• Holiday Fire Safety Tips to Follow This Season

    Thousands of fires occur during the holiday season, many of which result in serious injuries, loss of life, and property destruction. While you’re entertaining your family and friends this holiday season, remember to take a few precautions to reduce the risk of a house fire. In the event that a house fire in the West Hills area does occur, the emergency care team at West Hills Hospital is ready to help on a 24/7 basis.

    Smoke Alarms

    It is essential to have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Check the batteries in the alarms every month. Every six months, replace the batteries even if they are still working. Having working alarms on every level of your home can save lives.

    Kitchen Safety

    The most obvious holiday fire hazards include candles , fireplaces, and decorative lights. Because of this, it might surprise you to learn that a leading cause of holiday fires is actually cooking. When you’re entertaining guests and preparing a meal simultaneously, it’s easy to become distracted and leave a pan on a lit stove. Try taking a potholder with you each time you leave the kitchen to remind yourself that the stove is on. Remember to keep a fire extinguisher close to the kitchen.

    Decoration Dangers

    If your holiday decorating plans include a tree, you should be aware that pine trees are extremely flammable. It takes very little time for a dry tree to spread fire to the entire room. Purchase the freshest live tree you can find and request that a few inches of the trunk be trimmed off before you take it home. Place the tree away from heat sources and water it daily. Inspect decorative lights and avoid using any that appear damaged. Never leave candles unattended and place them away from anything flammable. Alternatively, consider using flameless LED candles to decorate your home for the holidays.

    Individuals with burn injuries who arrive at the West Hills Hospital emergency care department will receive rapid, comprehensive care at our world-renowned Grossman Burn Center . The Grossman Burn Center features a highly trained medical team that provides a continuum of care—from acute care to rehabilitation to psychological counseling. If you require emergency care in the West Hills area, please call 911 immediately; otherwise, call (818) 676-4321 for our Consult-A-Nurse line.

  • 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

    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

    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 .