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.

What Are the Possible Complications of Flu?

Receiving an annual flu shot is the most effective way to protect yourself from this viral infection and its potential complications. Consider visiting your local hospital to inquire about receiving a flu vaccination. This is particularly important if you are at a high risk of developing complications, such as if you have a suppressed immune system, if you’re pregnant, or if you’re 65 or older. In the event that you do develop complications of the flu, the emergency care physicians of West Hills Hospital are here to help you feel well again.


Pneumonia is a serious infection that may develop as a result of influenza. Pneumonia causes the air sacs of the lungs to become inflamed and filled with pus or fluid. Some individuals may experience mild symptoms of pneumonia; while for others, pneumonia can be life-threatening and requires hospitalization. The symptoms of pneumonia can include fever, sweating, coughing, shaking chills, shortness of breath, and chest pain.


Bronchitis is another respiratory problem that can develop as a possible complication of the flu. It involves the inflammation of the bronchial tube lining. Some of the symptoms of bronchitis are similar to those of pneumonia, such as shortness of breath, chest discomfort, and coughing. Coughing may linger for several weeks after other symptoms have resolved.

Chronic Health Conditions

Another major concern for some people who contract the flu is the possibility of chronic health conditions becoming worse. Even if these health issues are well managed, the flu can worsen these conditions. Individuals with diabetes are more likely to contract the flu because of impaired immune function and they are more likely to experience elevated blood sugar levels while ill. Individuals with asthma may suffer from asthma attacks while fighting off the flu. The flu can also be dangerous for those with heart disease such as congestive heart failure. It increases the risk of dehydration, respiratory failure, and even a heart attack.

For more than 50 years, West Hills Hospital has been dedicated to providing quality care for West Valley residents, including emergency care, preventive wellness services, cancer care, and maternity services. Our highly trained providers on the emergency care team are available 24/7. For medical emergencies in the West Hills area, please call 911. Otherwise, you can contact our hospital at (818) 676-4321.

How to Assess the Severity of Fever Symptoms

When your body senses an illness, your body temperature can increase. A higher body temperature than normal isn’t usually cause for alarm. However, it’s a good idea to learn how to assess an individual’s fever and to understand when emergency care is needed. At West Hills Hospital, you’ll find prompt and courteous assistance in our emergency care center.

Taking a Child’s Temperature

Only use digital, rather than mercury thermometers to take a child’s temperature. You can use a digital rectal thermometer for children from birth through three years. For rectal readings, 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit and higher indicates a fever. For children three months and older, you can use a temporal artery thermometer. An oral thermometer is appropriate for children four years and older. An oral reading of 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit and higher indicates a fever.

Taking an Adult’s Temperature

It’s fine to use an oral thermometer to take an adult’s temperature, although temporal artery thermometers may also be used. Adults are generally considered to have a fever when the temperature is above 99 degrees Fahrenheit.

Going to the Hospital

In most cases, home care is appropriate for a mild fever that isn’t associated with additional, severe symptoms. However, parents are advised to take children to the local hospital for any fevers in children younger than three months. A fever of 102.2 degrees in children ages three through 12 months warrants a hospital trip. Bring older children and adults to the hospital for a fever that persists longer than 48 to 72 hours or is accompanied by symptoms such as painful urination, stomach pain, or a new rash.

Knowing When to Call 911

Sometimes, a fever requires emergency care. Call 911 if your child has a fever and cannot be awakened, has a stiff neck and a bad headache, has a seizure, or appears confused. Other serious symptoms include blue lips, nails, or tongue, difficulty breathing, difficulty walking, refusal to move the limbs, and persistent crying.

If you or your child becomes ill in the West Hills area, the emergency care physicians at West Hills Hospital can provide rapid evaluations and treatment recommendations. Our new emergency care center consistently maintains ER wait times that are shorter than the national average. For emergency medical assistance, call 911 now. To speak with a registered nurse at our community hospital, call (818) 676-4321.

Traveling Safely on the Road for the Holidays

Preparing for a road trip this holiday season should involve more than selecting gifts and packing personal items. You should be aware that the nation’s highways become particularly busy during this time, which can increase the risk of an accident. There are a few steps you can take to keep your family safe. If your holiday destination is the West Hills area, you can count on West Hills Hospital to care for your family’s well-being while you’re visiting our beautiful neighborhood.

Plan Your Route in Advance

One leading cause of traffic accidents is driver fatigue. If you’ll be traveling a long distance, it’s best to have at least one other adult who can share driving responsibilities with you. If rotating drivers isn’t possible, plan to rest along the way.

Prepare Your Car for the Trip

Ask your mechanic to give your car a tune-up. Having the brakes and tires checked is particularly important. Additionally, place an emergency kit in your car with essentials like first aid supplies, flares, flashlights, water, and blankets.

Reduce Your Risk of Traffic Accidents

It’s essential to continually monitor the changing traffic patterns around your vehicle. Other holiday travelers may be driving while distracted or fatigued, and they may be more likely to tailgate, fail to check their blind spots, and fail to use turning signals. Generally, the middle lane is the safest. In the event that a driver near you becomes careless, you’ll have an escape route to either side of your car.

Stay Hydrated and Bring Nutritious Food

Sip water frequently while on the road. Dehydration can result in fatigue and impaired alertness, both of which can increase the risk of a traffic accident. It can be difficult to find healthy food choices at highway rest areas. Consider packing a cooler with nutritious snacks such as grapes, apples, nuts, hummus, and whole grain crackers.

For all of your healthcare needs, you can put your trust in the caring professionals at West Hills Hospital. In addition to providing emergency care for West Hills residents and travelers, our hospital offers cancer care, spine care, and maternity services. You can call (818) 676-4321 to consult a registered nurse or visit us online for more helpful health and safety information.

Busting Myths About Mammography

Many people are aware that mammograms are an essential health screening for women. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of misconceptions about mammography and its role in facilitating early cancer care. You can always turn to your physician for accurate, credible information about breast cancer screenings and cancer care. Your physician can let you know when it’s a good idea to start scheduling routine screening mammograms at West Hills Hospital.

Myth: All Women Should be Screened at Age 50

There are several guidelines for screening mammograms. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that women begin having mammograms at age 50, whereas other guidelines recommend screening starting at age 40. However, some women are at a higher risk of requiring cancer care for breast cancer and may be advised to begin having screenings at a younger age. In short, women can consult their primary care physicians regarding their risk factors and when they should begin having mammograms.

Myth: Mammograms Are Always Painful

Some women delay having mammograms because of the misconception that they always hurt. Mammograms do require slight compression of the breast and this may cause some temporary discomfort. However, the compression shouldn’t hurt. Radiologists often advise women to schedule mammograms for a time of month during which their breasts are typically less sensitive.

Myth: Mammograms Aren’t Necessary if I’m Not at Risk of Cancer

It is possible for anyone to develop breast cancer—even men. Many women feel that if they lack a family history of breast cancer, they can delay having mammograms or avoid them altogether. Although a family history of the disease is indeed a risk factor, the majority of women who develop breast cancer do not have a close relative with the disease.

If you have any concerns about your upcoming mammography appointment, the highly trained clinical radiologists at the Women’s Diagnostic Center of West Hills Hospital are here to help. In the event that your mammography and subsequent tests do reveal breast cancer, you can receive a full range of cancer care services at our community hospital in West Hills. To speak with a registered nurse about our cancer care, call (818) 676-4321.

What Are Some of the Most Common Risk Factors for Cancer?

Through lifestyle choices and medical management of health issues, it is possible for an individual to reduce his or her risk of developing cancer. Certain risk factors, such as tobacco use and obesity, are modifiable. Others, such as age and family history, are not. However, it’s important to keep in mind that having multiple risk factors for cancer does not automatically guarantee that a person will develop it, just as having few risk factors does not guarantee that cancer will not develop. If you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, the multidisciplinary cancer care team at West Hills Hospital is here to help.


According to the National Cancer Institute, 66 years is the median age for cancer diagnoses. Although cancer can develop at any age, certain types of cancer may be more likely to affect individuals of specific age groups. For example, individuals under 20 years of age are the most likely to require cancer care for bone cancer. Children and adolescents are more likely to develop neuroblastoma than adults. Conversely, more than half of all cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed among men over the age of 65. Nearly all cases of prostate cancer affect men 50 years of age and older.


Tobacco use is a major risk factor for both cancer development and cancer death. The chemicals in cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco damage the DNA in a person’s cells. This leaves the individual susceptible to cancerous changes. No level of tobacco exposure is safe. This applies to secondhand smoke and thirdhand smoke, the latter of which refers to residual chemicals on surfaces.


Maintaining a healthy weight can protect individuals from a range of chronic diseases. Being obese may increase the risk of certain cancers, including breast, colorectal, endometrial, esophageal, and pancreatic cancer.

The compassionate cancer care team at West Hills Hospital utilizes state-of-the-art medical technology and an innovative approach to treatment to support our patients and their families. Our hospital is proud to offer exceptional medical services right in the West Hills community, which provides a convenient option for our neighbors who are undergoing radiation, surgical, or medical oncology. If you would like general information about our cancer care program, call our hospital at (818) 676-4321 and speak with a registered nurse.

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