• Safety Guidelines for Dogs and Kids

    Most children love to play with cute animals, but unfortunately, this isn’t always safe. Even if a puppy or dog is usually gentle, it’s easy for a dog to interpret a child’s quick movements as signs of aggression. This is one reason why children are more frequently the victims of dog attacks than adults. The emergency care physicians of West Hills Hospital can help children heal from an animal bite , but prevention is always better than a trip to the hospital.

    Approaching Unfamiliar Dogs

    Kids need to hear information multiple times before they remember it—and even then, they may need frequent reminders. Don’t be shy about reminding your child to never approach unfamiliar dogs, even if a dog wanders into your family’s own yard. If your child does see an unfamiliar dog while playing in the yard, he or she should immediately go inside the house and inform an adult. To reinforce this lesson, consider comparing unfamiliar dogs to human strangers. You could remind your child that he or she wouldn’t hug the cashier at the supermarket and that petting an unfamiliar dog is much like this scenario.

    Petting Dogs Safely

    When it is permissible for a young child to pet a dog, he or she should only do so with adult supervision. Young kids need plenty of reminders to let the dog sniff the back of the hand first, then to pet the dog gently. Remind your child not to pull on the dog’s ears or tail, try to climb on the dog, or take toys or food away from the dog.

    Dealing with Aggressive Dogs

    Despite these safety precautions, aggressive dogs may still attack children . Emergency care physicians recommend teaching kids to be quiet and “still like a tree” when a dog approaches them. Kids should avoid looking directly at the dog, making sudden movements, yelling, or hitting the dog. If a dog does knock a child down, he or she should curl up into a ball. Emergency care physicians recommend covering the ears and head with the hands.

    If your child is attacked by a dog, please call 911 without delay to request emergency care in the West Hills area. In addition to our unsurpassed emergency care, West Hills Hospital recently opened our Advanced Wound Care Center, which offers specialized care for patients with traumatic and hard-to-heal wounds. Non-emergent healthcare questions may be directed to a registered nurse at (818) 676-4321.

  • Can Driving Yourself to the ER Delay Your Treatment?

    Despite knowing that a 911 dispatcher’s job is to handle emergencies, many people hesitate to call 911 when they need emergency care. Some patients mistakenly assume that driving to the hospital right away is preferable to waiting for an ambulance. Others worry about using Emergency Medical Services (EMS) if they aren’t truly sure whether they have a medical emergency. But the bottom line is that, when emergency care is needed, every second counts. Here at West Hills Hospital, our emergency care physicians strongly urge our neighbors not to hesitate to call 911.

    Driving to the ER does delay life-saving interventions.

    One of the most damaging myths about driving oneself to the ER is that it facilitates faster emergency care. Patients reason that when they drive themselves, they can leave right away instead of waiting for the ambulance. But in fact, patients can receive certain medical interventions as soon as the ambulance arrives. EMS personnel can bandage bleeding wounds, put on a stabilization neck collar, administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), or use a defibrillator. Patients can continue to receive medical attention in the ambulance while on the way to the hospital.

    Calling 911 is better for public safety.

    When a medical emergency develops, a patient’s condition can rapidly deteriorate. This means that you might think you’re able to drive yourself to the ER initially, but you might become dizzy, need to vomit, or even lose consciousness while you’re in the car. Attempting to drive in these conditions jeopardizes the safety of everyone else on the roadways.

    Calling 911 activates a comprehensive emergency response system.

    Another reason why driving to the ER can delay your treatment is because EMS teams are in frequent contact with staff at the hospital. After assessing your condition, the paramedic contacts the ER to advise the staff of the medical interventions you may need upon arrival. If you’re experiencing a life-threatening problem such as a heart attack or stroke, the ER team can prepare to treat you as soon as you arrive.

    West Hills Hospital is the leading destination for patients with medical emergencies in the West Hills area. With our world-renowned Grossman Burn Center, Accredited Chest Pain Center, and Approved Stroke Center, our state-of-the-art hospital is fully equipped to save lives and improve outcomes for patients with all sorts of medical problems. A registered nurse is available at (818) 676-4321 to answer questions of a non-emergent nature.

  • How to Help Your Child Care for a Rash

    Most skin rashes are relatively harmless, although they can cause uncomfortable itching. Still, it’s always a good idea to consult a pediatrician at your community hospital, especially if this is your child’s first rash or if you’re not sure whether the rash is serious. Here at West Hills Hospital, our physicians are committed to providing high-quality, child-friendly care.

    Know When to Seek Medical Care

    Sometimes, skin rashes can indicate a serious medical problem that requires emergency care. If your child has a fever, it may be time for a trip to the ER. Other red flags include the appearance of tiny red dots that do not fade when pressed, the development of bruises not caused by injuries, and rash-related symptoms that last longer than a week. If you’re ever unsure of whether your child should be evaluated by a doctor, it’s best to err on the side of caution and call your family physician or visit the ER.

    Treat the Skin Gently

    If a physician has seen your child, follow his or her discharge instructions carefully. Otherwise, you can help your child feel more comfortable by treating the skin gently. Draw a bath for your child with warm—not hot—water and add a few cups of oat flour. You can easily make oat flour at home by adding a few cups of uncooked oatmeal to a food processor and pulsing until finely ground. After your child bathes, pat the skin dry gently with a soft towel. Try to leave the rash exposed to air as much as possible.

    Discourage Scratching

    Skin rashes can be itchy, but your child should try to avoid scratching. You can reduce the itchiness of a rash by keeping your child in a cool area out of the sun. Dress him or her in cotton clothing that has been laundered with hypoallergenic detergent. Keeping the skin well-moisturized can also help your child feel more comfortable.

    From skin rashes to broken bones, you can find the compassionate care your child needs at West Hills Hospital . Our hospital is proud to serve West Hills-area families with unparalleled maternity services, emergency care, specialized burn care, and cancer care. Parents can call (818) 676-4321 to speak with a registered nurse at our hospital.

  • What to Do in the Event of an Eye Injury

    During the warmer months, emergency care physicians tend to treat eye injuries more frequently than in other months. It’s a wise decision to wear protective eyewear when using power tools, operating lawn equipment, or playing certain sports. Emergency care doctors strongly recommend that parents keep children away from areas where tools and machinery are being used. If an eye injury does occur despite these precautions, West Hills Hospital is always open to provide care.

    Chemical Irritants
    When chemical irritants get in the eye, they often cause painful burning and stinging. In most cases, acidic substances cause the most redness and burning, yet can usually be flushed out easily. Alkali substances might not cause as much redness or pain, yet can lead to very serious eye health problems. When the eye is exposed to chemicals, the first step you should take is to flush out the eye with lots of sterile saline solution or plain water. Then, go to the ER. As you’ll learn by watching this featured video, emergency care physicians can check for serious eye injuries and visual impairment.

    Eye Contusions
    An eye contusion is also called a black eye. Although black eyes typically fade within a week or two, it’s best to see an emergency care doctor to make sure there is no internal damage. Do not take aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for the pain, since these can worsen the bleeding. Instead, apply an ice pack wrapped in a clean towel for 20 minutes at a time, every one to two hours. Do not apply pressure against the eye.

    Foreign Objects
    Most foreign objects that get into the eye are dust particles or eyelashes. You can remove them by irrigating the eye with sterile saline solution. Blink frequently to dislodge the object and avoid rubbing your eyes. Less commonly, penetrating objects like shards of glass may enter the eye. Do not attempt to remove an object that has penetrated the eye . Instead, call 911 right away.

    If your child sustains an eye injury, don’t hesitate to call 911 or rush your child to the hospital. At West Hills Hospital, our emergency care department is available around the clock to respond to every type of medical emergency. General questions about our hospital services may be directed to a registered nurse in West Hills at (818) 676-4321.

  • What Not to Do in the Face of Heart Attack Symptoms

    If you or someone you love is experiencing heart attack symptoms, the only answer is to get emergency care as fast as you can. When treatment is delayed, more heart tissue is allowed to die, which can lead to long-term health impacts and even death. If you are assisting someone who is having heart attack symptoms, here are some things you should avoid as you are making arrangements for emergency care.

    Don’t Give Any Medications
    Many people believe that you should give a person who is having heart attack symptoms an aspirin, but in reality, you shouldn’t administer any medications except for heart medications that have been prescribed for the person, such as nitroglycerine tablets. Giving any other medications could not only lead to choking, but could also interfere with the medications the emergency care team is able to provide.

    Don’t Wait and See
    Heart attack symptoms aren’t always severe and dramatic, especially in the early stages of the attack. By reacting quickly when symptoms strike, you could drastically reduce the amount of damage done to the heart. Taking a wait-and-see approach to heart attack symptoms only allows further damage to happen to heart tissue. Go to the hospital for emergency care as soon as symptoms appear. It is much better to go to the hospital and find out that a heart attack isn’t to blame for the symptoms than it is wait for them to get worse.

    Don’t Be Convinced the Situation Isn’t Serious
    It’s natural for someone who could be having a heart attack to want to minimize or deny their symptoms, but don’t be convinced that you shouldn’t get help. Insist on calling 911 for emergency medical care whenever someone is having heart attack symptoms.

    The ER at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is available to provide life-saving emergency care around the clock for heart attacks, strokes, and other medical crises. Call us today at (818) 676-4321 to learn more about our emergency care services in West Hills as well as our other hospital services.

  • Stroke Symptoms Unique to Women

    When it comes to strokes, every second counts. The longer it takes for a stroke patient to receive emergency care , the more brain tissue they will lose, which can lead to permanent disability and loss of life. Women frequently underestimate their risk for strokes and often aren’t aware of the symptoms, so they delay seeking care and put their lives on the line. As a woman, understanding stroke symptoms could save your life or the life of a woman you love. Here is a look at stroke symptoms, including the symptoms that are unique to women.

    Standard Stroke Symptoms
    Women and men alike tend to experience a similar set of stroke symptoms that can be easily remembered using the acronym FAST. F stands for facial drooping and refers to the sagging of one side of the face, especially noticeable in a lopsided smile. A is for arm, and it refers to the tendency of one arm to drift downward when both arms are raised. S refers to the slurred speech that typically occurs with a stroke, while T means time—time to call 911 for emergency care when the other symptoms are present. Both men and women have these stroke symptoms, and both require treatment as soon as possible. The clot-dissolving drug that is most effective at treating most strokes must be delivered within three hours of the onset of these symptoms.

    Women-Specific Stroke Symptoms
    Women may also experience stroke symptoms that men don’t. Women are more likely to have headaches during a stroke and in the lead-up to a stroke. Others may have hiccups and indigestion, which may lead them to chalk up their symptoms to a gastrointestinal issue. Women may even have chest pain related to a stroke that causes them to suspect a heart attack instead of a stroke.

    The emergency care and neurology teams at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center stand ready to provide the urgent diagnosis and care stroke patients need. You can find out more about emergency care in West Hills by calling (818) 676-4321.

  • Essential Care Tips for Patients with a High Risk of Heart Disease

    Do you know your risk of heart disease? If not, review your risk factors with your doctor. If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, or if you are generally inactive, smoke, or are overweight, your risk of developing heart disease is higher than the general population. That means that you need to take steps to reduce your risk and keep your heart healthy. Keep these tips in mind to protect your heart health .

    Control Your Medical Conditions
    If you have a chronic medical condition that increases your risk of heart disease, follow your treatment plan closely and see your doctor regularly to monitor your progress. For instance, keeping your blood glucose levels under control when you have diabetes doesn’t erase your increased risk for heart disease, but it can dramatically delay and minimize any heart-related complications you do experience.

    Get Regular Check-Ups
    As Dr. Sam Kalioundji, an interventional cardiologist at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center discusses in this video, close monitoring by your physician is essential if you have a high risk of heart disease. Seeing your physician often allows him or her to diagnose changes in your heart health in early stages, when treatments can be most effective. Diagnosing heart disease in this way is much better than finding out you have it when you’re receiving emergency care for a heart attack.

    Commit to Healthy Living
    Having an existing high risk of heart disease means that lifestyle choices that could harm your heart are more dangerous than ever. Commit to doing everything you can to avoid contributing to your risk. Don’t smoke, and if you do, ask your doctor for help quitting. Eat a diet low in sodium, added sugars, and trans fats while consuming more foods high in monounsaturated fats, fiber, and lean protein. Get physical activity most days, as long as your doctor says it is safe.

    West Hills Hospital & Medical Center provides nationally recognized cardiac care through our West Hills Regional Heart & Vascular Center and our specialized emergency care in Las Vegas . Get a referral to one of our physicians or learn more about heart care services by calling (818) 676-4321.

  • Why You Should Head to the ER for Shortness of Breath

    As Dr. Natalie Shum of West Hills Hospital & Medical Center explains in this video, shortness of breath is always a cause for concern. Whenever you or someone you love experiences it, it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible to find out the cause and get treatment. Although some causes of shortness of breath are easy to manage, others can be life-threatening, which is why it is so important to seek emergency care. Here are some of the potential causes of shortness of breath that require treatment in the ER.

    Heart Attack
    Shortness of breath frequently occurs with a heart attack, when oxygenated blood cannot be pumped efficiently by the heart. The shortness of breath associated with a heart attack may come on suddenly, or it may appear slowly, over the course of several days, before a heart attack. If you notice that you are becoming winded when doing simple activities like walking across a room or that you have shortness of breath that gets worse when you lay down and improves when you sit up, then get your symptoms checked out in the ER in case a heart attack is to blame.

    Pulmonary Embolism
    A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that forms in the lungs. In addition to chest pain and a cough, it can cause shortness of breath and rapid breathing. Pulmonary embolism is an extremely serious condition that requires immediate emergency care. Left untreated, a pulmonary embolism can be fatal, so getting a fast diagnosis and beginning treatment as soon as possible is essential.

    Anaphylaxis is an immune system reaction to an allergen that can cause sudden and severe shortness of breath. With anaphylaxis, urgent treatment is required to stop the reaction and restore normal body functioning, including breathing. Although an EpiPen injection can put a stop to the initial reaction, emergency care is still required, even if the symptoms have subsided.

    Whatever your medical emergency, West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is here around the clock to provide the care you need. Don’t let your potentially serious symptoms go unchecked. Call us today at (818) 676-4321 for answers to your questions about emergency care and the other services we offer at our hospital in Las Vegas .