• Food Safety Tips for Cookouts and Tailgates

    Cookouts are a football Sunday tradition, but without attention to food safety, food poisoning and emergency care can also become recurrent features of your celebration. Don’t let foodborne illnesses put a damper on your cookouts. Keep food poisoning at bay with this advice.

    Avoid Marinating Mistakes

    Marinades are common in cookouts, since they give grilled meats a serious flavor boost. When not handled properly, however, marinades can be ground zero for food poisoning. Meat should always be refrigerated when it is being marinated, and marinade should be discarded after use. Even though the meat is cooking, using a marinade as a baste is dangerous because it may not be sufficiently heated before serving. If you want to use a marinade as a sauce for cooked meat, either boil it or make a separate batch specifically for serving.

    Watch the Clock

    Timing is everything when it comes to food safety. Don’t eat perishable foods that have been outside for more than two hours in temperatures under 90 degrees F or one hour in higher temperatures. Cook all meat long enough to kill bacteria. If you’re not sure about cooking times, invest in a meat thermometer and check out the proper temperature for the meat you’re cooking on the FDA website .

    Wash Up

    Rinse off fresh fruits and veggies before serving them, even if the skin or rind won’t be eaten. If the fruit or vegetable is firm, use a vegetable brush to scrub it while it is under the running water. Dry fruits and veggies thoroughly, especially if you plan to pack them up and transport them before serving them. In addition to washing produce, be sure to wash your hands before you start cooking and immediately after handling raw meat.

    If a medical emergency does occur, the ER at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is here around the clock to help. Choose us when you need emergency care in West Hills, and call (818) 676-4321 for more information about our services.

  • A Look at the Most Common Sports Injuries

    Sports are a great way to stay fit, but unfortunately, players are also prone to injuries. If you suffer a sports injury, it is important to get out of the game and get to the hospital for emergency care right away. Trying to push through your injury and keep playing can turn a minor injury into one that requires surgery and a lengthy recovery. Here is a look at some of the most common injuries experienced by athletes.

    Sprains and Strains

    Sprains and strains are similar injuries that affect different parts of the body. Sprains occur when a ligament is stretched or torn, while strains involve stretched or torn muscles or tendons. They both can occur when they ligaments, muscles, or tendons are twisted or overextended. If you have a sprain or stained, you can expect pain, swelling, bruising, and stiffness. Rest is the best way to heal both of these injuries. Ice and compression bandages can also help with discomfort. After an initial period of healing, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to rebuild strength at the site of the injury.

    Knee Injuries

    The knee can suffer several different kinds of injuries during sports. ACL tears, in which the anterior cruciate ligament tears, are a one of the most common sports-related injuries. They happen when the knee twists suddenly. Broken kneecaps, meniscus tears, and posterior cruciate ligament, or PCL tears, are also common. Surgery is often necessary for knee injuries.

    Rotator Cuff Injuries

    The rotator cuff is located on your shoulder, where your upper arm joint inserts into the shoulder socket. The tendons in the rotator cuff are extremely vulnerable to strains and tears, especially with repetitive use, such as the motion performed to pitch a baseball. In some cases, rotator cuff injuries can heal on their own with rest, while surgery in necessary in other cases.

    At West Hills Hospital & Medical Center , we provide emergency care in West Hills for your acute injury needs, while our orthopedic team will get you back on the field in no time when you need longer-term care. For a referral to a specialist or more information about our hospital, call (818) 676-4321.

  • Knowing When You Need to Go to the ER for Shortness of Breath

    Shortness of breath always has the propensity to be a medical emergency. As this West Hills Hospital & Medical Center provider explains in this video , because there are so many different potential causes of shortness of breath, getting care quickly is important. If you are experiencing shortness of breath and wondering what to do, here are some signs that you should consider emergency care.

    Your shortness of breath is severe.

    If you have severe shortness of breath, don’t delay seeking emergency care. Severe shortness of breath could indicate a serious health problem that requires urgent treatment. Don’t attempt to drive if you have severe shortness of breath. If no one is available to take you to the hospital, dial 911 for help.

    You have chest pain.

    Shortness of breath that is accompanied by chest pain could indicate a heart attack. During a heart attack, blood doesn’t flow from the lungs into the heart effectively, so oxygenated blood backs up. This causes congestion to occur in the lungs, making it harder to breathe. Chest pain and shortness of breath that happen together do not always indicate a heart attack—for instance, these symptoms can also happen during an anxiety attack—but getting an accurate diagnosis is crucial.

    You have nausea.

    Nausea combined with shortness of breath can also suggest a medical emergency. When these symptoms appear together, a heart attack or pulmonary embolism are possible. Getting a fast diagnosis and treatment could be life-saving. As with chest pain, nausea and shortness of breath can also be a sign of a less serious condition.

    If you have symptoms that concern you, always err on the side of caution and seek emergency care in West Hills at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center. Visit our website to see our current ER wait times, or dial (818) 676-4321 for additional information about our hospital services.

  • How Much Exercise Do Women Need?

    Most women know the importance of physical activity in maintaining good health, but how much is enough? Although everyone’s needs are different, there are some general guidelines that can help you determine how much exercise to aim for in your day for the best possible health. Be sure to review any new exercise plans with your doctor before beginning to make sure it is safe for you. Here is what you need to know about the exercise and women’s health .

    Exercise for Good Health

    To reap the maximum health benefits from exercise, do two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity per week or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. You can also choose to mix moderate and vigorous-intensity activities. Moderate-intensity activity refers to aerobic exercise that increases your heart rate but still allows you to speak comfortably, such as brisk walking. Vigorous-intensity activity is an aerobic exercise that increases your heart rate dramatically and makes you breathe so hard that talking is difficult. Jogging is an example of a vigorous-intensity activity. In addition to these aerobic activities, aim to do muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days per week. Achieving these exercise goals will help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some kinds of cancer.

    Exercise for Weight Loss

    If you want to exercise for weight loss and not just for the health benefits, you may need to increase the amount of activity you do each week. Many people who exercise for weight loss aim for 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. You may also need to decrease your calorie intake, in addition, to exercise to achieve weight loss.

    At West Hills Hospital, our surgical weight loss program helps patients reach healthy weights when diet and exercise alone are not enough. After surgery, our patients receive extensive follow-up care to help them lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. Find out more about bariatric weight loss and get answers to your other questions about our services, including emergency care and our burn center in West Hills, by calling (818) 676-4321.