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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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What Are the Worst Months for Allergies in NJ? Your Guide To Finding Relief

Posted on Thu, Apr 07, 2016

Allergy Season MonthsThe flowering trees are gorgeous but the tree pollen counts combined with windy days makes for some seriously miserable allergy symptoms. Pass the tissue, please! Here in New Jersey, we’ve already started into the allergy season month and many residents have been feeling the effects for weeks…and it’s more than just a sneeze and itchy eyes. In fact, 55 percent of employees report calling in sick to work because of their allergies.

Understand the Difference: Spring Allergies or Common Cold

Understanding the differences between a common cold and environmental allergies will help you choose the best treatment. Unlike allergies, the common cold is caused by a virus, while allergy symptoms are a result of immune system responses to allergens like pollen, dust, or even pet dander. With more than 50 million Americans suffering from allergies and more than 1 billion colds every year, how do you tell the difference between the two? It can be tough to spot. But the best way to make a distinction between the two is the duration of the symptoms. A cold will typically last no more than 10 days, while allergies can affect people for months on end. If you experience persistent mild, cold-like symptoms that are unaccompanied by a fever, it might be allergies. And colds may cause aches and pains, symptoms usually not associated with allergies. Many patients dealing with allergies also suffer from asthma, as these two conditions commonly occur together. But thankfully, you can find a little relief during the allergy season months with a few simple tips.

Spring Cleaning Goes a Long Way

Cleaning everything in your home, including your washing machine, can help to manage allergies but don’t use a feather duster. While you should be dusting every week, a dry rag…or worse, a feather duster, is worse than not dusting at all. Use a wet cloth to trap the dust instead of sending it into the air.

Go Green

We’re talking about green plants here. NASA research has suggested that some houseplants, like the corn plant (also known as the mass cane), may help to clean the air of contaminants such as formaldehyde—an irritant that can make you more sensitive to allergens. Plants may even help to remove particles from the air: One study showed that in a small office, they reduced dust by up to 20 percent! But keep an eye out for rotten leaves that can be a sign of overwatering to keep mold away.

Stay Indoors

Try to stay indoors when the pollen counts are high and keep your windows closed at night and if possible, use air conditioning, which cleans, cools and dries the air. Also, when you’re in the car, keep your windows closed to prevent pollen from coming in. This doesn’t mean you have to live in a plastic bubble, but if you limit the time you’re around your triggers, it should help lighten your symptoms.

Use a Pillow Cover

Dust mites are one of the most common causes of year-round allergies, and given that their favorite food is human and pet skin cells, it's no surprise that they thrive in beds. To fight these little critters, get an allergen-proof encasing for your pillows, comforters, mattresses and box springs.

eMedical Urgent Care Walk-In Clinic

eMedical Urgent Care can help you differentiate the cause of your symptoms if you are unsure or have never experienced allergy symptoms before. Our emergency medicine physicians provide urgent medical care to both adults and children with 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.

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Snow Shoveling Tips to Prevent Back Pain

Posted on Tue, Jan 19, 2016

Avoiding Back Pain When Snow ShovelingWhether it’s frigid temperatures, freezing rain or blizzards, January and February are always the toughest in New Jersey. This time of year one of the more common causes of back pain we see from patients is from snow shoveling. Thankfully, injuries can be prevented by learning the proper ways to remove snow without straining the back. Our emergency medicine physicians have put together a few tips below on how to avoid back pain and injuries while removing snow and ice from driveways and sidewalks starting with a proper warm up.

Common Winter Back Pain and Injuries

Injuries associated with a severe winter likely can be numerous. Some common injuries include overworked low back, leg and arm muscles, orthopedic injuries and possible fractures from falling (broken arms, elbows, wrists, ankles, hips), muscle, ligament, tendon injuries and even heart-related problems. Prevention is the key to these injuries.

Cold Temperatures, Cold Muscles

That’s right. Shoveling snow is a rigorous and strenuous workout and you need to engage in a warm up before you begin. Cold muscles that tighten up are constricted and have limited mobility that can lead to injury. Increasing muscle temperature helps to loosen muscles for injury-preventing mobility and flexibility. A proper warm up also helps to ease your muscles into the movement so they can achieve their full range of motion safely.

Warm Up and Stretch

Get your blood flowing for 5 to 10 minutes with a few body weight exercises such as jumping jacks, arm circles, push-ups or the basic squat. Start slowly and gradually pick up speed as you build up heat. After your warm up, engage in a few stretches to loosen up the muscles. Torso rotation, cat/cow and hamstring stretches are great to help prevent low back pain.

Shovel Correctly

Choose an ergonomic snow shovel with a curved handle or adjustable handle length to help decrease the amount of bending required for each scoop. When possible, try to push the snow to one side rather than lifting it each time. Take smaller, more frequent loads – it may take a little longer, but picking up less snow with each scoop puts less strain on your spine and muscles. Avoid bending over as much as possible by using your legs to lift the shovel from a semi-squat position instead. Particularly if you suffer from back pain, it’s important to use the strength from your legs to lessen the load your low back has to take.

Forward Bend Stretch for Low Back Pain: Give it a Try!

As you start shoveling outside and feel your lower back tighten up, listen to your body and slow down or stop. Try this forward bend stretch with your shovel to alleviate some tension:
  • Hold the shovel handle in front of you with both hands with the shovel blade on the ground.
  • Walk your feet back, lower your chest, and stop once your feet are directly under your hips.
  • Relax your head down and pull your shoulders away from your ears.
  • Stretch here for at about 30 seconds, breathing deeply and allowing your lower back to feel a release.

When To See Your Doctor

Snow shoveling can be safe and injury-free (with the bonus of burning a few calories) if you prepare your muscles ahead of time and engage in a proper shoveling technique. But accidents can happen. If you or a loved one experiences back pain or an injury from shoveling, visit eMedical Urgent Care walk-in clinic. 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. Winter is beautiful. Take a few moments to enjoy it and be safe as you clear your driveway!

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