IT'S FLU SEASON! Visit us for your Flu Vaccination, Rapid Flu Testing, and PCR Testing
Check with your carrier for coverage

Blog Posts

seasonal-allergies

What Causes Allergies? And Other Answers to Common Allergy Questions

Posted on Tue, Apr 12, 2016

Recent studies show that the number of people suffering with seasonal allergies has been skyrocketing and is expected to continue increasing into the foreseeable future. In the United States alone, 65 million people suffer with seasonal allergies on a regular basis. What causes allergies and how does your body respond to them?

What Are Allergies?

Allergies are abnormal reactions to ordinarily harmless substance. The sensitizing substances, called allergens, may be inhaled, swallowed, or come into contact with the skin. Despite the fact that allergies are so common, the actual cause of them is still rather “mysterious” and vague for many sufferers.

What Causes Allergies?What Causes Allergies?

The most common allergens include pollen, mold spores, house dust mites, animal dander, foods, insect bites or stings, plants, insect spores, latex rubber, viruses, bacteria, medications and environmental conditions such as cold, heat or humidity. While it’s easy to blame your sister’s cat, most allergens are actually harmless. What really causes the allergic reactions is our own immune system that mistakes these allergens for a serious threat and starts attacking them.

How Does the Body Respond to Allergens?

Allergic reactions occurs after the immune system mistakenly learns to recognize innocent foreign substances or allergens as potentially harmful. Most people who suffer from allergies have to deal with these aggravating conditions that can interrupt their lifestyle. Common symptoms of a typical allergic reaction include breathing congestion, inflammation, scratchy or watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, itching, puffy face, flushing of the cheeks, vomiting, stomachache and intestinal irritation. But what is happening inside your body when you’re exposed to allergens? The AAAAI (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology) explains:

“Your immune system controls how your body defends itself. For instance, if you have an allergy to pollen, your immune system identifies pollen as an invader or allergen. Your immune system overreacts by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. This reaction usually causes symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or on the skin.

Each type of IgE has specific "radar" for each type of allergen. That's why some people are only allergic to cat dander (they only have the IgE antibodies specific to cat dander), while others have allergic reactions to multiple allergens because they have many more types of IgE antibodies.

It's not yet fully understood why some substances trigger allergies and others do not, or why some people have allergic reactions while others do not. A family history of allergies is the single most important factor that puts you at risk of developing allergic disease.”

What’s Triggering Your Allergic Response?

Different allergens will produce different reactions in those who suffer from allergies. If you think that you may have allergies, it is wise to pay close attention to how your body reacts to these different allergens, and take notes on the severity of the symptoms to share with a medical care professional. This will give you a good indication of what environmental irritants may be triggering your allergic responses and to what degree.

eMedical Urgent Care Walk-In Medical Clinic

If symptoms interfere with normal day-to-day activities or if there is a sudden onset of symptoms, you should see a doctor. This is especially important if a child under your care is experiencing severe or sudden symptoms. eMedical Urgent Care physicians provide urgent medical care and allergy treatment 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.

Share    

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.

Share    

Spring Seasonal Allergies Coming to Bloom

Posted on Tue, Mar 31, 2015

emedPollenIt’s that time of year again that allergy sufferers dread: allergy season. Approximately 36 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies or hay fever, so if you take the proper steps to reduce your exposure, you can stay comfortable and still enjoy the outdoors with your family this spring.

Allergies

Seasonal allergies (also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis) are caused by an overactive immune system. Your body mistakes harmless substances (such as pollen) for bacteria and attacks it (like it attacks a germ), releasing histamine, the same chemical that is released when you are fighting a cold. Histamine causes swelling in your nasal passage, often accompanied by a running nose, coughing, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, and in some cases, asthma.

Knowing the Difference from a Cold

Telling the difference between a cold and allergies can sometimes be difficult. Colds are caused by hundreds of different viruses. Your immune system goes on attack, responding with classic symptoms such as congestion and coughing. Colds are contagious (allergies are not). Colds are usually accompanied by a fever and typically only last up to 14 days; if symptoms drag on longer, it may be an allergic reaction. Not sure if your symptoms are from the common cold or seasonal allergies? Come see us! We’ll work with you to determine the best treatment for your symptoms.

Stay Comfortable

Reducing your exposure to allergic triggers is the No. 1 way to lessen the symptoms. With a few minor lifestyle changes, you can keep your symptoms under control. Below are some tips to help you stay comfortable:
  • Head outside at the right time. Peak pollen production can occur in the early morning, so plan activities for alternate times of the day. Ragweed pollen counts are at their highest from mid-August until the first frost.
  • Avoid using a window fan to cool rooms because they can pull pollen inside. Keep windows closed in the car, using the air conditioner instead.
  • Delegate yard work. Mowing the lawn, pulling weeds and gardening can stir up allergens.
  • Stay indoors on windy and dry days. And enjoy the outdoors after a good rain when the pollen is cleared from the air.
  • Shower up and change your clothes. Wash the pollen down the drain that may be stuck to your hair or clothing from being outside.
  • Plant wisely. If you have the opportunity to plant trees on your property, choose species such as catalpa, dogwood, fir, redwood and crepe, which don’t aggravate allergies.

Allergy Forecast

Predicting pollen is like predicting the weather; there’s a lot of variability, and you can have sudden changes. Visit Pollen.com to stay up to date on the pollen count in your area. Even though allergy medications (antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops) are available without a prescription, it’s a good idea to consult with a doctor first to make sure you choose the right one. If your seasonal allergy symptoms become unbearable, even with over-the-counter antihistamines, stop in to eMedical for an evaluation of your symptoms.

Share