Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center
Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life. We strive to deliver high quality, cost effective healthcare in the communities we serve.

When Is a Rash an Emergency?

It isn’t always easy to determine when a dermatological condition warrants a trip to the Emergency Room. Most skin rashes are fairly harmless, even if they can be unpleasant. But occasionally, a skin rash may indicate a serious medical condition, such as a severe allergic reaction or blood poisoning caused by meningitis. The Emergency Room physicians at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center respond swiftly to all types of medical emergencies.

Allergic Reaction
Some allergies that cause skin reactions only result in minor problems, while others can be life-threatening. If a skin rash starts suddenly and spreads quickly to areas all over your body, it could be caused by a serious allergic reaction. Patients will need to be evaluated at the Emergency Room if they have additional signs of an allergic reaction, including difficulty breathing, facial swelling, dizziness, loss of consciousness, or shortness of breath.

If a skin rash is accompanied by a fever, it could be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition. An Emergency Room physician can evaluate the patient for infections such as measles, scarlet fever, and mononucleosis. Shingles—a disease that primarily affects adults—can also cause fever, a blistering rash, burning, and pain.

Localized Infection
Some skin rashes might not be serious initially, but can later become cause for concern. If the rash is itchy, a patient may scratch it and break the skin. This leaves the area susceptible to a localized infection, which may be indicated by worsening redness, swelling, pain, and tenderness. An infection can cause an abnormal discharge from the area. An Emergency Room doctor can clean the wound and may prescribe antibiotics for bacterial infections.

Blood Poisoning
Meningitis can be life-threatening. It is an infection of the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Some patients with meningitis may develop blood poisoning, which can cause a skin rash. Meningitis and blood poisoning both require emergency care. The defining characteristic of these skin rashes is their failure to fade when a clear glass is pressed firmly into the skin.

For all of your family’s medical concerns, you can put your trust in Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center. Our Emergency Room doctors and family physicians are committed to maintaining the highest standards of patient care and safety. Patients in the Thousand Oaks area can speak with a registered nurse at our hospital by calling (877) 888-5746.

A Look at Cardiovascular Conditions in Children

Heart disease, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular conditions don’t only affect older adults. Some children are also diagnosed with heart and vascular problems. Some of these conditions are present at birth. These are known as congenital defects. Others are acquired conditions that develop later. If your child needs specialized heart care and you live near Thousand Oaks, you can find innovative solutions at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center.

Congenital Heart Defects
There are many types of heart defects that may be present at birth, including atrial septal defect (ASD) and ventricular septal defect (VSD). An ASD refers to an abnormal opening in the wall that separates the two upper chambers of the heart. A VSD is similar, but the hole is located in the wall that separates the two lower chambers. ASDs and VSDs don’t always require treatment, as the abnormal opening may either close on its own or fail to cause symptoms. In severe cases, the child may need surgery to close the opening.

Heart Failure
Heart failure involves the inability of the heart to pump enough blood. This means that the tissues throughout the body do not receive sufficient oxygen. Sometimes, heart failure is caused by a congenital heart defect like ASD or VSD. It’s also possible for a viral infection to inflict damage on the heart muscle, which can cause pump failure.

High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, can affect babies, older children, and teenagers, as well as adults. Children may develop secondary hypertension, which is caused by an underlying disease or a medication. Kidney disease, for example, can result in pediatric hypertension. Primary hypertension may be the result of multiple factors, such as family history, obesity, physical inactivity, and poor diet. Primary hypertension is more often diagnosed in adolescents than in young children.

If your child is in distress, call 911 immediately. The Emergency Room staff at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center coordinates closely with our cardiology department to provide rapid responses for cardiac conditions. If you have general questions about our hospital services in Thousand Oaks, you can call a registered nurse at (877) 888-5746.

Would You Know If You Were Having a Heart Attack?

You may have seen a movie or TV show in which a character suddenly clutches his chest and dramatically falls to the ground. In reality, heart attacks affect both men and women, and they can even affect younger adults in their 20s and 30s. Heart attacks can certainly cause severe chest pain or pressure, but they can sometimes be much more difficult to recognize. Here at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, our cardiology specialists urge families to become familiar with the subtler signs of a heart attack and to seek emergency assistance promptly.

Pain and Discomfort
Chest pain can have many causes, some of which are relatively harmless. Heartburn, for instance, can feel similar to the pain of a heart attack. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible for patients to differentiate between heartburn and a heart attack without medical testing. It’s best to err on the side of caution and call 911 if the chest pain persists for longer than a few minutes, or if it resolves and then comes back. In addition to chest pain, a heart attack can cause pain or discomfort in the jaw, upper back, arms, and upper abdomen. Women are more likely than men to experience pain in areas other than the chest.

Respiratory Distress
It’s natural to become short of breath during a tough workout. But if you’re having trouble catching your breath while you’re sitting down or after only mild exertion, this could be a sign of a cardiac event. Unexplainable shortness of breath is especially alarming when it’s accompanied by other possible heart attack symptoms.

Flu-Like Symptoms
Some people go to the hospital for flu-like symptoms, only to discover that they’ve actually had a heart attack instead of a viral infection. You might experience extreme fatigue that makes it difficult to get through your daily routine. This fatigue can occur days or even weeks before the actual heart attack. Lightheadedness, fainting, cold sweats, nausea, and vomiting are other possible symptoms of a heart attack.

The cardiology specialists at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center urge our neighbors in Thousand Oaks to call 911 if they experience any possible heart attack symptoms. The sooner the ambulance brings you to our Emergency Room, the quicker we can perform evaluations and medical interventions. For non-emergent inquiries, you can reach a registered nurse at our hospital by calling (877) 888-5746.

Comparing Risk Factors for Heart Attack and Stroke

Stroke and heart attacks are both life-threatening events that may lead to long-term disabilities or complications for survivors. They also share many of the same risk factors. A risk factor is anything that increases the likelihood of developing a disease or condition. However, it’s important to note that, regardless of risk factors, a stroke or heart attack can affect virtually anyone. At Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, our Emergency Room physicians and nurses are available 24/7 to provide rapid evaluations and interventions.

Unmodifiable Risk Factors
An unmodifiable risk factor is one that cannot be changed through medical treatment or lifestyle changes. Advancing age is a risk factor for both stroke and heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, most of the patients who die of heart attacks are 65 years of age or older. More women than men are diagnosed with stroke and more women die from it. Men experience more heart attacks than women and men are more likely to suffer heart attacks at a younger age. For both stroke and heart attack, having a family history of these conditions increases one’s risk. Personal medical history can also play a role. People who have had a prior stroke are at an increased risk of another stroke. In addition, heart attack survivors are at a higher risk of suffering a stroke.

Modifiable Risk Factors
Many cases of stroke and heart attack are preventable with smart lifestyle choices. For both conditions, a poor diet, physical inactivity, obesity, and cigarette smoking are risk factors. Certain medical conditions can also increase the risk of both stroke and heart attack. These include diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Additionally, the risk of stroke increases in patients who have peripheral artery disease, atrial fibrillation, and sickle cell diseases.

Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is renowned for our nationally accredited Cardiac and Cardiology Center and for our award-winning Stroke Program. Our specialists in Thousand Oaks emphasize the value of preventive wellness and patient education for managing the risk factors of both stroke and heart attack. To request a referral to a physician at our hospital, call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (877) 888-5746.

How Can EMS Make a Difference in Your Emergency Care?

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is an integrated system that is activated when someone is experiencing a medical emergency. EMS workers include paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) who arrive via ambulance to a patient’s location to take that individual to the hospital. When a patient suffers a stroke, heart attack, or other serious or life-threatening health crisis, EMS professionals can drastically improve the odds of a better outcome for the patient. Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is proud to offer the services of our on-site EMS team.

Safe Patient Transportation
When experiencing a severe medical problem, a person’s first instinct might be to try to drive him or herself to the hospital or to have a relative provide transportation. Unfortunately, this can lead to significant consequences. EMS workers can transport patients to emergency rooms and trauma centers much more quickly and more safely than the average person could. Seconds count during life-threatening medical emergencies. When a stroke occurs, for example, two million nerve cells die for every minute that blood can’t reach the brain, according to the American Heart Association.

Rapid Medical Intervention
An ambulance is a mobile medical unit equipped with medications and instruments. When an EMS team arrives on the scene, the paramedics immediately assess the patient’s condition. Depending on their findings, they may administer certain medical interventions immediately to stabilize the patient. Often, beginning medical interventions right away can make the difference between a favorable and a poor outcome for the patient.

Coordinated Response
The coordinated response of the EMS team and the hospital is another way that EMS helps save lives. The EMS team contacts the hospital while transporting the patient. Receiving essential information about the incoming patient allows the hospital to assemble the appropriate medical providers and medical equipment. Once the patient arrives, medical interventions can be initiated immediately.

Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center features a robust community of emergency care specialists, including highly trained trauma teams that work closely with our on-site EMS team. At our hospital in Thousand Oaks, you’ll find East Ventura County’s only Level II Trauma Center. If you or a loved one needs to be seen at the emergency room, please call 911 immediately. Otherwise, call our hospital at (877) 888-5746.

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