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.

Top 12 Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is one of the most anticipated evenings of the year for kids (candy, costumes, and fun with friends). But unfortunately, some pretty chilling statistics correspond with this scary night.  No matter how peaceful you think your neighborhood might be, parents should always take precautions and be on guard; children 12 and under should always be accompanied by an adult when trick or treating. The physicians at eMedical Urgent Care walk-in doctors office are parents too and we want all the little vampires, goblins, superheroes and princesses to enjoy a safe and spooky Halloween (injury free) with these simple safety tips below.

Halloween Safety TipsScary Halloween Stats

  • One common danger on Halloween includes car accidents. In fact, SafeKids Worldwide reveals that children are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other day.
  • Fright-night fires, jack-o-lanterns and burns from flammable costumes also lead to injuries and even death.
  • Allergic reactions can occur from Halloween makeup as well as unknown ingredients from the candy stash, such as peanuts. And of course, overindulging in too much candy (or alcohol) can lead to stomach aches and nausea. So keep it to a moderation.
  • Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury on Halloween night according to the National safety Council. Many trick-or-treaters will trip and fall leading to cuts, bruises and even broken bones.

It is recommend that children “trick-or-treat” at organized Halloween festivities, such as local churches, shopping malls or schools so children keep constant adult supervision and don’t end up walking in the dark.

Tips for a Safe Halloween

  1. Children under the age of 12 should always be accompanied by a parent on the neighborhood rounds.
  2. Walk on sidewalks and obeys all traffic signals (remember, pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween).
  3. Remind your child the potential dangers of strangers and make sure they know to never talk to or accept rides from strangers.
  4. Plan costumes that are bright and reflective (consider adding reflective tape to the costumes).
  5. Avoid costumes that could cause children to trip, such as baggy pants, long hems, high heels and oversized shoes.
  6. Avoid costumes that obstruct the child’s sight such as masks and long wigs.
  7. Look for costumes and wigs that are made of flame-resistant materials, such as nylon or polyester.
  8. Keep candlelit Jack-O-Lanterns away from children to prevent burns (place on a sturdy table away from curtains and never leave it unattended).
  9. Sort all candy before your child eats it. Avoid candy that is not wrapped in its original wrapper, as well as fruit.
  10. Stay in well-lit, familiar neighborhoods and carry a flashlight (never assume the right of way).
  11. Check accessories such as swords, knives, wands and other pointed objects.  Make sure they are made from flexible materials and have dulled edges.
  12. Teach your children how to call 9-1-1 if they have an emergency or become lost.


No Appointments Necessary!

Everyone loves a good scare on Halloween, but not when it comes to child safety. Take these tips into consideration when you’re out trick or treating with the kids. And if your night takes a turn for the worse and you’re facing an urgent situation, eMedical Urgent Care walk-in doctors office is here to help (open 7 days a week, without the long waits and expenses) in two locations: Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, and Middletown, New Jersey. Bring your zombies, witches and ghosts…feel better knowing we’re here.

In a Rush? Visit eMedical Weekend Doctor’s Office For a Quick and Easy Drive-Thru Flu Clinic

Drive-Thru Flu ClinicIt’s the weekend and you have to drop the kids off at soccer practice or maybe a swim meet, hit the grocery store, take the kids to a birthday party, finish home projects, and so much more! Most of our board-certified physicians are parents too…we get it. Which is why eMedical Urgent Care offers weekend doctor’s office hours as well as two drive-thru flu clinics in Middletown and Berkeley Heights to conveniently fit your busy schedule.

Drive-Thru Flu Clinic: What to Expect?

The process is simple and takes only 1-2 minutes to complete (leaving you enough time to grab a coffee before picking your kids up from practice!) During this popular vaccination event, participants will drive into the urgent care center’s parking lot where they will be greeted by a staff member. After reading and signing a consent form, participants will be asked to roll up their sleeves to receive a flu shot while remaining seated in their vehicles. It is very convenient and essentially no different than receiving it in the office. Clinics will be held on October 3 in Middletown and October 10 in Berkeley Heights from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Flu Vaccinations Protect

Wondering if getting a flu vaccination is right for you? Consider this: Vaccination is the main way to protect yourself from the flu. Since 2010, the recommendation from the CDC has been to vaccinate all individuals older than 6 months. If you are a young and healthy adult, the reason for this is not only to reduce your own chance of getting infected, but also to protect the people in your life who might be more prone to flu complications, such as children, elderly and people with chronic diseases.

Benefits of the Flu Shot

​The best way to avoid or minimize the severity of the flu is by getting your annual flu shot. Recent studies by CDC researchers and other experts indicate that flu vaccine reduces the risk of doctor visits due to flu by approximately 60% among the overall population when the vaccine viruses are like the ones spreading in the community. A few benefits of getting a flu vaccine include:

• Flu prevention for yourself and others around you.
• Protect those around you who are at greater risk of getting seriously ill (such as young children and those with chronic health conditions).
• If you do get sick, a flu vaccine may make your illness milder.
• Reduces time lost from work.
• Decreases antibiotic use.

Many assume that if they’re generally a healthy person they don’t need the vaccine. But one in five Americans will get the flu this winter- protecting yourself with the flu vaccine is your best line of defense.

Protect Your Family with the Flu Shot Vaccination from eMedical

Flu season typically runs from September through February, during which time we encourage you to come see us for your flu shot. Get your family’s flu shots early and alleviate the worry when fighting to stay healthy during flu season. The offices are open seven days a week, 365 days a year, including evenings, weekends and holidays. For more information, visit http://www.emedicaloffices.com.

Is Your Stomach Ache from Food Poisoning or a Stomach Bug?

Stomach Ache

We’ve all had those days when your stomach is twisting and churning…unsure if you just ate some bad seafood or if you’re feeling the symptoms of the stomach flu. Take a look at the differences below and learn ways to keep your belly happy.

What is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is an illness caused by bacteria or other toxins in food and causes vomiting and/or diarrhea. Food poisoning causes an estimated 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s difficult to tell the difference between food poisoning and the flu because they both have very similar symptoms.

How Does Food Become Contaminated?

  • Meat and poultry carcasses can become contaminated during slaughter
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables can be contaminated if they are washed or irrigated with contaminated water
  • Salmonella can infect a hen’s ovary causing an egg to be contaminated before the shell is even formed
  • Filter feeding shellfish can become contaminated when bacteria is present in the sea water or if human sewage is dumped into the sea
  • If a food handler does not wash his or her hands while being infected with a virus
  • If a food handler uses the same knife, cutting board, or other utensils without washing work stations in between preparing meals
  • Food left out over night can become highly contaminated

Most Common Foodborne Infections

Campylobacter: a bacterium causing fevers, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Eating undercooked chicken or other food that has been contaminated with drippings from raw chicken will bring this pathogen into your body.
Clostridium Perfringens: a bacterium that produces a toxin causing abdominal pains followed by diarrhea. It is commonly found in raw meat and poultry.
Salmonella: a bacterium that causes fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. It is carried in the intestines of birds, reptiles and mammals and is spread to the humans by eating foods with animal origin. If a person has a weakened immune system, it may invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections.

Viral Gastroenteritis (aka: The Stomach Bug)

The stomach bug, also known as the stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis, is unrelated to influenza viruses which cause respiratory illnesses as opposed to gastrointestinal. Gastroenteritis refers to the inflammation of the stomach and intestines and the most common cause in the U.S. is from the norovirus which spreads easily and quickly.

How Does the Stomach Bug Spread?

These viruses are transmitted through the fecal-oral route and can also be transmitted by ingesting contaminated food or liquids. The norovirus can survive on household surfaces for up to 2 weeks and can even survive some disinfectants, making it difficult to eradicate. Gastroenteritis symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea.

Preventing Food Poisoning and the Stomach Bug

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces where you will be preparing foods
  • Wrap raw meat securely and keep it stored away from other foods
  • Use a meat thermometer when grilling meats. Grilling meat may appear cooked on the outside, but it may not be cooked on the inside.
  • Don’t cross contaminate different foods
  • Keep everything refrigerated or frozen
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables to remove visible dirt and grime
  • Stay home if you are sick

Diagnosis and Treatment

Food poisoning and the flu can be very serious, and it can be extremely difficult to know for sure which illness you have, so it is best to be cautious and assume you are contagious. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above symptoms, visit one of our eMedical Urgent Care offices in Berkeley Heights or Middletown, NJ to discuss your history, review symptoms and evaluate complications of vomiting and diarrhea such as dehydration. We will help diagnose and treat you to make you feel like yourself again! Learn more about our services by contacting us today! eMedical Urgent care is a great alternative when your primary care provider is not available. We can electronically send your visit information to your primary care provider upon request.

Tips for Identifying and Preventing Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration

Some say, “By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.” Staying hydrated is very Heat Exhaustionimportant in the hot New Jersey summer months, especially if your body is trying to fight off an illness, if you’re engaging in physically activity, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

eMedical Urgent Care can help you understand and identify the signs and symptoms of heat illnesses, how to treat them and (most importantly) how to protect yourself and your child against the dangers of becoming dehydrated in the first place. So, grab your water bottle and read on to enjoy a hydrated and happy summer.

Dehydration

Signs of dehydration do in fact include the sensation of thirst and a dry mouth (cotton mouth) as well as dry skin, decreased or yellow urine, headaches and dizziness. Severe dehydration also can cause extreme thirst, fatigue, irritability and confusion. Since your body can lose fluids through sweat, urination, diarrhea or vomiting, it’s best to replenish before activity, at regular intervals during and continue drinking water after exercise.

Dehydration can be expressed as the loss of percentage of body weight. Scientists define dehydration as fluid losses greater than only one percent. Water is lost first from the blood, which is 90% water. (Dehydration can become fatal when 9-12% of your body weight is lost via fluids.) On the average, water makes up 60 to 70% of your body weight. Different cells contain different percentages of water, for example: muscle cells are 70 to 75% water whereas fat cells are only 10 to 15% water. Therefore, a muscular person will have a larger percentage of his or her body weight coming from water.

What is Heat Exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion is a condition that generally includes intense sweating and an increased heart rate due to your body’s response to overheating. It is usually caused from a prolonged exposure to hot temperatures (especially when involved in physical activity and high levels of humidity).

Common symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Intense sweating
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness / fainting
  • Significant increase in heart rate
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Sudden headache

Other Heat-Related Illnesses

In addition to heat exhaustion, untreated dehydration can lead to two other heat-related illnesses including heat cramps and heat stroke. Heat cramps are the least aggressive of the three and include painful cramps of the abdominals, arms or legs. Heat stroke requires immediate care and includes severe symptoms such as 104 temperature or higher, nausea, vomiting, seizures, disorientation, lack of sweating, shortness of breath, unconsciousness and could even lead to a coma.

Don’t Let Your Body Fool You, Stay Hydrated!

It’s even easier to dehydrate during the hot summer months when sweat evaporates faster and losing large amounts of fluids might not be as noticeable. According to the old rule of thumb, drink eight glasses of water per day (some experts recommend even more), but you also can quench your thirst by consuming hydrating foods (all of which are at least 90% water by weight) including: cucumber, lettuce, celery, radishes, tomatoes, green peppers, cauliflower, watermelon, spinach, star fruit, strawberries, broccoli, grapefruit, carrots and cantaloupe.

Replenish Fluids and Electrolytes

Remember, anyone may become dehydrated, but young children, older adults and people with chronic illnesses are most at risk. If you or a loved one experience any of the symptoms above, it is important to seek shade, rest and drink plenty of hydrating fluids. Extreme dehydration and heat stroke are medical emergencies that require immediate attention, possibly including a saline IV. Don’t ever hesitate to seek medical attention from the doctors at eMedical Urgent Care in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707.

Getting Medical Care While On Vacation

Medical Care On VacationVacations are supposed to be a relaxing time spent away from the daily stressors so you can enjoy more fun-filled time with your family and friends. However, there are times when illnesses or accidents occur that can bring the focus away from your trip to the Jersey shore to finding the appropriate medical care. If you are visiting from out of state or perhaps you are hosting friends or family from out out-of-town, rest assured that if someone gets injured or becomes ill, they will be provided with great doctors and great care at eMedical Urgent Care.

Get Medical Treatment Right Away

Whether your child has a sore throat on your trip to Point Pleasant or you are thrown by a wave and injure your ankle while paddle boarding on the Navesink River, it’s important to seek the necessary medical care you need when you need it. You don’t need to wait days (or weeks) to see your hometown doctor when you can be seen by our emergency medicine physicians right away. We provide great care seven days a week without the long waits and expenses. Even on weekends, evenings and holidays we‘re here; our convenient hours are designed to fit your schedule. We pledge that, on average, you’ll be seen by one of our professional providers within 30 minutes.Visiting eMedical Urgent Care allows you to been seen by a doctor quickly who will assess your condition so you can be on the road to recovery…and get back to the beach.

Save Money on Quality Care

Emergency room visits can be very expensive. This can become even more pricy if you go to a hospital’s ER when on vacation because many insurance plans have steep charges for out-of-network coverage of treatment for injuries or illness. Choosing eMedical urgent care instead of going to the emergency room can save you the shock of an outrageously high bill when you get home. As your Middletown and Berkeley Heights urgent care facility, eMedical helps you get the medical care you need without worrying about costs. We work with a number of health insurance providers; call to confirm coverage of your visit and learn more about the services we offer.
As an affordable option for the uninsured, we also offer a discount eCard program.

Enjoy Your New Jersey Vacation

Getting ill or injured while on vacation or even traveling on business can be frustrating. Rather than waiting for hours in an emergency room, you can ensure that you and your loved ones will receive the treatment that’s needed, when it’s needed. 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.

Feel better knowing we’re here.

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.