Blog Posts

Anti-Vaccination Movement Causing Growing Concerns

Posted on Tue, Mar 17, 2015

The anti-vaccination movement and the parents in favor of the movement, known as anti-vaxxers, have been in the news lately, particularly due to the measles outbreak at Disneyland in December and January. More than 24 cases of measles have been linked to Disney theme parks in Southern California, and these parents are attracting widespread attention and vilification since measles was virtually eliminated from the U.S. nearly a decade ago and is now becoming prevalent again. The reported rising numbers (along with rising anxiety) proved that this highly contagious disease is still circulating around the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been at least 170 measles cases reported in 17 states including: California (113), Illinois (15), Michigan (1), Texas (1) Nevada (8), Washington (7) and Arizona (7), Pennsylvania (1), Utah (2) and New Jersey (2). As cases continue to stack up, so does the risk.

Anti-Vaxxers

Experts say that several (avoidable) diseases are now making a comeback due to anti-vaxxers who are opposed to vaccinating their children. According to the CDC’s findings, the following 10 states have the highest rates of children enrolled in kindergarten with a reported exemption to vaccination which is a direct reflection of the states listed above with the most measles cases reported: 1. California 2. Illinois 3. Michigan 4. Texas 5. Florida 6. Washington 7. Arizona 8. Oregon 9. Pennsylvania 10. Utah

Symptoms of Measles

The highly contagious virus can take four to 12 days for symptoms to appear and before you even notice the symptoms and recognize it as measles, you can be infecting other people. Measles starts as a fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis (pinkeye) and a red, pinpoint rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. If the virus infects the lungs, it can cause pneumonia. Measles in older children can lead to inflammation of the brain, called encephalitis, which can cause seizures and brain damage. Measles kills about once in every 1,000 cases.

Vaccines Prevent Disease and Save Lives

Going into your local urgent care center and getting vaccinated is one of the easiest ways to fight preventable contagious diseases. Vaccination acts as a firewall in the spread of disease, preventing further transmission of the disease. The more individuals who are resistant to disease, the smaller the probability that a susceptible individual will come into contact with an infectious individual, which is called herd immunity. The principle of herd immunity, also known as community immunity, applies to a variety of contagious diseases, including measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, influenza and pneumococcal disease. The MMR vaccine is a two-part vaccination recommended for all children. It protects against three serious illnesses (measles, mumps and rubella). Two doses of this vaccine can provide 97% protection against infection and is proven safe by the CDC. eMedical Urgent Care offers MMR vaccines to both children and adults (adults may first take a simple blood test, an antibody titer, to find out whether they are already immune to these three diseases). If you have an unvaccinated child (or are unvaccinated yourself), contact the Middletown or Berkeley Heights, NJ eMedical Urgent Care today to learn more about vaccinations like the MMR and how it can help protect you and your family from the resurgence of measles in America.

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Back to School: 5 Tips for a Healthy School Year

Posted on Wed, Aug 20, 2014

By eMedical Urgent Care back to school

Say so long to sweet summer and hello to the 2014-2015 school year. By now school supplies are purchased and the countdown until the kids go back to school is over. You’ve done all you can to prepare your child for a successful school year, but have you prepared them for a healthy one too? Here are back to school tips from the urgent care Middletown NJ and Berkeley Heights NJ doctors to help your child avoid sneezing ‘‘achoo” and keep cheering ”woo hoo” all year long.

Count Enough Sheep

Transitioning your child from summertime to a new bedtime can be a challenge, but one of the biggest health-related issues for elementary school-aged children is exhaustion; children need at least 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night. During the first few weeks of school, your child may come home tired and in need of a nap. Consider allowing your child to rest for 45 minutes, if he or she can’t sleep, try 45 minutes of quiet time to help rejuvenate your child before homework, dinner, bath time and bedtime. Plenty of rest at night will help to ensure a healthy start to the school day.

Morning Meal Time

In an ideal world, your child would sit down to breakfast each morning prior to heading to school. In reality, it is 8:15 a.m. the bus comes at 8:20 a.m. and your child’s shoe decided to play a game of hide-and-seek. The easiest thing to grab may be a sweet, sugary snack, but before you pick up the Pop Tart, consider whole grain cereal or an apple. While delicious, sweet, sugary snacks will give your child a jolt of energy which will come to a screeching halt within hours. Your child’s teacher also will appreciate him not coming to school on a sugar high.

Eyes and Ears

You can't expect a child to learn if he or she is having trouble seeing the board or hearing the teacher. So have your local Middletown NJ or Berkeley Heights NJ eMedical Urgent Care screen for vision and hearing problems during your child's back-to-school checkup. Remember: You can't assume your child has 20/20 vision just because he never complains about not being able to see; children with vision problems may not realize the world isn't blurry to everybody else. If your child often has headaches, tilts his head to one side to read schoolwork, or holds objects unusually close or far away to view them, it could be a sign that he has a vision problem.

Healthy Hand-Washing Habits

Start healthy habits while they’re young and teach your child the importance of frequent hand-washing. Hand-washing is essential before dinner or after they use the bathroom, blow their noses or touch pets and other animals. Teach your child these steps:
  • Wet hands with clean, warm water.
  • Soap up, rub hands together, making sure to get between the fingers.
  • Continue rubbing for 20 seconds. Younger children can sing “Happy Birthday” twice to count the time.
  • Rinse with warm, running water.
  • Dry hands on clean towel.
If your child rockets out of the bathroom without stopping at the sink, consider sending her to school with a packet of antibacterial wipes. They're not as effective as soap and water, but they may have more appeal for young children. (You also can check how many wipes are left at the end of the day to see whether your child is really using them.)

Stay Active

From pool days to school days, your child has gone from running around the backyard to sitting at a desk. Children should get 20 to 30 minutes of regular, non-stop exercise a day. Physical education classes help get your child active but often time is spent standing around waiting for the ball. Bike riding, walks and a trip to the park will benefit the whole family. Going back to school is not only an adjustment for children but for parents too. Be sure to get plenty of rest, eat breakfast and stay active! And if you want to take an extra step to prevent illness this school year, bring the family to eMedical Urgent Care to get flu shots. We will be holding a Drive-Thru Flu Clinic at our Middletown NJ office on Sept. 20 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you need medical attention for a non-life-threatening illness or injury, both our eMedical Urgent Care Middletown NJ and eMedical Urgent Care Berkeley Heights NJ are open during the evening hours to treat walk-in patients. If you have questions about medical conditions, download iTriage from the iTunes or Android Marketplace, or check out iTriageHealth.com for your healthcare answers.

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Sneezing and Coughing and Aching, Oh My!

Posted on Fri, Jan 04, 2013

By eMedical Offices fluYour daughter came home from college and brought a stuffy nose. Your son came home from a play date and is complaining of a sore throat. Want to start placing bets when you’ll come down with a full blown cold? As colder weather approaches and more people stay indoors -- and in close proximity to each other -- our offices begin to see more patients with upper respiratory infections or colds. As doctors, we begin to see cases develop in October and peak during January and February, then begin to taper off in March. Getting the “flu” is different from the common cold because it’s caused by the influenza virus and can potentially be much more severe than the common cold. In the most susceptible patients, such as the elderly, or those with underlying medical conditions, severe flu illness can be potentially life threatening. Spreading the Virus The flu virus usually is contagious one day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after symptoms develop. The virus is spread primarily by “droplet” contamination, meaning when an infected person talks, sneezes or coughs, droplets containing the virus can spread to others, up to 6 feet away. A bit gross to think about, but the droplets can land in the mouths and noses of others, and can be inhaled into the lungs.  This is why it’s important to cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and wash your hands afterwards. The next most common method of infection is from touching a surface that has the flu virus, such as a door knob, and then touching your mouth or nose. Washing your hands frequently with soap and water or using alcohol-based waterless hand cleansers are the best ways to prevent this transmission. Any items used by infected individuals, such as dishes, silverware, linens and towels, shouldn’t be shared and should be washed thoroughly before reusing. Prevention The most important piece of advice I give regarding preventing the flu is to get vaccinated. Vaccination not only helps prevent the vaccine recipient from illness but also helps prevent the spread of the flu throughout the community. The flu vaccine must be given annually. It contains the 3 most common strains of the influenza virus for the upcoming flu season based on sophisticated computer models that predict which virus will be most likely to be circulating in a particular year. The flu vaccine is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for everyone over the age of 6 months. Another option is the flu vaccine in a nasal spray form, which can be given to anyone who is healthy, not pregnant and between the ages of 2 to 49. Symptoms of the Flu Generally, the common cold and the flu can have similar respiratory infection symptoms.  The flu tends to be more severe and includes:

  • High fever (although the flu can occur without a fever)
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or congested nose
  • Body aches
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
Occasionally patients can develop nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Your fever may last 3 to 5 days, and the cough and exhaustion can last up to 2 weeks. The symptoms generally start abruptly. But Do I Really Have the Flu? Your doctor will determine if you have the flu based on your symptoms and his clinical assessment of your physical condition. The most common testing used is the rapid flu test, when a swab is taken from the nose or throat and analyzed. This test can detect the flu usually within a few minutes. Unfortunately this test is not foolproof, meaning you can have a negative test and still have the flu. Generally if your doctor suspects the flu based on symptoms, patient risk factors and the pattern of flu infections in the community, he or she will begin treating the virus even if the rapid flu test is not performed. Treatment
  • You can treat flu symptoms with and without medication
  • Your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications to help alleviate your symptoms
  • Antibiotics are necessary if your illness has developed into a bacterial infection
Last Words The virus that causes the flu and its symptoms are usually more severe than the common cold, and can be dangerous for high-risk patients with underlying medical problems. The flu virus is contagious, and proper precautions should be taken. Frequently washing your hands and covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing can help eliminate the potential of contamination. The most effective method of prevention for individuals and their communities is vaccination. If treated early, antivirals can reduce the severity and duration of flu symptoms. Call or stop by our office today if you think that you have the flu. If you need medical attention for a non-life-threatening illness or injury, eMedical Offices is open during the evening hours to treat walk-in patients. If you have questions about medical conditions, download iTriage from the iTunes or Android Marketplace, or check out iTriageHealth.com for your healthcare answers.

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Fall Sports: How to Recognize a Concussion

Posted on Thu, Sep 22, 2011

It’s a brisk fall afternoon. You’re sitting in the bleachers, watching your son’s JV football game. In the scuffle during a play he hits his head on the turf. You see him get up a bit slowly, but he shakes it off and lines up for the next play. Should you be concerned? It is estimated there are 3 million head injuries each year related to contact sports, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For teens and young adults aged 15 to 24 years, it is second only to motor vehicle accidents as the cause of traumatic brain injuries. Concussions can be caused by mild or more severe blows to the head. They may or may not involve loss of consciousness. Recently, more attention has been placed on recognizing and treating concussions earlier to decrease the risk of long-term neurological damage. The Signs of a Concussion Early signs of a concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Vision changes
  • Unequally sized pupils
  • Lack of awareness of surroundings
  • Slurred or incoherent speech
  • Lack of coordination
If your child is injured and shows any of the above signs, he or she should stop participating in the sports activity immediately. The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association requires that any student athlete who sustains a possible concussion or any loss of consciousness be removed immediately from play. A medical evaluation is required to determine if a concussion was sustained. If it’s determined that your child did have a concussion, he or she must be symptom-free for one week before he or she can return to play. You should seek immediate medical attention if your child’s symptoms persist for more than 10 minutes. If the symptoms are mild, such as mild headache, dizziness, nausea without vomiting or loss of memory for a few minutes, watch to see if the symptoms worsen. The physicians at eMedical Urgent Care can help determine if further care is needed. When to Go to the Emergency Department You should bring your child to the nearest emergency department if the injury involves:
  • Large cuts
  • Prolonged loss of consciousness
  • Severe headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Inability to walk
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures
What to Expect After a Concussion A few days to a few weeks after having a concussion your child might experience:
  • A persistent, low-grade headache
  • Light-headedness
  • Poor attention and concentration
  • Memory issues
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Frustration
  • Anxiety and/or a depressed mood
  • Trouble sleeping

The recovery period for concussions can vary from patient to patient. Some may develop “post-concussion syndrome,” which can last weeks or months and includes chronic headaches, dizziness and nausea.  If your child sustains a more severe concussion, he or she should be seen by a neurologist in addition to your primary physician to manage ongoing care.

 

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