Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center
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Preventing electric shock injuries this holiday season

Electric shock injuries can be very serious for kids, and the risk skyrockets during the holiday season. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce the chances that your holidays will involve a visit to the pediatric emergency room for electric shock injuries. Here are some steps that parents can take to keep themselves and their kids safe this season.

Never leave young children unattended
Many electric shock injuries happen when unattended young children start exploring. Biting down on an electrical wire or sticking metal items into a plug socket can lead to significant burn injuries, so keep an eye on your child until he or she is old enough to know to stay away.

Seasonal lighting creates a unique risk for kids. Flashing and colorful lights can be irresistible to children, so even toddlers who know to keep away from cords and outlets may be too tempted to stay away. Make sure that you’re supervising kids who are playing in areas near holiday light displays.

Use protective measures
With unused plugs, adding a plug cover can resolve the danger. There are other things you can do to protect your child from electric shock injuries, such as:

  • Getting rid of wires that are frayed or not insulated
  • Replace any bulbs that are have burned out on holiday lighting
  • Put extension cords and wires out of kids’ reach
  • Clean up any water spills around electrical items right away

These simple steps can reduce the chances that your child will be exposed to anything that can cause a shock injury.

Get emergency care if a shock occurs
If your child suffers an electric shock injury, take him or her to the emergency room, even if the injury does not seem serious. Don’t touch your child if the current is still active. Instead, disconnect the power supply.

The pediatric emergency room and PICU are open at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center throughout the holidays, to ensure your kids stay safe and healthy this season. You can learn more about all of our pediatric services by calling (877) 888-5746.


What should you do if your child can't have a flu shot?

The flu shot not only protects people from the misery of getting the flu, but it can also protect them from the life-threatening complications that can come with the virus. However, not everyone is eligible to get a flu shot, and the guidelines may leave some children without any vaccination to protect them when flu seasons begins. Here is what you need to know about who can and can’t get the flu shot and what to do to protect your child’s health.

Who can’t get the flu shot?

Your child’s pediatrician can provide you with specific information about whether the flu shot is safe for your child. Generally, the shot is not recommended for these patients:

  • Babies less than six months old
  • Anyone who has had previous allergic reactions to flu shots
  • Anyone who is allergic to any ingredients in the flu shot
  • Anyone with a fever of over 101 degrees or who is seriously ill at the time of the vaccination

If your child is sick when he or she was scheduled to have the flu shot, he or she may be able to get it after the illness subsides. In other cases, your child may never be able to get the flu shot.

What can I do to protect my child?

If your child can’t get the flu shot, there are several things you can do to reduce the chances he or she will contract the virus. Try these strategies to keep your child healthy during flu season:

  • Teach your child to wash his or her hands frequently. He or she should wash before eating, after using the restroom, and upon returning home from being in a public space. Consider sending your child to school with hand sanitizer to use when he or she is unable to wash.
  • Tell your child not to touch his or her face. This habit can bring germs, including the flu virus, into your child’s nose and mouth.
  • Keep your child away from anyone who has a known respiratory infection that could be caused by the flu virus.

At Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, our pediatric specialists can help you make the right choice about the flu shot for your child and provide treatment if your child does become ill. Our pediatric emergency room in Thousand Oaks is also available to treat flu-related complications. For a referral to one of our specialists, please call (877) 888-5746.


How will doctors know you've had a stroke?

Compared to the rest of your body parts, the brain uses more oxygen than most. If an area of the brain is deprived of oxygen for longer than a few minutes, the cells start to die. This causes permanent, irreversible brain damage, and it’s why strokes are one of the most common causes of death and long-term disability in the U.S. At Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, we believe that even one death from a stroke is one too many. Our Emergency Room and stroke care teams are committed to saving the lives of our neighbors in Thousand Oaks.

Signs and symptoms of stroke
As soon as a possible stroke patient arrives in the Emergency Room, he or she undergoes a rapid diagnostic process.

Every second counts when treating strokes, but it’s also essential to provide the right type of treatment. Blood clot-busting drugs, for example, aren’t given to patients having a hemorrhagic stroke, which involves bleeding on the brain. You can hear more about how we diagnose a stroke by watching the accompanying video.

First, the Emergency Room team will assess your signs and symptoms. Stroke causes the sudden onset of severe symptoms, including the following:

  • One-sided weakness, numbness or paralysis
  • Confusion
  • Trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Vision problems
  • Dizziness
  • Problems walking/loss of coordination
  • Excruciating headache with no apparent cause

Physical and neurological exam
Next, the stroke care team will review your medical history, and perform physical and neurological exams. Specifically, they will assess these areas:

  • Consciousness
  • Speech
  • Gait
  • Language processing
  • Mental status
  • Motor strength
  • Sensation

During this assessment, the doctor will ask you to complete some simple tasks, such as holding out both arms in front of you, answering questions and recalling information.

Imaging tests
One or more imaging tests can help the stroke care team make a definitive diagnosis. You may have any of the following tests:

  • Computed tomography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Carotid ultrasound
  • Carotid angiography

As soon as a diagnosis is made, medical intervention begins.

Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center has been certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center—the first of its kind in Ventura County. Our hard-working Emergency Room team is proud to make a difference for the families in our Thousand Oaks community. Please call 911 without delay if you think you’re having a stroke, or call a registered nurse at (877) 888-5746 for non-emergent inquiries only.


What should you do if your child sticks a marble up his nose?

Children are incredibly imaginative and often find creative uses for everyday objects. If their creativity leads them to stick an object in their nostril, parents can turn to the reliable Emergency Room doctors at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center. We have a kid-friendly Emergency Room, with specially trained pediatric ER nurses who know how to help their young patients feel better.

Know the signs of a foreign body in the nose

Curious youngsters can get into trouble in the blink of an eye, and it simply isn’t possible to watch a child every second. Even if you didn’t see your child stick anything up his or her nose, your suspicions may be raised by the following indicators:

  • Persistent poking and prodding of the nose

  • Anxiety or irritability

  • Nasal discharge, especially from just one nostril

  • Foreign objects in the nose aren’t usually a medical emergency. However, you should call 911 right away if your child is having trouble breathing.

If your child is choking, perform the modified Heimlich maneuver if he or she is under one-year-old. For older children, do abdominal thrusts. If you’re unsure of how to perform these movements, call 911 and put the dispatcher on speakerphone so he or she can walk you through the steps.

Remove a visible marble

If your child isn’t in any distress and the marble is visible, you can usually remove it yourself. Or, ask your child to blow out through his or her nose.

Seek medical care for non-visible marbles

If you can’t see the marble, or can’t remove it easily, do not try to remove it by inserting Q-tips or anything else into the nostril. Take your child to the Emergency Room instead.

All true medical emergencies should be directed to a 911 dispatcher without delay. If you have a general healthcare question, you can call our nurse referral line at (877) 888-5746. Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is proud to serve the Thousand Oaks community by delivering superior care with a patients-first approach.


Recognizing the mental health needs of veterans

Serving in a combat zone places unimaginable stress on a person’s mental health, and settling back into everyday life at home isn’t easy either. Some returning veterans may hesitate to seek the help they need. Family members can help by being supportive, becoming informed and talking to a healthcare provider. The caring providers at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center extend our sincere gratitude to veterans and their families. When life presents challenges, we’re here to help.

Identifying common mental health challenges
Veterans may display signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. When a veteran has sustained a disabling injury, the resultant physical challenges can add to the mental stress. These problems can be further exacerbated if the veteran tries to cope by turning to alcohol or recreational substances.

Some of the possible symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder may include:

  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Intrusive memories
  • Numbness or emotional detachment
  • Anger
  • Insomnia
  • Hypervigilance
  • Impaired concentration
  • Digestive problems
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness

Understanding when to seek emergency care
Occasionally, a veteran’s mental health challenges may require a visit to the Emergency Room. Families shouldn’t hesitate to call 911 if their loved one has thoughts of suicide, commits a suicidal action, threatens others or shows aggressive actions to others. The emergency responders and ER staff should be promptly informed that the patient is a veteran who is in mental distress.

Coping with civilian life
Veterans and their families should know that readjusting to civilian life isn’t always easy. It can take some time for veterans to reconnect with their loved ones. Family members should understand that it’s nothing personal—the veteran just needs time to process everything.

Veterans might not be ready to talk about their deployment, especially if they’ve lost a fellow soldier. Families can support veterans by letting them know that they’re ready to listen whenever the veteran is ready to talk.

Mental health counseling and support groups can help both veterans and their loved ones stay resilient in the face of mental health challenges.

Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is a state-of-the-art facility staffed by healthcare providers who live and work in the same Thousand Oaks community as our patients. Our dedication to the health and safety of our neighbors is reflected in all that we do. Call a registered nurse at our hospital at (877) 888-5746.

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