Zika Virus in NJ: Here’s What You Need To Know

Zika Virus in NJBelieved to be more harmful than originally thought, federal and state health officials are saying that the Zika virus in NJ could be a bigger threat than you think. If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, it seems that the Zika virus is everywhere…including New Jersey. It’s officially the newest health scare.

About the Zika Virus

According to the CDC, Zika virus disease (Zika) is a disease caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito; many people might not realize they have been infected.

Disease Transmission

And it’s not just mosquito-borne; it can also be passed among humans via sexual contact. A recent discovery found that men, who are now known to transmit the disease through sex, seem to retain the virus in their sperm. Since symptoms are so mild, if present at all, many carriers of the virus may pass it along without realizing they were infected. As with women, men often don’t know they have the disease. While the virus may leave their bloodstream in under two weeks, new research indicates Zika can remain in a man’s sperm for up to six months.

The Link Between Zika Virus and Microcephaly

Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly – unusually small heads and often damaged brains- in babies, as well as other severe fetal brain defects. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.

Protect Against the Zika Virus in NJ

The most effective way to protect yourself from the Zika virus is to prevent mosquito bites.

  • Prep your home. Get rid of standing water where mosquitoes can breed. Just one tablespoon of water can serve as a mosquito breeding ground and produce up to 300 mosquitoes.
  • Pick the right mosquito repellent. Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol. Importantly, don’t forget to spritz your feet and ankles. The mosquito that carries Zika virus, the Aedes variety, has a particular attraction to feet.
  • Repel with your clothes. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to protect from mosquito bites and protect your head with a hat and sunglasses.
  • Travel smart. The best way to avoid Zika virus is to avoid affected areas. Consider postponing travel to affected countries. If your trip is already scheduled, check options with your airline. Three major domestic carriers—United, Delta and American Airlines—are allowing qualified passengers to rebook their trips without cancellation fees.

The mosquitoes were once thought to be a threat to only the southern areas of the United States, but the CDC maps shows the mosquitoes reaching as far as New York City, New Jersey, southern Pennsylvania and California. For an updated list of areas in the United States with the virus, visit the CDC website.

eMedical Urgent Care

Like most diseases, certain people are more susceptible to the Zika virus than others, such as the elderly, sick and young children. If you have been bitten by a mosquito and experience any of the symptoms listed above, you should seek medical attention immediately. Be sure to tell your physician if and where you’ve traveled, as there are specialized blood tests that can detect Zika or other related viruses.

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.

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.

Ear Infections and How to Spot Them in Your Child

Spotting an Ear Infection in Your ChildNo matter what you do to help keep your child healthy, he or she may be at risk for a common childhood ailment: ear infections. The most common cause of earaches, this type of infection may occur several times throughout childhood. Prompt medical attention is strongly advised, particularly if your child is under six months of age. Here are some tips for spotting this condition in your child.

Be On the Lookout Following An Illness

If your child has recently suffered from an upper respiratory infection, be watchful for any symptoms of an earache. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, ear infections are typically caused by bacteria and may commonly follow a cold or a sore throat. Infected fluid may linger behind the eardrum following an illness, causing inflammation that may lead to severe pain and discomfort.

Ear Infection Symptoms

Very young children are still building their immune symptoms, which is why they may be more susceptible to complications following a cold or other respiratory illness. Additionally, the channels between the ear and throat that drain fluids in adults are more horizontal in children, which can lead to fluid build-up. The chances are that your child’s first upper respiratory infection and subsequent complications will occur before they are old enough to speak. Thankfully, children may use a variety of nonverbal cues to demonstrate that they are not feeling feel. These can include:

  • Ear drainage
  • Trouble hearing
  • Tugging on one or both ears
  • Trouble with balance
  • Poor appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fever

In young children, you should also be on the lookout for vomiting or diarrhea. However, it is important to note that your child may not exhibit one or more of these symptoms. Watch for any changes in behavior, including fussiness, being clingy, or crying more than usual. These behaviors may indicate a possible illness or infection.

When to Seek Medical Help

Although this condition is common in children, it should not be left entirely untreated. Your doctor may recommend antibiotics to prevent the spread of infection in young babies. Antibiotics also may be recommended if your older baby or toddler is experiencing severe symptoms or is not better within two to three days. Mild infections should be monitored closely at home. Children’s pain medicine may help with pain, fever and inflammation, while a warm (not hot) heat pack can help soothe the area.

Pediatric Urgent Care

If you or your child is experiencing symptoms of an ear infection, do not hesitate to seek medical attention. You should also consider seeking medical advice before administering over-the-counter medicine or medicated ear drops to young children. When your child becomes ill, choosing the right medical provider is important; eMedical Urgent Care makes it easy to get the help you need, from pediatric health services to treating sinus infections in adults. Call to learn more about our services in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, (908) 464-6700, and Middletown, New Jersey, (732) 957-0707.

Signs and Symptoms of Acute Bronchitis

Signs and Symptoms of Acute BronchitisAcute bronchitis is a form of lower respiratory tract inflammation affecting the bronchi of the lungs. It’s usually not a serious illness and often comes on suddenly from other illnesses such as the cold or flu and is typically fought off by the immune system. However, people with weakened immune systems tend to develop more problems from the illness including seniors, young children, people with other health conditions including cancer or diabetes, and those who have not been immunized for the flu, pneumonia or whooping cough.

What is Acute Bronchitis?

Acute bronchitis, often referred to as a chest cold, is an illness that spreads from the nose and throat, causing swelling and irritation in the windpipe and airways.

Increased Risks

As mentioned above, chest colds often show up in someone with an upper respiratory tract infection resulting from a cold or flu but can be caused by other germs such as bacteria, yeast or fungus. They also can be caused by polluted air (air that has chemical fumes, dust or cigarette smoke); avoiding these lung irritants is important for preventing acute bronchitis as well as treating it. In addition, those who have preceding medical problems may also be more likely to get bronchitis (for example: asthma, frequent swollen tonsils, allergies or heart problems).

Chronic Bronchitis

Typically brought on by cigarette smoking, chronic bronchitis (a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD) affects more than 12 million Americans. “Chronic” means that the condition can last a long time – typically longer than 3 months.

Acute Bronchitis in Children

This inflammation in the bronchioles usually affects children under the age of 2 with a peak age of 3 to 6 months. Babies who are premature may be at a higher risk for bronchitis.

Symptoms of Acute Bronchitis

At first, symptoms may look a lot like the symptoms of the common cold starting with a runny nose and slight fever for a few days. The most common sign of acute bronchitis includes a constant cough which may be dry or include green, yellow, white or bloody mucus as well as chest pain that accompanies the cough or that is felt with a deep breath. Other symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Body aches & headache
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Short of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Watery eyes

How Long Does Acute Bronchitis Last?

Acute bronchitis typically lasts 2 to 3 weeks but the cough may linger for up to a couple of months (smokers take much longer to recover). Chronic bronchitis keeps coming back cumulatively lasting up to three months of the year for two years in a row.

Is Bronchitis Contagious?

One of the top burning questions searched for in Google last year: “Is bronchitis contagious?” The infection, which involves the upper respiratory tract is usually viral and considered contagious. However, the complication of the infection, bronchitis, is not contagious.

Treatment

Patients can alleviate some of the symptoms by getting plenty of rest, drinking clear fluids and inhaling moist air (via a humidifier, steam shower, etc.). If you have overwhelming chest pain, wheezing and breathing difficulty, blood or yellow/green sputum in your mucus, or any of these along with a fever over 101°F, you should be evaluated by a physician. If you are wheezing, you may receive an inhaled medication (Albuterol or Xopenex) which can help open inflamed bronchial tubes. Note: antibiotics are not useful in the treatment of bronchitis.

eMedical Urgent Care has 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.