West Hills Hospital & Medical Center
West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is your community resource for better health. We have the capability and expertise to perform emergency open heart procedures, perform brain and spine surgery.
818.676.4000

Taking a Look at Heart Attack Symptoms in Seniors

As you get older, your heart attack risk may increase substantially since older adults have a higher rate of conditions like hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Each of these conditions can lead to a heart attack if they are unmanaged, so it is important to see your primary care physician to keep an eye on these risk factors. In addition to improving your preventive care routine, you should familiarize yourself with the heart attack symptoms frequently seen in seniors that might guide you to the ER.

Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath is often the first sign of a heart attack. Well before a heart attack occurs, shortness of breath during physical activity is common. During a heart attack, difficulty breathing will be persistent, even while you are at rest.

Chest discomfort

Most people associate a heart attack with chest pain though you should remember that this symptom is not always present. Chest pain may also differ from person to person. Some patients will have sudden, severe pain, while others may feel an increased pressure that comes and goes in waves. To play it safe, it is best to head to the ER for any type of chest pain.

Cold sweats

In many cases, heart attack sufferers will have an overall feeling of illness, which might include cold sweats or clammy skin.

Fatigue

Before and during a heart attack, seniors are especially likely to feel an overwhelming sense of exhaustion. You might feel gradual increasing fatigue, or you may suddenly feel too tired to carry out normal activities. In either situation, emergency care will be the best response.

When you need cardiovascular care at any age, West Hills Hospital can provide the advanced services you need through our Heart & Vascular Institute. To find a physician or learn more about our hospital services, call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (818) 676-4321.


Burn and Scald Prevention Tips for Burn Awareness Week

Burn injuries can happen in a flash, especially when they are caused by scalding hot liquids, which can splash and cover a widespread area of the body. To prevent burn and scald injuries at home during Burn Awareness Week and beyond, follow the helpful tips in this article for safely handling hot liquids and cooking tools.

Check your water heater temperature

Your home’s water heater should not be set higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, since hotter temperatures can scald the skin. If you have kids, always use a thermometer to check the bath water before your child gets in. You might also run your hand through the water to check for hot spots.

Use caution when cooking on the stove

When you have water boiling on the stove, make sure that the pot is not overfilled so that there is not a risk of water splashing over the edge. Keep all handles pointed away from the front of the stove so that they do not accidentally get knocked down or pulled off the stove by wandering kids or pets.

Make sure travel mugs have leak-proof lids

If you like to take coffee or tea along with you on your morning commute, be sure that your travel mug has a secure lid that is leak-proof. You should also remember that travel mugs are typically insulated, so they will keep liquids very hot for a long period of time.

Always handle hot dishes with oven mitts

Whether you are taking a dish out of the microwave or off the stove, you should use oven mitts to protect your hands. Dishes can get very hot in the microwave, and pot handles may heat up on the stove, and the shock of grabbing a hot dish might cause you to drop it. Plus, you might sustain a burn from the dish itself.

If you do suffer a burn injury in West Hills, you will be in good hands under the care of the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital. To learn more about our dedicated burn care and other hospital services, call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (818) 676-4321.


Taking a Look at Some Myths About Flu

Most people who contract flu viruses can recover by themselves at home. Staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest may be all that’s needed. However, the flu can be quite serious for some patients, including young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and individuals with underlying health problems. When patients with severe flu symptoms or complications require emergency care, the providers of West Hills Hospital are here to help.

Myth: The Vaccine Can Cause Flu

One particularly damaging myth about influenza is that receiving a flu vaccine can cause the infection. If this myth has discouraged you from getting a flu shot, consider talking to your physician about your concerns. The flu shot is manufactured from an inactive virus, which means it cannot transmit the infection. However, the flu shot does not offer immediate protection from the virus. When people get sick after getting the flu shot, it’s only a coincidence.

Myth: Annual Flu Shots Are Unnecessary

Even if you received the flu shot last year, it’s still advisable to get another flu shot. Influenza viruses mutate rapidly. This means that last year’s flu shot will not necessarily offer protection against currently circulating viruses.

Myth: Healthy People Cannot Transmit Flu Viruses

Another common misconception about influenza is that it can only be transmitted by a person who is actively displaying symptoms. In fact, a significant percentage of the people who are carrying the flu virus do not have symptoms. This is another reason why it’s important to get an annual flu shot, particularly for individuals who are in close contact with vulnerable populations such as the elderly and young children.

Myth: Antibiotics Can Treat Flu

Most people who contract the flu do not need emergency care. Even when a patient does need medical attention for the flu, antibiotics are unable to help because these medications only target bacterial infections. Since the flu is caused by viruses, antiviral medications may be prescribed.

The state-of-the-art emergency care department at West Hills Hospital is fully equipped to respond to every type of medical emergency, including severe flu symptoms and life-threatening complications. Additionally, our full-service community hospital connects families throughout the West Hills area with exceptional maternity services, cancer care, burn care, and many other specialty medical services. If you have a true medical emergency, please call 911 now; otherwise, you can call (818) 676-4321 to speak with a registered nurse at our community hospital.


Emergency Healthcare: Where EMS Fits In

When West Hills residents experience chest pain that may indicate a heart attack, get involved in a serious car accident, or experience any other type of medical emergency, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) steps in to offer life-saving help. EMS systems are always available to respond instantly to emergencies. To protect the public health and safety of the West Hills community, the emergency care providers at West Hills Hospital work closely with EMS systems.

What does EMS Do?

You may already be familiar with the basic functions of EMS. When an emergency occurs and you call 911, the emergency dispatcher activates EMS in your community. The EMS network dispatches an appropriate responder to your location, such as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or a paramedic. Depending on the type of emergency, these EMS providers may work closely with law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other emergency responders. When EMS personnel arrive at the scene of a medical emergency, they quickly assess the situation, stabilize any critical patients, and transport patients to a nearby hospital or trauma center via ambulance or helicopter.

When Should You Call 911?

For children and adults alike, it can sometimes be difficult to know when a 911 call is appropriate or when it might be better to seek non-emergent transportation to the hospital. It’s important for parents to help their kids know when to call for emergency help. Some common indicators of medical emergencies include the loss of consciousness, severe physical trauma, uncontrollable bleeding, respiratory distress, and severe allergic reactions. When discussing EMS with young children, it may be helpful for parents to use roleplay. While pretending to be a 911 operator, a parent can coach the child through providing the location, child’s name, and the basic details of the emergency.

The emergency care providers of West Hills Hospital encourage families to learn to recognize the signs of a medical emergency and to know how to respond appropriately. West Hills residents are invited to explore our current classes and events, which may include infant and pediatric CPR. You can get in touch with a registered nurse at our community hospital by calling (818) 676-4321 or visit our website for further information about our emergency care, Grossman Burn Center, and other hospital services.


What to Expect When You Give Blood

Since 1970, January has been designated as National Blood Donor Month. This was intended to encourage donors to give blood during the time of year when blood donations typically decline. If you’ve never donated blood before, the emergency care providers at West Hills Hospital encourage you to consider giving the gift of life.

Before You Go

If you plan to go to a blood drive at your community hospital or at the local office of the American Red Cross, call ahead of time to make an appointment. During the days and weeks leading up to your appointment, eat a healthy diet with plenty of iron-rich foods. These include meats, beans, dried fruits, and dark green vegetables such as spinach. Drink plenty of fluids on the day of your appointment and wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that are easily rolled up. Bring identification and a list of all prescribed medications, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal supplements you may be taking.

During Your Appointment

When you arrive at the hospital or other blood drive site, you will register and receive a medical screening, which includes a check of your blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. You’ll also have a confidential interview, during which you’ll be asked to disclose your health history. If you are eligible to blood donor, a technician will cleanse an area of skin on your arm and insert a new, sterile needle. Let the technician know if needles make you nervous. He or she can help you successfully donate blood despite this obstacle. It will only take about eight to 10 minutes for most blood donations.

After You Donate

Once your blood donation is complete, the technician removes the needle and places a bandage on your arm. At this point, you can head over to the refreshments area to enjoy a beverage and a snack with the other blood donors. Drink plenty of extra fluids during the next 24 hours and avoid strenuous activity. You should also avoid consuming alcohol for 24 hours.

West Hills Hospital relies on generous blood donors to help us save lives. The providers at our emergency care, cancer care, Grossman Burn Center, and other departments throughout our community hospital would like to extend our gratitude to West Hills residents who give blood. If you have a general question about blood donations, you can contact our Consult-A-Nurse line at (818) 676-4321.


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