreated dehydration can lead to heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat stroke. Take regular breaks in the shade and keep your water bottle handy.

4. Never Reach Under

Here’s a scary stat: Underneath a lawnmower deck, the steel cutting blade spins at more than 2,000 revolutions per minute (upwards of 200 m.p.h.). According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “The energy transferred by a typical lawn mower blade is equivalent to being shot in the hand with a .357 magnum pistol.” That is certainly enough to mangle a hand or foot. Never run the mower without safety equipment (dead-man switch, blade brake, chute guard, etc.).

5. Prevent Projectiles

Before you turn on the mower, check the lawn for loose objects (rocks or toys) that could turn into projectiles if they become stuck. Be aware of your surroundings while the mower is in motion and keep children and pets a safe distance away to prevent a serious injury. Wear shades or safety glasses to protect against eye injuries and also block UV radiation.

Call on eMedical Urgent Care

Yard chores are a must for every home-owner and with the proper safety tips, it can actually be an enjoyable experience. In the case of an accident, never hesitate to contact EMO Middletown NJ (732) 957-0707 or EMO Berkeley Heights (908) 464-6700 for quick and reliable urgent care assistance!