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bacterial-infections

How to Recognize and Treat Fingernail Infections

Posted on Wed, May 25, 2016

How to Recognize and Treat Fingernail InfectionsThink about it – like your face, your fingers are exposed to the elements every day but chances are you don’t protect or nourish them the way you should. We use our hands, fingers and fingernails every day in almost every activity. This makes them susceptible to injuries and possible fingernail infections, also known as paronychia.

What is paronychia?

Paronychia (pronounced pair-oh-nick-ee-yah) is a common infection of the skin around the fingernails or toenails that can be caused by Candida species. Infections usually occur because of initial damage to the area from things like biting a hangnail or trimming cuticles with unsanitary manicure tools. This injury then provides a portal of entry for infection to occur. Infections can be caused by bacteria or fungus. Bacterial infections tend to be more painful and swollen, whereas fungal infections usually develop slowly over time. These infections are very common in people with diabetes or weakened immune systems.

Symptoms of Fingernail Infections

Healthy fingernails should have a pinkish color with the occasional flecks of white and a “half-moon” of white appearing at the end of the nail bed. A few bumps and ridges are normal, however, severe variations of the nail’s normal smooth surface could indicate an underlying infection or fungus. Other symptoms of a paronychia include redness and swelling around the nail that is usually painful. If you’re experiencing joint pain or a tingling sensation in the fingers, that could mean several things: cramps from overuse, flexor tendon injury, ganglion cyst, compression on a nerve in the hand, arthritis, diabetes or other immune disorders.

Risk Factors for Fingernail Infections

Fingernail cuticles are a common site of infection, especially if someone is picking, biting or uses unsanitary manicure tools. Cuticle damage is especially notable in children who bite their fingernails; if redness and swelling are not treated with the proper medical attention, this could result in a limb-threatening infection.

Prevention

Proper nail maintenance is the best prevention. Avoid nail-biting, and trimming or pushing back cuticles too much. Take caution by insisting on sanitized equipment at nail salons and remember to wear gloves when cleaning or being exposed to harsh household chemicals.

Treatment Options

If you notice a swollen or red fingernail or toenail area that has red streaks radiating from the cuticle, this can indicate an infection. Seek medical attention right away. Antibiotics may be prescribed to eliminate the source of a bacterial infection but taking over the counter anti-inflammatories, such as Ibuprofen, may help reduce any pain associated with the swelling. A warm compress may help to decrease pain naturally. In severe cases, the infected area may be drained by a physician to help reduce any built up pressure and reduce pain.

Treatment for Fingernail Infections Available at eMedical

If you or a loved one are unable to move the finger unassisted or if red streaks radiate from a swollen area, seek medical treatment right away. eMedical Urgent Care provides high-quality, affordable, fast care at your convenience. 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.

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Pink Eye Treatment and Symptoms

Posted on Wed, Mar 16, 2016

Pink Eye Treatment And SymptomsAlso known as conjunctivitis, pink eye is redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane that lines the eyelid and eye surface. The lining of the eye is usually clear; if irritation or infection occurs, the lining becomes red and swollen.

Symptoms Can Help Determine the Cause of Pink Eye

The main causes of pink eye are dry eyes from irritants, allergies, viral infection and bacterial infection. The signs and symptoms that are experienced with the infection, are what differentiate the exact cause. Red, itchy, watery eyes that are swollen, or have a discharge of some sort, are common symptoms that indicate an infection.
  • Viral infections are usually accompanied by cold or flu like symptoms along with thin or clear discharge.
  • Bacterial infections are characterized by having yellow or green pus discharge.
With a viral or bacterial infection, it is considered to be highly contagious and it is recommended to take precautions to prevent the spread of the illness. Proper handwashing is your best defense.

Common Symptoms Of Pink Eye

  • Persistent redness and itchiness feeling in one or both eyes
  • Thick yellow or green discharge (sign of a bacterial infection)
  • Thin or clear discharge from the eye (sign of a viral or allergic reaction)
  • Painful eye in bright light
  • Eyes stuck shut in the morning when you wake up

When to See a Doctor for Pink Eye Treatment

Treating conjunctivitis warrants a trip to the doctor if the redness is bacterial. The infection can start off in one eye or both eyes, or even move from one eye to the other. This is usually a sign of a bacterial or viral infectious form of pink eye. If the infection is accompanied by blurred vision, severe pain in one or both eyes, or it appears to be getting worse, then medical attention would be advised. In addition, if you have high fever, chills, face pain or vision loss, seek immediate medical attention. For less severe irritants and allergy related conditions, pink eye treatment home remedies can help clear the redness up in a matter of a few days to a couple of weeks. This would include compresses that are hot or cold, eye drops or artificial tears, antihistamine, and washing hands before and after touching the infected eye. To prevent the spread of pink eye, it’s important to stay home (away from school and work) until the infection begins to clear up. With early diagnosis and proper treatment, you can help to limit its spread as well.

Great Doctors. Great Care. Right Now.

At eMedical Urgent Care, we are ready to quickly and efficiently treat unscheduled walk-in patients. We are dedicated to providing you and your loved ones with affordable, quality medical care without waiting for appointments in two locations: Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, and Middletown, New Jersey. Visit your nearest eMedical Urgent Care location today to stay healthy, happy and on your way!

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Strep Throat vs. Sore Throat

Posted on Wed, Feb 10, 2016

Checking Sore Throat, Acute PharyngitisSore throats are common for people of all ages, and particularly in the cooler months as more people are in close contact indoors. Some cases are more problematic than others, especially those caused by bacterial infections. These must be treated promptly with antibiotics to prevent complications and ensure a speedy recovery. How do you know if your bout of acute pharyngitis is just scratchy and short-lived or something more, such as strep throat? Keep reading to discover common symptoms of both.

Causes and Symptoms of Acute Pharyngitis

Common reasons you might develop soreness or hoarseness include:
  • Dry weather
  • Allergies
  • Influenza
  • Other viral infections (such as colds)
  • Bacterial infections
Symptoms are varied but can include pain while swallowing, redness, headache, inflamed nasal passages, swollen tonsils and fever. More severe symptoms can include joint pain, swollen lymph node glands and skin rashes. Left untreated, ear infections or sinusitis could occur.

Treating a Sore Throat

Viral infections are very common and typically do not require medical attention. If your symptoms seem mild, you can treat soreness at home by drinking soothing liquids such as warm tea with honey. As a treat, fruit-flavored popsicles can also help soothe the area. Teenagers and adults can use cough drops or lozenges during the day, or over-the-counter pain medication to help manage symptoms. Winter weather often brings dry air, so consider setting up a humidifier or cool-mist vaporizer to keep the air moist. You can include a drop or two of an essential oil such as eucalyptus or lemon to further help open sinus passages. If your throat pain feels more severe or lingers more than few days, contact a medical professional to identify and treat the cause. In the meantime, try to get plenty of rest and drink more non-caffeinated fluids than usual to stay hydrated.

How to Tell if Your Sore Throat is Strep

Streptococcus is a highly contagious bacterial infection that develops following contact with an infected person. Unfortunately, the symptoms of strep are so similar to other cases of acute pharyngitis that a doctor will not be able to diagnose you without performing a rapid test or throat culture. Without a proper diagnosis, the doctor will not be able to issue antibiotics to treat a possible infection. However, your soreness could indicate strep if you experience a high fever, a rash or swollen lymph nodes in your neck. You should also contact a doctor when what seems like a typical sore throat does not go away after several days, or if you notice white streaks on the tonsils.

Seek Help Anytime: eMedical Urgent Care Walk-In Clinic

If you suspect you or a family member might have strep, visit eMedical Urgent Care walk-in clinic without delay. Our emergency medical physicians provide quick diagnoses and treatment options for both children and adults. We offer convenient hours at both of our locations to better serve your busy schedule and urgent needs. Call to learn more about our services in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey, (732) 957-0707.

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What's Causing Your Throat Pain?

Posted on Wed, Nov 25, 2015

Throat Pain | Urgent CareIs your throat sore? Does it hurt to drink? Considering the average person swallows about 50 times per minute, that’s - gulp - a lot of pain to tolerate. Throat pain symptoms can be acute: coming on suddenly and lasting several days or they can be chronic: lasting weeks or even months in some cases. In fact, according to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, throat symptoms are one of the most common reasons people visit their doctors (ranking above high blood pressure, rashes and back problems). Throat pain can be confusing; so let’s take a look at some of the common causes below to see where your symptoms might fit in.

Causes of Throat Pain

Viruses (such as those that cause the common cold as well as mononucleosis) can lead to a sore throat, bacteria (such as those that lead to strep throat) can also cause a sore throat. Additionally, smoking, inhaling polluted air and allergens such as pet dander, pollens and molds can lead to throat pain.

Viral Upper Respiratory Infections

Upper respiratory infections (URI), such as the common cold, are caused by viruses and often lead to an irritated throat, nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing, and running heads.

Bacterial Infections

Tonsillitis

When your tonsils become infected by bacteria or a virus, it can cause them to swell, leading to symptoms such as a sore throat, white patches, fever, headache, pain when you swallow, and red and swollen tonsils.

Strep Throat

Streptococcal pharyngitis is a bacterial throat and tonsil infection. It's the cause of 15 to 40% of sore throats among children and 5 to 15% in adults. Unlike a cold, patients usually won’t experience sneezing, congestion or coughing with strep. If left untreated, it can sometimes result in kidney inflammation or rheumatic fever.

Mononucleosis

Mononucleosis (mono) is a viral infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. A sore throat is one of the main symptoms of mono and may last 1 to 4 weeks. Other symptoms of mono include swollen glands, fever, fatigue and headache.

Allergies

If you find that allergies (such as pollen, pet dander and dust) commonly trigger a sore throat, avoid those irritants at all costs. More than pain, patients will usually experience scratching or tickling in the throat.

Sore Throat Treatment

Your doctor will need to run tests such as a rapid strep test, throat culture or a blood test to determine the cause of your sore throat so you can get the right treatment right away. If your pain is caused by bacteria, you will most likely be prescribed an antibiotic and begin to feel better in a few days. Infections caused by viruses cannot be helped with antibiotics, unfortunately and the symptoms will usually just have to “run their course” for about 10 days.

Find At-Home Relief

Some people find throat pain relief by implementing some of these natural at-home remedies.
  • Rest up
  • Gargle with warm salt water (1 tsp of salt per 8 oz of water)
  • Use a humidifier in your bedroom
  • Drink hot tea with lemon and honey
  • Drape a towel over your head and breath in steam with a few drops of eucalyptus oil
  • Drink lots of hydrating liquids to prevent dehydration
  • While lozenges can help stimulate saliva, avoid those with lots of sugar
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol which can hinder your body’s ability to fight off infection and end up prolonging your sore throat

Preventing a Sore Throat

The best way to stay healthy and prevent contagious diseases is to regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and face.

Urgent Care for Throat Pain

When the symptoms of your sore throat last over a week and include a fever, difficulty swallowing, ear ache, or swollen glands, you should be evaluated by a medical professional at eMedical Urgent Care right away. After work, or on weekends, we‘re here. Our convenient walk-in hours are designed to fit your schedule. If you or your child becomes ill, don’t wait. Our experienced providers can diagnose and treat your urgent conditions quickly and expertly. Come see us for common illnesses, ailments, injuries and work-related issues. No appointment needed. Learn more about eMedical Urgent Care by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707.

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