• Why Are Burn Injuries More Common in the Summer?

    Burn injuries can happen anywhere at any time due to causes as diverse as scalding hot liquids to malfunctioning electrical appliances. However, burn injuries are particularly prevalent during the summer, given the popularity of barbecues, campfires, and similar pastimes. Prevention is key; however, if you or a loved one does suffer this type of injury, the team at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital can help.

    Outdoor Cooking

    Barbecues and campfires are good ways to enjoy the pleasant weather while preparing a meal. However, they can be particularly hazardous for young children. Never allow children around a heat source and always make sure an adult is supervising the cooking area. Be sure to keep children at a safe distance long after the meal is complete; grills can stay hot for a long time. Additionally, it’s a good idea for adults to avoid consuming alcohol near a fire. When putting out a campfire, douse the ashes with water, stir the ashes, and then douse them with more water. This can reduce the risk of burn injuries from a fire that appeared to have burned out hours ago. Many people go into burn centers with severe injuries because they touched or kicked the logs of a campfire that had appeared to go out the night before, yet were still smoldering.

    Fireworks Displays

    Specialists at burn centers tend to treat more injuries around the Fourth of July because of fireworks. Even when a fireworks display is legal, it can cause serious burn injuries. Burn injuries may be more likely to occur if spectators go inside the barricade surrounding a fireworks display. They can also develop because of fireworks used at home, such as sparklers. Sparklers can burn at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which means they are unsuitable for use by children.

    The emergency care department at West Hills Hospital is fully equipped to handle all types of serious medical problems, including burn injuries. Our world-renowned Grossman Burn Center provides a continuum of care, from acute care to rehabilitation. If you require emergency care in the West Hills area, please call 911 immediately; otherwise, you can speak with a registered nurse at our community hospital by calling (818) 676-4000.

  • Ways to Stay Hydrated Beyond Drinking Water

    During the hot summer months, it’s particularly important to pay attention to your body’s need for water. If you don’t replace the water you lose every day, you’ll become dehydrated and you may require emergency care at West Hills Hospital . Drinking water throughout the day is an effective and easy way to fuel your body. However, there are other hydration options that can complement your water intake, such as enjoying fresh summertime fruits and vegetables.

    Enjoy a Slice of Watermelon

    In many households, it’s a tradition to eat watermelon on the Fourth of July. However, eating this delicious fruit all summer long is a smart idea, given that it’s primarily made up of water. This means that not only is it low in calories, it can help you stay hydrated. Watermelon is also a good source of important nutrients such as vitamins A and C.

    Eat a Salad

    Meals that require little to no cooking are particularly appealing during the summer and making a large salad for lunch or dinner will help boost your water intake. Start with a bed of water-packed and nutrient-dense spinach, and then add some strawberries, sliced cucumber, and chopped celery, all of which have high water content. Complete your meal by topping off your salad with some marinated tofu strips or grilled chicken.

    Make a Smoothie

    Other beverages besides water will help you prevent dehydration this summer . Smoothies are an excellent way to stay hydrated while increasing your consumption of fresh fruits and veggies. Make your own smoothies to control your calorie intake. Puree your favorite fruit with some veggies such as spinach, and then blend in some low-fat or fat-free milk.

    If you do suffer a heat-related illness this summer, you can find the emergency care you need at West Hills Hospital. Our emergency care team provides rapid evaluation and treatment of patients with serious medical conditions . West Hills residents are encouraged to call 911 for transportation to the hospital in an emergency situation. Otherwise, call our community hospital at (818) 676-4000 to inquire about our other service lines, including cancer care and maternity services.

  • Insect Protection Tips for Your Outdoor Recreation


    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


    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.