• 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.

  • Preventing Summertime Burns with Grilling Safety

    Few activities epitomize the essence of summertime quite like grilling, even for West Hills residents who enjoy pleasant temperatures year-round. Grilling can be an enjoyable way of preparing healthy, delicious meals for your family, but it also poses certain hazards. Taking precautions will minimize the risk of burn injuries to you and your family members. When accidents do occur, your family can trust the providers at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital.

    Preparing to Grill at Home

    Before you light your grill , clean the drip trays and grill to remove grease accumulation. If you have a propane grill, check the connection points and tighten if they’re loose. Check the gas tank hose for leaks by spraying a solution of soap and water all over the hose. Turn the tank on and check the entire hose for the appearance of bubbles. If bubbles do appear, it means that your propane hose has a leak and needs to be replaced. Place the grill well away from the house, overhanging branches, and other flammable objects. Set it up on a level surface. Make sure your kids know that they must stay away from the grill while you’re using it. If you have outdoor pets, consider keeping them indoors while the grill is hot.

    Handling a Hot Grill Safely

    If you intend on using charcoal starter fluid, use it before you ignite the coals; never add starter fluid to a fire that is already burning. Use long-handled forks or tongs to move food around on the grill. If you have long hair, tie it back. Avoid wearing loose clothing or long sleeves that might ignite from a stray spark.

    Staying Safe Near Campfires

    Use an existing campfire ring if available or create a new ring on a dirt surface that is devoid of leaves, dry grass, logs, and rotten stumps. Make sure there are no overhanging branches nearby and pile your extra firewood well away from the campfire. When you’re finished preparing your food, extinguish the campfire with water, stir the remnants, and add more water.

    The multidisciplinary team at the Grossman Burn Center is available 24/7 to provide specialized care to burn patients of all ages. You’ll find the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital , which also offers exceptional emergency care, maternity services, and cancer care. Medical emergencies should be directed to 911; in non-emergent situations, West Hills residents can call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (818) 676-4321.