• 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.

  • Getting Enough Activity for a Healthy You in the New Year

    Although it’s common knowledge that physical activity is essential for good health, many individuals do not meet the recommended guidelines for exercise. If you resolved to improve your well-being in the New Year, then getting active is a good start. The healthcare providers of West Hills Hospital are always available to offer personalized health guidance to individuals throughout the West Hills community.

    Understanding the Recommendations

    The current recommended guidelines for weekly physical activity were released in 2008 by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. These guidelines advise adults to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise every week. However, getting 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 150 minutes of vigorous exercise each week offers even more health benefits. Additionally, the guidelines recommend that adults do muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days per week.

    Talking to Your Doctor About Exercising Safely

    If you are currently physically inactive, you may wish to consult your physician before you begin an exercise program. This is especially important for individuals with certain medical conditions such as diabetes and asthma. Your doctor can help you learn how to exercise safely despite your medical condition. If you have mobility limitations, you may be referred to a licensed therapist or fitness specialist.

    Enjoying Your Exercise Program

    When beginning a new exercise program, it’s best to start slowly. You might begin by exercising for 10 minutes at a time two or more times per day. As your fitness level improves, you can increase the duration and intensity of your workouts. The key to achieving exercise goals is to choose activities you genuinely enjoy. Experiment with different types of workouts to find a mixture that works for you. These may include traditional workouts such as jogging on the treadmill or you might prefer to enroll in a martial arts class.

    If you need help getting active, the Center for Fitness and Rehabilitation at West Hills Hospital features a multidisciplinary team of fitness specialists, registered dietitians, and licensed therapists. In addition to promoting the functional mobility of patients throughout the West Hills area, our community hospital is a proud provider of compassionate maternity services, spine and joint health, cancer care, and emergency care. Our Consult-A-Nurse line is available at (818) 676-4321.