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Protect Your Family Against Common Insect Bites and Stings

Posted on Wed, May 11, 2016

Brace yourself. As the warmer weather approaches we all love spending more time outside, but if we’re not careful, that can leave us vulnerable to insect bites, creepy crawlies, bee stings and pesky mosquitos. You may be itching already just reading this, but don’t run for the hills just yet (there may be ticks there anyway). Luckily there are a few things you can do to avoid them. Learn more about how to protect your family against common insect bites and stings from our emergency medicine physicians at eMedical Urgent Care

Common Insect Bites and Stings:Common Insect Bites and Stings

  • BEES, WASPS, HORNET STINGS
The scourge of summer, bees, wasps and hornets are more annoying than dangerous, unless of course you're severely allergic to their stings. What to Do? Keep sweet-smelling plants away from any windows, don't leave fruit out and make sure all bins are covered. If you’re being attacked, run and seek shelter away from the swarm, in a car with the windows rolled up, a house, a building, or any place that is not exposed to the outside. Hydrocortisone cream should help with swelling, but if someone is stung and they are allergic, get the victim medical help immediately. Even if the victim is not allergic, or is unsure, but receives multiple stings from the swarm, it’s also important to seek medical attention.
  • SPIDERS
It is estimated there are more than 100,000 different types of spiders, yet only a tiny fraction of 1 percent are harmful to humans. At the top of the list are black widows and the brown recluse. Both of these spiders are small, about 3/8 of an inch, and some individuals who have been bitten report little or no initial pain.
What to Do?
The best thing to do is to apply a cold compress or ice pack on the wound site and get medical attention right away. Some spider bites require administration of an anti-venom serum as in some snake bites.
  • MOSQUITOES
The Zika virus, for which there is no vaccine or cure, has not yet started to spread in the continental United States. But that is expected to change as the warmer weather rolls around. While New Jersey is expected to be spared a serious Zika problem, several recent developments now are increasing concern.
What to Do?
The most effective way to protect yourself from mosquito bites is by removing standing water around your home, covering up appropriately when you’re outside and using mosquito repellant with approved Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents.
  • TICKS
May through July are prime “tick-birthing” seasons and a whole new crop of hungry ticks will be on the hunt for their first dinner of the season. Tick bites aren’t painful, but many can cause Lyme disease.
What to Do?
Cover up properly, avoid grassy areas and shrubs where tick populations are higher and use a repellant with DEET. Remember to always check yourself after being outside and learn the steps to remove a tick on our recent blog, “Tick Removal and Prevention.”

Walk-In Urgent Care for Insect Bites at eMedical

Bug bites and stings usually are just annoying, causing temporary discomfort and pain, but no serious or lasting health problems. But sometimes, they can cause infections that require treatment and allergic reactions that can be serious, even fatal. If you or a loved one experience the symptoms of anaphylactic shock, it's important to call an emergency line for help. If symptoms are minimal, for example, the area of the bite is red, itchy or slightly swollen, we recommend an antihistamine and ice to cool the area. 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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Zika Virus in NJ: Here’s What You Need To Know

Posted on Wed, Apr 20, 2016

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.

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Simple Summer Safety Tips

Posted on Fri, Jul 20, 2012

By Shilpa Amin-Shah, MD Family safety is a priority regardless of the season, but the summer gives us more reason to emphasize simple measures to keep out of harm’s way.

  • Pool SafetBoy swimming in pooly: Be sure to swim only where there are lifeguards or adult supervision. Always use life jackets during water activities and when near open bodies of water such as the oceans, rivers and lakes. Never leave your children unattended around water. Maintain barriers such as fences and locks to keep children away from unattended pool areas.
  • Food Safety: Summertime is often associated with outdoor barbeques and picnics. Mayonnaise, milk, eggs, meat, poultry and seafood should not be kept at room temperature for more than an hour or two (one hour max if it's hotter than 90 degrees outside). Be sure to thoroughly wash all raw fruits and vegetables. If you are traveling with food, be sure use plenty of ice packs and ice to keep food cool.
  • Bug Safety: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend an insect repellent that contains 10 to 30 percent DEET for children two months old or older. The DEET percentage represents how long it’s effective: 10 percent will provide protection up to two hours while 30 percent will cover you up to five hours. Do not apply DEET to face or hands. DEET is effective in preventing insect-related diseases such as Lyme disease and West Nile Virus. For a greener approach to bug busting, organic mosquito repellents are available in most pharmacies.
  • Sun Safety: Make sure you apply sunscreen before leaving the house. The American Cancer Society recommends wearing SPF 15. Stay in the shade as much as possible during the sun’s peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Make sure to re-apply sunscreen every one to two hours when swimming or if excessively sweating. Wear protective clothing, a hat and sunglasses.
  • Heat Safety: Limit time outdoors when the weather is extremely hot and humid. If you do not have air conditioning in your home, go to public places that do like shopping malls, libraries and grocery stores. Avoid hot, enclosed places, such as cars. Wear light-colored and light-weight clothing, and drink plenty of water before and during your time outdoors. Heat stress in children and adults can lead to serious health issues very quickly. The very young and the very old are at most risk for heat exhaustion because of their inability to handle high temperatures. If you are taking the kids to the playground, check the temperature of the playground equipment, as it can get very hot and could burn your child.
8 Signs of Heat Over-Exposure
  1. Rapid heartbeat
  2. Headache
  3. Fatigue
  4. Nausea and vomiting
  5. Excessive sweating (However, if heat stroke sets in, the body can no longer compensate and may stop sweating)
  6. Muscle cramps
  7. Dark-colored urine
  8. Fainting, confusion, dizziness or disorientation
6 Tips for Overcoming Heat Stroke
  1. Move the person out of the sun and into a cool area. An air-conditioned area is ideal, but moving someone into the shade will also help.
  2. Remove any heavy or tight clothing.
  3. Give the person cool water to drink.
  4. Mist the skin to help keep him or her cool.
  5. Apply ice to his or her neck or armpits.
  6. Immerse the body in cool water, either at a swimming pool or in a bathtub.
If these measures do not cool the person off in 30 minutes, call 9-1-1 and go to your nearest emergency room. Shilpa Amin-Shah, MD, is a physician at eMedical Urgent Care in Berkeley Heights and an attending emergency physician at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. She received a bachelor’s degree from Rosemont College in Rosemont, Pa., and her medical degree from SUNY Downstate, Brooklyn, N.Y. She completed the Jacobi/Montefiore Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and served as chief resident. She enjoys spending her free time cooking, traveling and trying new cuisines with her husband and two young children. Sources:

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