• Safety Guidelines for Prescription Painkillers

    Painkillers are often prescribed following surgical care to help patients manage pain and discomfort. There are many different types of prescription painkillers; your physician will determine the best product for your needs based on your condition and the length of time you will need medication. Because some prescription painkillers can cause side effects that affect your daily functions or may be associated with a risk of chemical dependence, it’s important to follow the safety guidelines laid out by your physician.

    Follow Dosing Instructions

    Regardless of the type of painkiller you receive, your physician will provide dosing instructions with your medication. It’s important to follow these instructions and use any included measuring device to ensure you receive the correct amount of medication; you should also follow the dosing schedule provided by your doctor or pharmacist. Never try to change your dosage or your medication schedule without consulting your physician first.

    Heed Warnings and Recommendations

    If your medication was packaged with a warning label, make sure to read it fully to ensure you understand any recommendations that apply, such as avoiding alcohol or driving while on your medication. Additionally, if your medication recommends taking pills with a meal, it’s best to follow these instructions to reduce stomach and bowel irritation.

    Dispose of Leftover Medication

    Once your course of treatment is complete or you no longer require painkillers to manage discomfort, dispose of any extra medication promptly. Never save medication for later or give your medication to others, as the dosage that is correct for you could be harmful to someone else.

    If you have questions about your medication or your health, your physician at West Hills Hospital is here to help. You can reach our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (818) 676-4321, or visit our website for additional information about general care, emergency care, maternity care, and cancer care in West Hills .

  • Why You Should Take Concussion Injuries Seriously

    A concussion is an injury that affects the brain, often resulting from a fall or a traumatic blow to the head. Concussions typically cause a temporary loss of brain function, which may affect skills such as speech, comprehension, and memory. While many concussions will heal on their own, it is impossible to determine the extent of the injury to the brain without a medical professional—after experiencing a concussion, it’s vital to visit your hospital’s emergency room for an evaluation.

    The Effects Can Be Long-Lasting

    Concussions can cause effects that include difficulty remembering information and events, trouble solving problems and thinking clearly, physical symptoms such as headaches and blurred vision, and changes that affect mood and sleep patterns. Most patients recover from a concussion in a matter of days or weeks, but serious concussions can result in effects that last much longer. The best way to facilitate recovery after a severe concussion is to gradually reintroduce mental and physical activities, slowly increasing the amount of work the brain must perform over time to allow healing.

    Multiple Concussions Can Have Serious Consequences

    Although a single concussion often has a low risk for causing lasting damage, multiple concussions significantly raise your risk for severe or permanent effects. Even a mild second concussion that occurs shortly after the first and before the brain has fully recovered from the primary injury can carry a high chance of permanent disability and even death. Second concussions that occur after the initial injury has resolved can still pose a serious threat to long-term health and wellness, as well as cause reduced cognitive function and slower recovery. After experiencing a concussion, it’s essential to avoid activities that could result in a second concussion until well after the injury has had sufficient time to heal.

    Head injuries should always be evaluated by an experienced medical provider. You can check West Hills Hospital’s average ER wait times and find out more about treating head trauma, burns, and other injuries on our website, or call our Consult-A-Nurse hotline at (818) 676-4321 for personalized help.

  • Dog Leash Injuries to Avoid When You Walk Your Pet

    Walking your dog on a leash is a safe and fun way to spend time together and enjoy the many benefits of physical activity. However, although retractable leashes are convenient, they can also pose a safety risk to owners if their dog becomes excited or frightened. Every year, tens of thousands of individuals are treated in emergency care centers across the nation for injuries associated with leashes, including eye injuries, cuts, burns, amputations, and dislocated joints.

    Cuts and Amputations

    Some of the most common injuries associated with retractable leashes are cuts and amputations. Cuts can occur when the leash is extended or retracted quickly without control, causing the edges to slice into the skin. In extreme cases, the leash can become wrapped around fingers or other extremities, leading to deep cuts and even amputations that require immediate emergency care.

    Scrapes and Burns

    Uncontrolled extension and retraction of a retractable leash can also cause scrapes and burns on the skin. These types of injuries typically occur when the harsh material of the leash is drawn past the skin rapidly during walks or when retracting the leash before putting it away.

    Joint and Tissue Injuries

    Walking your dog on any type of leash has the potential to cause orthopedic injuries. If your dog becomes excited or frightened, he may tug harshly on the leash, putting excessive pressure on your joints. The most common orthopedic injuries associated with leash use are dislocated joints; it is also common for dog owners to sustain strains and sprains that affect the muscles and soft tissues around the joints as well.

    If you sustain a serious injury while walking your pet, it’s important to seek medical help promptly. At West Hills Hospital, our ER and burn center serving West hills have the patient capacity and up-to-date technology to deliver high-quality emergency care, burn care , and heart attack care. You can find out more about our hospital and our healthcare services on our website or by calling (818) 676-4321.

  • When Should Someone Go to the ER for an Asthma Attack?

    Asthma attacks occur when the airways become inflamed or swollen, making it difficult to breathe comfortably. While asthma attacks range in severity, serious asthma episodes may require emergency care at a hospital to resolve. Asthma flare-ups can occur anywhere and at any time; knowing the signs that an individual needs medical care to handle an asthma attack will help you act quickly in a serious situation.

    Severe Symptoms

    Asthma attacks are associated with several symptoms, depending on the cause for the attack, the age of the individual, and their general health. The most common symptoms of an asthma attack include wheezing, persistent coughing, rapid breathing, a sensation of pressure or tightness in the chest, and feelings of anxiety or panic. Individuals suffering an asthma attack may also appear pale, have difficulty talking, and develop a blue tinge to their lips or fingernails. In cases where asthma symptoms appear severe and significantly hinder breathing, it’s essential to seek emergency care quickly. Additionally, when asthma medication is not acting as it should or does not significantly reduce symptoms, visiting the ER allows patients to receive the fast and effective help they need.

    Prolonged Symptoms

    Prolonged asthma symptoms that don’t respond to normal treatment at home should always prompt a visit to the ER. It’s important to take action if breathing does not get easier over time, even if symptoms such as wheezing seem to disappear. Children and older individuals especially should not continue home treatment if asthma attack symptoms do not abate quickly or return soon after treatment, even with the use of a rescue inhaler or other medication. Additionally, if medication is not available to treat the asthma attack right away, visiting the ER will provide the individual with the right treatment to address symptoms immediately.

    At West Hills Hospital , our goal is to provide you with the information you need to know when it’s time to seek emergency care in West Hills. You can find more helpful health articles on our website, or receive personalized health assistance by phone at (818) 676-4321.