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food-poisoning

Should I Bring My Child to a Walk In Clinic for the Flu?

Posted on Wed, Nov 18, 2015

Should I Bring My Child to a Walk In Clinic for the Flu?It’s pretty much a given that our children will pick up the flu at some point throughout the school year from all the coughing and sniffling students in their classrooms. So, how does a parent know when to bring their child into a walk-in clinic for the flu or a terrible cold? The flu and colds are both caused by viruses (not bacteria), so symptoms may last four or five days then you could be on your way to recovery. That said, both illnesses can morph into more serious conditions, including sinus infection, bronchitis, pneumonia, and strep throat. Drive to an eMedical Urgent Care walk in clinic near you if your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent sinus pressure
  • Worsening sore throat
  • Cough followed by yellow or green phlegm
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Ear pain
  • High fever

Walk-In Clinic vs ER

Severe influenza problems are most common in children under 2 years. In addition, children with chronic health problems like asthma, diabetes and disorders of the brain or nervous system are at especially high risk of developing serious flu complications. How do you know when it’s better to go to an urgent care center versus the ER? Read more about the common emergency room and walk-in clinic differences on our recent blog post, “Walk-In Doctor’s Office vs ER [INFOGRAPHIC].”

Protect Yourself from the Flu Virus

Flu shots are your best protection against the flu epidemic. And because the influenza virus(es) changes every season, it’s important to get your child vaccinated every year. Take your child for regular check-ups and stay up to date on their immunizations. Protect yourself and your family; talk with the pediatric-trained doctors at eMedical Urgent Care about the benefits of getting the flu vaccine to keep your child healthy. In addition to getting vaccinated, you can do more to fight the flu with a few healthy steps.

How do you know if it’s the flu, food poisoning, allergies or the common cold?

Symptoms of the flu usually develop within two days of exposure, but a person can spread the virus before they begin to develop symptoms. The common cold is a respiratory illness that can be caused by many different viral infections. I's often confused with the flu. There is no cure for the common cold or for the influenza virus. There are, however, treatments available to lessen the severity of the symptoms. As a parent, how can you tell if your child is dealing with a bout of food poisoning or the onset of the flu? They both have very similar symptoms. A doctor at your local urgent care office should be able to help you determine from which he or she is suffering, but always assume your child contagious and take the proper precautions. It can also be difficult to differentiate between the common cold and allergies. Parents should be on the lookout for specific symptoms covered in our recent blog post, “Is Your Child Suffering from the Common Cold or Seasonal Allergies?

Get Medical Treatment Right Away

Most of our pediatric physicians are parents too, so we understand the importance of keeping our tiny humans happy and healthy. After school, or on weekends, we‘re here. Patients are seen on a walk-in basis without appointment. Our convenient hours are designed to fit your schedule. 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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Is Your Stomach Ache from Food Poisoning or a Stomach Bug?

Posted on Fri, Aug 14, 2015

Stomach Ache We’ve all had those days when your stomach is twisting and churning…unsure if you just ate some bad seafood or if you’re feeling the symptoms of the stomach flu. Take a look at the differences below and learn ways to keep your belly happy.

What is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is an illness caused by bacteria or other toxins in food and causes vomiting and/or diarrhea. Food poisoning causes an estimated 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's difficult to tell the difference between food poisoning and the flu because they both have very similar symptoms.

How Does Food Become Contaminated?

  • Meat and poultry carcasses can become contaminated during slaughter
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables can be contaminated if they are washed or irrigated with contaminated water
  • Salmonella can infect a hen’s ovary causing an egg to be contaminated before the shell is even formed
  • Filter feeding shellfish can become contaminated when bacteria is present in the sea water or if human sewage is dumped into the sea
  • If a food handler does not wash his or her hands while being infected with a virus
  • If a food handler uses the same knife, cutting board, or other utensils without washing work stations in between preparing meals
  • Food left out over night can become highly contaminated

Most Common Foodborne Infections

Campylobacter: a bacterium causing fevers, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Eating undercooked chicken or other food that has been contaminated with drippings from raw chicken will bring this pathogen into your body. • Clostridium Perfringens: a bacterium that produces a toxin causing abdominal pains followed by diarrhea. It is commonly found in raw meat and poultry. • Salmonella: a bacterium that causes fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. It is carried in the intestines of birds, reptiles and mammals and is spread to the humans by eating foods with animal origin. If a person has a weakened immune system, it may invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections.

Viral Gastroenteritis (aka: The Stomach Bug)

The stomach bug, also known as the stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis, is unrelated to influenza viruses which cause respiratory illnesses as opposed to gastrointestinal. Gastroenteritis refers to the inflammation of the stomach and intestines and the most common cause in the U.S. is from the norovirus which spreads easily and quickly.

How Does the Stomach Bug Spread?

These viruses are transmitted through the fecal-oral route and can also be transmitted by ingesting contaminated food or liquids. The norovirus can survive on household surfaces for up to 2 weeks and can even survive some disinfectants, making it difficult to eradicate. Gastroenteritis symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea.

Preventing Food Poisoning and the Stomach Bug

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces where you will be preparing foods
  • Wrap raw meat securely and keep it stored away from other foods
  • Use a meat thermometer when grilling meats. Grilling meat may appear cooked on the outside, but it may not be cooked on the inside.
  • Don’t cross contaminate different foods
  • Keep everything refrigerated or frozen
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables to remove visible dirt and grime
  • Stay home if you are sick

Diagnosis and Treatment

Food poisoning and the flu can be very serious, and it can be extremely difficult to know for sure which illness you have, so it is best to be cautious and assume you are contagious. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above symptoms, visit one of our eMedical Urgent Care offices in Berkeley Heights or Middletown, NJ to discuss your history, review symptoms and evaluate complications of vomiting and diarrhea such as dehydration. We will help diagnose and treat you to make you feel like yourself again! Learn more about our services by contacting us today! eMedical Urgent care is a great alternative when your primary care provider is not available. We can electronically send your visit information to your primary care provider upon request.

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