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.

Acute Sinusitis: Symptoms and Treatment

Acute Sinusitis Symptoms and TreatmentsFeeling stuffy with uncomfortable pressure on your cheekbones? It could mean you have acute sinusitis. Also known as rhinosinusitis, this short-term sinus infection can cause inflammation or swelling of the membranes that line your sinuses preventing mucus from draining from your nose.

Causes of Acute Sinusitis

In a normal (healthy) scenario, our sinuses are usually filled with air. However, when infection hits, these healthy sinuses become clogged and accumulate fluids, germs from bacteria, fungi and even viruses. Individuals with the following illnesses and conditions are more prone to developing sinusitis

  • Colds and runny noses
  • upper respiratory infections
  • fungal sinus infections
  • allergies that cause mucus production in the sinuses
  • lack of cilia motility, caused by disease
  • nasal polyps or tumors
  • deviated nasal septum
  • enlarged or infected adenoids
  • infected tooth (in rare cases, bacteria can spread from the infected tooth to the sinuses)
  • cystic fibrosis (a disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the body)
  • immune deficiencies
  • nasal structural differences causing narrowing of nasal drainage ducts

Types of Sinusitis

Sinusitis is divided into four categories including acute sinusitis (typically lasting 3 weeks), sub-acute sinusitis (usually lasts for 4 to 8 weeks), chronic sinusitis (can last for 8 weeks or longer and is also characterized by extreme sinus infection), and recurrent sinusitis (these tend to recur over time).

Signs and symptoms

Some of the signs and symptoms associated with acute sinusitis include:

  • Pain, tenderness and inflammation
    Swelling is most commonly associated with this condition. Infections of the sinus cause inflammation and a dull constant pain is usually felt on the affected sinuses.
  • Discharge
    A thick, greenish-yellow discharge can come from the nose or go down the back of the throat.
  • Congestion
    Inflamed sinus can cause nasal obstruction causing difficulty breathing through your nose.
  • Persistent cough
    The couch may be worse at night and usually irritates the throat causing a sore throat.
  • Headache
    Swelling and sinus pressure can lead to headaches, aching in your upper jaw and teeth, and fatigue.
  • Other symptoms include: ear pain, fever, bad breath, reduced sense of smell and taste

At-Home Symptom Relief

Help relieve some of the symptoms with a little at-home TLC, starting with getting enough of rest to fight infection and speed up the recovery process (you might even try elevating your head as well). Drinking plenty of fluids (avoid caffeine or alcohol) will help to dilute mucous secretions and promote drainage.

Next time you’re feeling stuffy, also try taking a hot, steamy shower and breathe in the warm, moist air or apply a warm compress around your nose, cheeks and eyes (this should help to ease pain and help drain mucus).

Treatment

The good news: sinus infections are not contagious.

Treatment for acute sinusitis varies depending on whether the source of the infection is viral or bacterial and may include analgesics (such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories), saline irrigation, corticosteroids, decongestants or antihistamines. Antibiotics can be prescribed to treat sinusitis caused by bacterial infections, if the infection is severe, recurrent or persistent.

Visit eMedical Urgent Care at the first sign that sinusitis is detected; as this goes a long way in preventing an individual from developing chronic or recurrent sinusitis. Treatment for sinus infections are available at eMedical Urgent Care. Our convenient hours are 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.