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 Most Common Sources of Burns in the Summer Season?

At West Hills Hospital’s Grossman Burn Center, we provide compassionate, life-saving care for burn injuries year round. Burn risks abound in the summer, and fast treatment reduces pain, scarring, and the risk of infection. Take a look at some of the most common sources of summertime burns, so you can take steps to protect yourself.

When most people think of summer burns, they think of sunburns, and for good reason. Although most sunburns are annoying but easy to manage at home, some can be so serious that they require emergency care. If you experience a sunburn that blisters or causes swelling or nausea, consider going to the ER. You could have sun poisoning, a severe type of sunburn that should be treated by a doctor. You can avoid sunburns by always wearing broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 when you are outside and reapplying it every two hours. Consider avoiding the sun during peak hours and sitting in the shade rather than in direct sunlight.


Summer brings plenty of opportunities for cookouts, but open flames on a grill pose a burn risk. Never oversaturate charcoal with lighter fluid, and never attempt to use lighter fluid on a gas grill. Likewise, never attempt to start a charcoal grill with the top closed. When you’re cooking on a grill, wear short sleeves or tight-fitting long sleeves to avoid clothing accidentally dropping into the flames. Keep kids and pets clear from the grilling area and get burn care immediately if an accident occurs.

The Grossman Burn Center provides around-the-clock care at West Hills Hospital. If you experience a burn, come into the hospital for care at our burn center in West Hills or call (818) 676-4321 to speak to a nurse.

Smart Measures for Everyday Eye Safety

It’s important to take steps each day to protect your eyes from injury and illness that could lead to long-term vision problems. If you do experience an eye injury, seek emergency care as soon as possible. Often, fast treatment can prevent further complications. Keep your eyes safe each day with these tips.

Wear Protective Glasses

Anytime you’re doing an activity that puts your eyes at risk, you should wear protective glasses or goggles. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports, operating tools, or working with chemicals. Protective glasses can dramatically reduce your chances of experiencing an eye injury that could compromise your vision. Be sure to select the right kind of protection for the activity you are doing so you can the maximum benefit possible.

Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes

Rubbing your eyes allows you to transfer infectious material from your hands to your eyes. These infections can be absorbed into your body through the mucous membranes in your eyes and can cause anything from a mild case of conjunctivitis to serious infections like HIV, herpes B virus, and avian influenza. It is best to avoid touching your eyes at all. If you must touch them, such as to remove contacts, be sure to wash and dry your hands thoroughly. Washing your hands frequently throughout the day will also reduce the risk of infection that could occur from inadvertently touching your eyes.

Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses are much more than a fashion statement. They also protect your eyes from harmful rays that can cause photo keratitis, macular degeneration, and skin cancer on your eyelids. Choose sunglasses that offer UVA and UVB ray protection. Look for glasses that are labeled as such or that carry a seal of effectiveness.

Don’t put your vision on the line. Take precautions daily to protect your eye health, and if a problem does occur, visit West Hills Hospital for emergency care. In addition to emergency care in West Hills, we provide a range of patient services, including cancer care and burn care. To learn more, please call (818) 676-4321.

Knowing When You Are Suffering from a Migraine

Migraine symptoms can be severe to the point of being debilitating, according to the West Hills Hospital neurologist featured in this video. In some cases, patients in the West Hills area might even seek emergency care because of the severity of their symptoms. These signs and symptoms can be categorized into four phases of migraine development: Prodrome, aura, headache, and postdrome.


The prodrome period occurs hours and sometimes days before the actual migraine attack. It is sometimes referred to as the premonitory or pre-headache phase. Not all migraine patients experience prodrome symptoms, but for those that do, this phase can be useful for facilitating early migraine treatment. Prodrome symptoms can include increased thirst and urination, fatigue, nausea, stiff neck, and sleep disturbances. Other possible signs include depression, difficulty concentrating, difficulty reading and speaking, hyperactivity or hypoactivity, and increased sensitivity to light and sound.


Experiencing the migraine aura can be frightening for patients, especially when the aura is experienced for the first time. The visual symptoms include partial loss of sight, blurry vision, flashing lights, and wavy lines. Other signs and symptoms associated with migraine auras include the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Motor weakness
  • Confusion
  • Hearing loss
  • Olfactory and auditory hallucinations
  • Neck pain
  • Speaking difficulties


The term “headache phase” can be misleading because the signs and symptoms can affect the whole body. These include nausea, vomiting, hot flashes, chills, dizziness, vertigo, severe anxiety, confusion, and increased sensitivity to light, sound, and odors. The headache pain is often quite severe and might occur only on one side of the head. It may awaken patients from sleep, usually in the morning hours.


The postdrome period can last for hours or sometimes days. It can be characterized by depression or feelings of euphoria and well-being. Fatigue, impaired concentration, and lowered intellect levels can occur. Many patients report feeling as though they have a hangover during this time.

World-class neurology services for migraine patients are available at West Hills Hospital. Our compassionate providers in West Hills also include emergency care doctors, burn center providers, maternity doctors and nurses, and cancer care professionals. To inquire about our hospital services or to request a referral to a physician, call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (818) 676-4321.

Will Sunscreen Prevent Skin Cancer?

During the summer months, it’s common practice for supermarkets to set up special displays for sunscreen products. Unfortunately, this tends to reinforce a common misconception: that sunscreen use is only important during summer months and on sunny days. In fact, using sunscreen every time you’re going outdoors even during the winter and on cloudy days is crucial for cancer prevention. Here at West Hills Hospital, our cancer care team encourages our neighbors to get proactive about their skin health.

How Sunscreen Works

There are three wavelengths of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, two of which can adversely affect skin health. Sunscreen works in two primary ways to block UV radiation. Zinc oxide and titanium oxide are inorganic ingredients commonly found in sunscreen. These ingredients work by essentially scattering UV radiation to prevent it from penetrating the skin. Oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate are organic ingredients that work by absorbing the UV radiation, which results in its dissipation as heat.

Which Sunscreen You Should Use

When purchasing sunscreen, look for a product labeled “broad spectrum,” which indicates that it guards against both UV-A and UV-B rays. Another factor to consider is the product’s Sun Protection Factor (SPF). The higher the SPF is, the more effectively it will block UV-B rays. Many lotions and lip balms contain 8 to 15 SPF, but this is insufficient if you’re spending more than a few minutes outdoors. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, SPF 15 blocks about 93 percent of UV-B rays, whereas SPF 30 filters out about 97 percent.

How You Can Use Sunscreen Properly

It’s important to remember that even when you apply sunscreen with a high SPF, you must reapply the product about every two hours to continue protecting yourself. Many people fail to apply the proper amount of sunscreen, which is one ounce or about the amount that would fill a shot glass. If you aren’t applying this much sunscreen to your exposed skin, then the actual SPF on your body is lower than what the product advertises.

West Hills Hospital connects area residents to compassionate cancer care located right in their own community. Our state-of-the-art facility in West Hills is also a proud provider of emergency care, spine health, maternity care, and preventive wellness services. If you would like to speak with a registered nurse at our community hospital, call (818) 676-4321.

Staying Ready for Emergencies at Home

All sorts of emergencies can occur in the home. Although it isn’t possible to predict exactly what sort of emergency your household may encounter, it is a good idea to be prepared to handle a wide range of problems. The emergency care team at West Hills Hospital recommends that families keep a fully stocked first aid kit at home.

Stocking Your First Aid Kit

Your family can use a first aid kit to handle minor problems like splinters and even major medical problems like broken bones (while awaiting emergency care). The basic items that every first aid kit should include are sterile bandages, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, acetaminophen, and a thermometer. It’s also a good idea to keep extra items on hand like splints, a tooth preservation kit, non-latex gloves, tweezers, calamine lotion, and instant cold packs. Be sure that every member of the family and all babysitters or other caregivers know how to find and use the first aid kit.

Explaining 911 Calls to Young Children

All children need to be taught how to call 911, explain the situation to the emergency dispatcher, and follow the dispatcher’s instructions. It isn’t always easy for a child to determine when a situation qualifies as a true emergency. Parents can discuss some examples of problems that are emergencies, such as a fire, an unconscious family member, or an intruder in the home, as well as point out problems that should not result in a 911 call, such as a skinned knee or a missing stuffed animal.

Purchasing Emergency Supplies

In addition to keeping a first aid kit at home, you can purchase emergency supplies to prepare your household for lengthy power outages and natural disasters. Every household should have a minimum of a three-day supply of food and water for each person. Each person needs at least one gallon of water per day. Choose non-perishable foods, and include a manual can opener and basic utensils in your emergency supplies. Families can also prepare by keeping an emergency supply of prescription medicines, personal hygiene items, flashlights, extra batteries, and a battery-powered radio.

When an emergency occurs, West Hills Hospital is ready to respond 24/7. Our emergency care unit in West Hills offers comprehensive medical services, including an Approved Stroke Center, accredited Chest Pain Center, and our world-renowned Grossman Burn Center. Please call 911 immediately if you have a true medical emergency; non-emergent inquiries about our community hospital may be directed to our Consult-A-Nurse line at (818) 676-4321.

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