A UTI or an STI? The Trouble with Similar Symptoms

uti or an sti - photo of bathroom stallIf you’re making frequent –and painful– trips to the bathroom, you might assume you have a urinary tract infection. But, there are other conditions that cause pelvic pain and trouble with urination, most notably, sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea.

So, how can you tell if you’re suffering due to a UTI or an STI?

It’s difficult to differentiate a UTI from an STI based on symptoms alone, since both cause burning during urination, pelvic pain, and a frequent, sudden urge to urinate. However, if you also have vaginal symptoms such as discharge, bleeding and/or irregular periods, and are sexually active, it may suggest an STI. Make sure to talk to your doctor about your specific symptoms and risk factors for these types of infections.

The only way to determine exactly what kind of infection you are dealing with is to head to the doctor for testing.

Why it’s important to seek treatment

Urinary Tract Infections occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. In most cases, UTIs can be successfully treated with a short course of antibiotics and symptoms will clear up within a few days of treatment. However, when left untreated, urinary tract infections can lead to serious complications including recurrent infections, kidney disease, and even sepsis.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are bacterial infections that spread through sexual intercouse and develop in the reproductive organs, the urethra, throat, and rectum. Both infections are curable and are treated with antibiotics. Untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause permanent health problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and increased risk of HIV.

If you think you have a UTI or an STI, visit our clinic today. With onsite lab testing, our compassionate providers can determine the cause of your symptoms and provide you with an appropriate treatment plan.

Stop Your Seasonal Allergies Before They Start

If you suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis (AKA hay fever), then you know the symptoms are downright miserable. The constant sneezing, runny nose, and itchiness make it difficult to deal with even the most simple daily tasks. This spring, learn the best way to stop your seasonal allergies before they start.

Understanding Hay Fever

Hay fever is caused by pollen carried in the air during different times of the year, and spring, with so many trees and plants in bloom, tends to be a heavy-hitter. Trees, weeds, and grasses release pollen to fertilize other plants. When someone with an allergy inhales this pollen, their immune system perceives an intruder and reacts by releasing histamine into the bloodstream to attack it. This response triggers symptoms such as:

  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy eyes and nose
  • Dark circles under the eyes

How can I prevent seasonal allergies?

The best way to control hay fever is to avoid the allergens that cause it. And while it may be difficult to completely avoid pollen, you can actively monitor the pollen count in your area and limit outdoor exposure when counts are high. The National Allergy Bureau now offers a helpful online tool that reports on pollen counts for specific trees, grasses, weeds and mold spores throughout the country. Check your local pollen count now »

Staying aware of the pollen counts can also make your allergy medications more effective. Antihistamine medications work best when taken preemptively. If you take your medication before you come into contact with pollen, it can prevent the release of histamine and stop your symptoms in their tracks.

Antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal steroids can all help manage hay fever allergies. Talk to a doctor to learn which medication is right for you.

If you suffer from spring allergies, visit our clinic today. Our medical team can prescribe allergy medications and offer helpful advice on how to keep your hay fever under control.

U.R.I. = Upper Respiratory Infection or Un Real Inconvenience?

illustration of man with upper respiratory infection


If you’ve got a runny nose, an aching throat, and a cough that won’t quit, you can probably blame it on an upper respiratory infection (URI). URIs are one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor, especially in fall and winter. Educate yourself on the illness, and learn ways to battle the miserable symptoms associated with it.

What is an upper respiratory infection?

An upper respiratory infection is a term used to describe a contagious infection of the upper respiratory tract (the nose, throat, airways, sinuses, and ears). Most URIs are viral illnesses, though some are caused by bacteria. The common cold, sinusitis, and bronchitis all types of upper respiratory infections.

What are the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, and how long will they last?

Symptoms of an upper respiratory infection are caused by inflammation of the mucous membranes in your upper respiratory tract. They include runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, cough, and mucus production. Fever, headache, fatigue, and wheezing are also common.

How do you treat an upper respiratory infection?

If a bacteria is causing your upper respiratory infection, a doctor can prescribe antibiotics to treat it. However, antibiotics are ineffective for viral URIs. In these instances, treatment is focused on alleviating symptoms.

If your symptoms are severe or long lasting, it’s important to seek medical help. Secondary bacterial infections may develop, and require treatment. Head to the doctor ASAP if you experience:

  • A fever greater than 101 F for more than two days 
  • Shortness of breath, pain or tightness in your chest, wheezing
  • A painful cough that worsens, or lasts longer than two weeks
  • A bad sore throat that worsens, or lasts longer than three days
  • Swollen glands in your neck that aren’t going away
  • Pain in your face or teeth that does not improve
  • A long-lasting, or severe headache
  • A rash
  • Persistent abdominal pain
  • Significant drowsiness or confusion

Walk into our clinic any day, any time, no appointment needed for prompt, affordable treatment of an upper respiratory infection. With x-rays, lab testing, and an amazing medical team on staff, we’re here to help you feel better.

Bronchitis vs. Pneumonia: Common Signs of Each and What to Do to Feel Better

bronchitis vs pneumoniaExperiencing coughing and chest discomfort? Could it be bronchitis? Or is it pneumonia? While the two illnesses share similar symptoms, they require different treatment plans, and a correct diagnosis is key to help you start feeling better. Learn how to tell the difference between the two conditions.

Acute Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is generally viral in nature and often develops after an upper respiratory illness, such as cold or flu. The condition is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes (the airways of the lungs), which leads to excess mucus production and coughing. Symptoms include:

  • Cough, with or without mucus production
  • Soreness or discomfort in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Mild fever and chills
  • Headache and body aches

Acute bronchitis will usually go away on its own and antibiotics are not recommended for treatment. To feel better, get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Most symptoms will subside within a week, though your cough may persist for several weeks.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia feels similar to bronchitis, but is a much more serious illness. It is an infection of the alveoli– the air sacs in the lungs that transfer oxygen to the bloodstream. The alveoli become inflamed and may fill with fluid or pus. Because the condition affects your oxygen supply, it can severely compromise the organs and tissues in your body.

Symptoms vary based on your age, overall health, and what’s causing the infection, but generally include:

  • Cough, with or without mucus production
  • Sharp chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Fever, sweating and shaking chills
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

Adults age 65 and older may also experience:

  • Confusion or changes in mental awareness
  • Lower than normal body temperature

Treatment for pneumonia depends on your age, overall health, and the type and severity of the illness. Options include antibiotics, over-the-counter cough medicines and fever reducers/pain relievers.

If you’re experiencing symptoms that indicate pneumonia, head into our clinic today. Our medical team can help diagnose your illness and determine the best treatment plan to get you back to normal.

A Sore Throat or Strep Throat?

Your throat aches and the simple act of swallowing is suddenly painful. Is this a mild sore throat that will go away on its own, or a strep infection that needs antibiotics?

Learn when it’s time to see a doctor for sore throat symptoms.

There are many causes for a sore throat. Your pain could be the result of a virus, a bacteria, an allergen, or even an environmental factor, such as cigarette smoke. So, how can you tell what’s causing your sore throat?

Let’s take a look at the symptoms of a strep infection:

tea with lemon and ginger for sore throat

  • A sore throat that comes on suddenly
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fever
  • Red, swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches
  • Tiny red spots on the roof of your mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the front of your neck

Though less common, you may also experience a headache, nausea and vomiting, and/or a rash known as scarlet fever.

Strep throat symptoms generally do not include:

  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Hoarseness (abnormal voice changes that may sound breathy, raspy, or strained)
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)

These symptoms suggest that a virus is causing your throat pain.

If your symptoms do indicate strep, fear not. Our medical team is available to provide the testing and treatment you need to start feeling better. Walk in today for prompt, affordable care.

Stay Healthy and Safe this Holiday Season

While the winter holidays are a time of joy and celebration, the season is not without its pitfalls. Increased travel, family gatherings, and holiday decorations and gifts can bring unwanted stress, injury, and illness. Stay safe and healthy this season by following just a few simple precautions.

Travel Smart

Millions of Americans will find themselves on the road this December. Whether it’s flying cross-country to see family or driving across town to a holiday party, you’ll want to travel smart. Follow these tips to stay safe and healthy on-the-go.

  • Never drink and drive. Use a designated driver to help guests get home safely after a holiday party.
  • Don’t drive distracted. Put the phone away and don’t fiddle with the radio. Your complete attention should be on the road.
  • Pack healthy snacks. Whether gearing up for a flight or a road trip, you’re bound to be tempted by fast food and sugary snacks once en route. Keep water, fruit, and veggies handy to stave off hunger.
  • Fit in exercise. Go for a short jog at the rest stop or choose to walk to your airline gate. A little activity can go a long way for your health.
  • Buckle up. Always ensure that everyone in your vehicle is wearing a seatbelt, no matter the distance of the drive.
  • Wash your hands often. The Journal of Environmental Health Research found that you are 100 times more likely to catch a cold on a plane than during normal daily life. Avoid touching surfaces as much as possible, practice good hand washing, and try not to touch your face.

Decorate and Give Safely

A holiday tradition like hanging string lights might seem harmless, but an estimated 15,000 injuries involving holiday decorating were seen in emergency rooms during the 2012 season. Take preventative measures to avoid unwanted injuries while decorating and gift-giving this season:

  • Make sure your tree is stable and away from candles and the fireplace.
  • Decorate the tree with children in mind. Keep fragile, breakable ornaments out of reach.
  • Ensure there are no exposed wires, excessive kinks, or loose connections in string light decorations.
  • Turn off tree lights and decorations when not in use.
  • Always use a proper step ladder. Don’t try to stand or balance on furniture while decorating.
  • Give safe, age-appropriate gifts. Small children can choke on small or removable parts.
  • Avoid toys with button batteries and be aware of their risk.

We wish you and your family a very happy, healthy and safe holiday season!

Could you have Prediabetes?

While a whopping eighty-six million Americans have prediabetes, 9 out of 10 of those people don’t even realize they have it.

So, what exactly is prediabetes? Educate yourself now on the all-too-common condition.

The Basics
Prediabetes means your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. The condition affects both adults and children and generally shows no signs or symptoms. You may be at high risk for prediabetes (and subsequently type 2 diabetes) if you:

  • are overweight
  • are 45 years of age or older
  • have excess abdominal fat
  • have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
  • are physically active fewer than 3 times per week
  • gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds
  • had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes)

Without lifestyle changes and intervention, prediabetes is very likely to lead to type 2 diabetes– a chronic disease with disabling long-term complications, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputations. It’s also associated with extremely expensive medical costs. If you’re at increased risk of prediabetes, it’s important to make healthy lifestyle choices that prevent progression of the condition.

Prevention Tips

  • Avoid red meats, processed meats, high-sugar drinks
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and olive oil
  • Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week
  • Lose excess pounds
  • Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check

How to Prepare for Cold and Flu Season

School is back in-session and temperatures are cooling down, which means cold and flu season is just around the corner. Learn what precautions you can take now to prevent cold and flu later.

Cold and flu are contagious respiratory illnesses that spread through droplets in the air. These droplets are made when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. You can catch a cold or flu simply by being near a sick person or by touching a surface where droplets are present. According to the CDC, people with flu can spread it to others up to 6 feet away! So, what can you do to stay healthy this fall? We outline 5 easy tips below.

  1. Get the flu vaccine. A yearly flu shot is the best protection against seasonal influenza. It is the first and most important step you can take to avoid getting sick. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that the flu vaccine be given to everyone 6 months and older, preferably before the end of October.
  2. Wash your hands often. This simple, everyday action is an effective way to remove germs, avoid illness, and reduce the spread of cold and flu. Wash your hands with soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t readily available, you can also use an alcohol-based sanitizer to kill germs.
  3. Keep a clean environment. Take extra care to keep your home and work spaces clean during cold and flu season. Use disinfectant sprays to sanitize any surface where droplets could land. Pay special attention to the bathroom and kitchen, and replace sponges and rags often to minimize the spread of bacteria.
  4. Don’t touch your face. Whether by rubbing tired eyes, itching the nose, or covering a yawn, we all subconsciously touch our face throughout the day. Each time we do, we increase our chances of transferring bacteria and viral particles on our hands to the face, where they can enter the body.
  5. Practice a healthy lifestyle. During cold and flu season, it’s important to eat right (think fruits, veggies, and lean protein), exercise, and get adequate rest. Studies show that regular exercise can strengthen the body’s immune system. It is also a good idea to avoid close contact with sick people.

Even with the best precautions, you might still come down with the flu. If you’re suffering from symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, cough, headache, and/or body aches, head into Omni-Med in Florham Park today. Our providers can evaluate your illness and get you the care you need.

Our goal is to help you stay healthy this cold and flu season! Walk in anytime for convenient, affordable vaccines and compassionate care.

Make time for a Sports Physical this August

sports physical - a soccer cleat on turf
The start of the school year is just around the corner! And if you’re the parent of a student athlete, you’ll want to ensure that your child is physically and mentally ready to get in the game come fall. Head into our clinic now for a fast, affordable sports physical!

Most athletic leagues and schools require sports physicals –also known as preparticipation physical examinations (PPE)–, and it’s clear to see why. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 3.5 million children under 15 get hurt playing sports or participating in recreational activities every year. Sports physicals can help athletes discover and manage health problems that may interfere with their performance, as well as reduce their overall risk of injury. Don’t skip this important annual check-up on developmental health.

During a sports physical exam, a medical provider will:

  • Record height and weight
  • Take a blood pressure and pulse
  • Test vision
  • Check the heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat
  • Evaluate posture, joints, strength, and flexibility

The provider will review the athlete’s medical history and offer helpful tips on concussion and injury prevention. The exam also provides an opportunity to discuss the effects of using drugs, alcohol, and supplements.

To prepare for the exam, make sure to bring any required participation forms for the provider to sign. If your child wears glasses or contacts, you’ll want to bring those too.
In some cases, your child may need a follow-up exam, additional tests, or further treatment before the provider can sign off on participation. Allow time for this possibility, and hurry in for your child’s sports physical!

Water Safety Rules Every Parent Should Know

water safety rules for parents - sunny poolOn hot summer days, many of us head to local swimming spots to cool off and have fun with our families. However, a trip to the pool can quickly turn tragic if the proper precautions aren’t taken. According to the CDC, “drownings are a leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 14, and three children die every day as a result of drowning.” Fortunately, parents can take practical steps to reduce this risk and keep kids safe.

Follow these key water safety rules to protect your children from drowning and water-related injuries.

Keep a close watch.

Never take your eyes off your child when he or she is in the water. Most children do not–or cannot–yell for help in drowning situations, so it’s imperative to actively supervise. Keep phones stowed away and minimize other distractions. In the time it takes to check a text message, your child can be submerged.

Use life jackets.

Life jackets are the best protection against drowning. Young children and weak swimmers should always wear a properly-fitted, Coast Guard-approved life jacket when near the water. Life jackets should fit snugly and be in good condition, as rips and tears can reduce effectiveness.

Learn how to choose the right life jacket (US Coast Guard Boating Safety Division).

Know CPR.

Make sure you have this life-saving skill to handle an emergency. If your child’s breathing or heart has stopped due to drowning, CPR can keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until medical help arrives. Read up on the basics of CPR from the Mayo Clinic and consider signing up for a class through the American Heart Association or American Red Cross.

Raise strong swimmers.

Sign your kids up for swimming lessons to ensure they know basic water safety and swim techniques. For most children, the American Association of Pediatrics recommends beginning lessons at age 4. However, it’s important not to become overconfident in a child’s ability. Swimming skills are just one level of protection against drowning. Toddlers and young children still require active supervision.

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