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    Insect Protection Tips for Your Outdoor Recreation

    Last updated 20 days ago

    Unless you’re allergic to them, insect bites may be little more than a nuisance to you. However, the diseases that may be transmitted through insect bites may cause serious symptoms and require emergency care at your community hospital. Mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus or encephalitis, while ticks can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. The emergency care staff at West Hills Hospital encourages our neighbors to enjoy outdoor recreation this summer while taking some precautions to prevent insect bites.

    Preventing Mosquito Bites

    Insect repellent with DEET is effective in discouraging mosquitoes from biting. However, children should only use insect repellent with no more than 30 percent DEET. This chemical should not be used on babies. Other ways of preventing mosquito bites include wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, and staying indoors during the dawn and dusk hours. Additionally, discourage mosquitoes from gathering in your yard by draining areas of standing water, such as empty flowerpots.

    Reducing Your Risk of Tick Bites

    Applying insect repellent with DEET and covering up exposed skin can also help you reduce your risk of being bitten by a tick. When outdoors, try to stay on walking paths and avoid sitting on the ground. Avoid brushy or wooded areas, or check yourself for ticks immediately after walking in those areas. You can also modify the area around your home to make it less enticing to ticks. Keep your grass short, and remove brush and leaf litter.

    Responding to Tick Bites

    If you check yourself for ticks immediately after coming inside, you may be able to remove any ticks before you’ve been bitten. Even if you have already been bitten, removing the tick within 24 to 48 hours can usually prevent the transmission of bacteria. Use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible, and then pull it straight out. Be sure that you remove the head of the tick from your skin. Place the tick in a sealed container, just in case it needs to be tested later for disease.

    The emergency care department at West Hills Hospital is available 24/7 to diagnose and treat patients with insect-borne illnesses and other medical problems. Our hospital is also pleased to serve West Hills residents with exceptional cancer care, burn care, and maternity services. Call (818) 676-4000 to speak with a registered nurse at our community hospital.

    How to Spot Heat Illness in Your Child

    Last updated 24 days ago

    Physicians at community hospitals support outdoor play for children because it encourages better health through an active lifestyle. However, when the temperatures rise, it’s important for parents to closely monitor young children for signs of heat-related illnesses. Heat-related illnesses develop in a progressive manner. If they are left untreated, the minor symptoms of heat cramps can lead to the life-threatening problems associated with heatstroke, which requires emergency care. Learning to identify the signs of heat illnesses facilitates prompt treatment.

    Symptoms Children May Complain Of

    Before your children go outdoors to play, remind them to come inside and let you know immediately if they feel unwell. Initially, children might complain of a headache, thirst, dry mouth, dizziness, or muscle cramps. These are indicators of dehydration. If a child develops heat cramps, he or she might complain of intense pain and muscle contractions. When this heat-related illness progresses to heat exhaustion, children may complain of stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Heatstroke may be indicated by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, weakness, and headache.

    Problems Parents May Notice

    Children may not always let their parents know if they’re experiencing unusual symptoms. While watching your child play, observe him or her for unusual irritability, boredom, and fatigue. These symptoms, along with an inability to run as fast as usual, may indicate dehydration. If your child develops heat exhaustion, you may notice that he or she has impaired coordination, excessive sweating, or pale skin. Children may also faint from heat exhaustion. If you observe possible signs of heatstroke, you’ll need to call 911 immediately for emergency care. These signs may include seizures, confusion, irrational behavior, rapid breathing, fast heart rate, combativeness, and emotional instability.

    West Hills Hospital is your partner in wellness. Our physicians and other staff members provide exceptional emergency care, spine care, burn treatment, and cancer care, just to name a few of our service lines. For a referral to a specialist at our community hospital, residents of the West Hills area can call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (818) 676-4000.

    Playing It Safe with Fireworks This Summer

    Last updated 1 month ago

    Fireworks are a quintessential element of summer fun, but they can be extremely dangerous when they are not handled with care and used correctly. Injuries caused by fireworks tend to affect the face, hands, and eyes primarily, and these injuries account for more than 200 ER visits every day in the United States in the weeks surrounding the Fourth of July holiday. To steer clear of fireworks injuries and ensure safe summer fun, follow these guidelines for appropriate fireworks safety.

    Always utilize adult supervision

    Young children should only be spectators when it comes to fireworks. Never let a child light or handle fireworks, and always supervise when kids play with sparklers. Because fireworks and sparklers can burn at temperatures up to 2,000 degrees, injuries can happen quickly, so close supervision is a necessity.

    Only light fireworks in open areas

    Clear, open spaces are the only safe environment to light fireworks. You should have a clear path to get out of the way once fireworks are lit, and remember to avoid trying to relight fireworks that have not fully ignited, since there is a higher chance for injuries caused by projectile materials.

    Keep a bucket of water or hose close by

    Any firework that has been lit should be doused with water to be sure that it has fully gone out before being put in the trash. Keeping plenty of water nearby will help you remember to douse any burned fireworks and allow for a quick response in the event of a fire.

    Never carry fireworks in your pocket

    Fireworks can leave a combustible residue on clothing, so you won’t want to hold them in your pocket.

    If accidents do happen with seasonal fireworks, Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital offers comprehensive burn care with inpatient and outpatient services including intensive care and hyperbaric therapy. To connect with West Hills Hospital for a closer look at our emergency care and burn services, visit our website or call us at (818) 676-4321. 

    What to Expect with Total Joint Replacement Surgeries

    Last updated 1 month ago

    The body’s major joints in the hips, knees, and shoulders can become worn out through the years, and this degenerative pattern can lead to pain that limits regular activities and reduces a patient’s quality of life. Total joint replacement surgery can offer a solution, which will provide more freedom and mobility than you might expect thanks to the modern technologies available for joint replacement procedures. West Hills Hospital offers a comprehensive joint replacement program, incorporating every aspect of care into one convenient center. Read on to explore what you can expect with our joint replacement program.

    A team approach to care

    In the video above, you can hear Dr. Nirav Shah discuss how total joint replacement at West Hills Hospital utilizes a diverse staff of orthopedic experts who work together to coordinate care with a comprehensive approach. Because surgery, follow-up, and rehabilitation all take place in the same center, patients can expect that every member of the care team has had clear communication to ensure optimal success in surgery and long-term recovery.

    Extensive planning and recovery

    Before having joint replacement surgery, patients will attend a pre-surgical education class to create clearer expectations for this elective procedure. Patients also work one-on-one with physicians to plan their care and share their post-surgical goals. Recovery following joint replacement will include physical therapy led by licensed and certified specialists in the Fitness & Rehabilitation Center.

    Improved technology for a broader range of patients

    In the past, the typical joint replacement candidate was an older patient with limited goals in mobility and a primary focus on pain management. While joint replacement is still valuable as a method to relieve chronic pain in the affected joint, it is also now more widely accessible with artificial joint technologies that can facilitate more active lifestyles.

    Are you considering joint replacement surgery to improve your quality of life and restore your independence? West Hills Hospital can walk you through the process with our exceptional patient education, so call us at (818) 676-4321 to get started with a physician referral. 

    What Is a STEMI Heart Attack?

    Last updated 1 month ago

    While any type of heart attack is an emergency situation, not all heart attacks are alike. STEMI, or ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, is a more serious type of heart attack that requires the specialized care of a dedicated STEMI Receiving Center like West Hills Hospital. This article will offer a more detailed look at what happens in the ER when patients are experiencing STEMI heart attacks.

    STEMI Diagnosis

    ST segment elevation refers to a pattern that shows up on an electrocardiogram (ECG), a test measuring the electrical activity of the heart given when a patient arrives in the hospital with heart attack symptoms. Along with a clear pattern on the ECG, STEMI heart attacks may be distinct with gradual symptoms that may begin to manifest well before the actual heart attack takes place.

    Immediate Treatment Options

    The goal of treating a STEMI heart attack is to restore blood flow either through medication or mechanical procedures like angioplasty. Medication will consist of clot-busting drugs given through an IV, and angioplasty will involve the placement of a catheter at the site of the blockage to remove the clot. With angioplasty, a stent may be placed to keep the artery clear and open, which may promote improved heart health in years to come.

    Long-Term Effects

    STEMI heart attacks are more damaging because they are caused by complete blockages in the arteries that will not go away on their own. Less severe heart attacks may be related to temporary or partial blockages that might cause less damage to the heart muscle. Because of the more extensive effects of a STEMI heart attack, patients may require more significant lifestyle changes facilitated by cardiac rehabilitation, which begins in the hospital following critical care.

    Only about 25% of hospitals are equipped to treat STEMI heart attacks, and West Hills Hospital is among these facilities. Our Heart & Vascular Center is further distinguished with accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers and official designation for specialized emergency care from Los Angeles County. You can learn more about why you should rely on us for your complete cardiovascular care by visiting our website or calling us at (818) 676-4321. 

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Disclaimer: The materials provided are intended for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor for medical advice. Use of and access to this website or other materials do not create a physician-patient relationship. The opinions expressed through this website are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the hospital, medical staff, or any individual physician or other healthcare professional.
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