• Should You Go to the ER for a Headache?

    Headaches are often minor health concerns, although they certainly can be bothersome. However, it is possible for a headache to indicate a serious or life-threatening medical problem. Secondary headaches are those that are caused by underlying issues, unlike primary headaches such as tension-type and migraine headaches. It isn’t always easy to determine when a headache might require a trip to the Emergency Room at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center of Thousand Oaks. If you’re ever in doubt about the severity of your medical issue, you can always call your doctor for advice.

    Giant Cell Arteritis

    One possible cause of headaches that requires treatment at the emergency room is giant cell arteritis, also known as temporal arteritis. This refers to the inflammation of the lining of the arteries, particularly those found in the head. This condition can cause headaches, jaw pain, and vision loss. Blindness and stroke may occur unless treatment is sought.

    Stroke

    Patients who have survived stroke may report experiencing the worst headache they’ve ever had when the stroke developed. In addition to headache, stroke commonly causes slurred speech, confusion, vision loss, and weakness or numbness on one side of the body. The onset of stroke symptoms is rapid. If you think you could be suffering a stroke, you shouldn’t try to drive yourself to the emergency room. Instead, call 911 immediately.

    Meningitis

    Meningitis is a life-threatening disease characterized by the inflammation of the meninges, which surround the brain and spinal cord. Most patients with meningitis contract the disease because of a virus; however, meningitis may also be bacterial or fungal in nature. Along with a headache, meningitis can cause a sudden, high fever , stiff neck, seizures, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light. If left untreated, meningitis can lead to permanent hearing loss, brain damage, learning disabilities, kidney failure, and death.

    Families throughout the Thousand Oaks area can rely on Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center to provide rapid evaluation and treatment of serious medical conditions. Our Emergency Room staff is committed to keeping our average ER wait times below 15 minutes. Call 911 immediately if you have a medical emergency; otherwise, call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (877) 888-5746 or browse our website for more information about the capabilities of our Emergency Room.

  • Understanding How the Flu Spreads

    Influenza viruses are highly contagious, which is one reason why healthcare providers urge patients to avoid going to work or school with flu-like symptoms. If you haven’t yet gotten an annual flu shot , you may wish to consider visiting Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center to ask about getting vaccinated. Flu vaccines offer the best protection against these viruses and getting vaccinated may help keep you out of the emergency room this season.

    Contagious Period of Infected Patients

    Symptoms typically arise about one to four days after a patient contracts the virus. It is possible to pass the flu virus on to other people during the day before your symptoms develop. You could also transmit the virus to others for five to seven days after you noticed symptoms. Children may remain contagious longer than seven days. Sometimes, a person might contract the flu virus, yet develop no symptoms. He or she is still contagious, however.

    Airborne Transmission of Germs

    It is thought that the flu viruses are most often transmitted through coughing, sneezing, and talking . When an infected person engages in these activities, tiny droplets are propelled through the air. These droplets can land on surfaces and other people up to six feet away from the infected individual. The droplets may be inhaled into the lungs or they might land on a person’s mouth or nose. This is why patients at an emergency room might be instructed to wear a face mask if they have flu-like symptoms.

    Physical Contact with Infected Surfaces

    In addition to the airborne transmission of flu viruses, some people may become infected through indirect contact with an infected person. When the flu virus is transmitted to a surface, it can survive there for two to eight hours. Someone who touches that surface while the flu virus is alive may then touch his or her face and allow the virus to enter the body.

    For severe flu symptoms and complications of the flu, families throughout the Thousand Oaks area can turn to the Emergency Room at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center. Emergency medical care, cardiology services, and surgical services are just a few of the healthcare services you’ll find at our community hospital. If you would like to speak with a registered nurse, you can call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (877) 888-5746.

  • Conditions that Should Be Treated in the Emergency Room

    You probably already know that medical conditions such as a heart attack or stroke require a prompt visit to the emergency room. However, emergency room physicians are capable of handling any type of medical emergency, ranging from physical trauma to infectious diseases to allergic reactions —and countless others. No matter what your medical emergency is, the ER team at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center can assist you.

    Asthma Attack

    Primary care physicians and allergists/immunologists can help patients learn how to follow their recommended treatment plan to manage asthma. However, asthma attacks may still occur. Typically, asthma patients are instructed to use a rescue inhaler at the first sign of an asthma attack. Even when a rescue inhaler is used promptly, patients may still need to be treated at an emergency room. Calling 911 is advisable if the symptoms persist or get worse despite using medication, if shortness of breath is so severe that talking is difficult, or if the lips or fingernails acquire a bluish tint.

    Anaphylaxis

    Anaphylaxis refers to a life-threatening allergic reaction characterized by wheezing, trouble breathing, hives, chest tightness, faintness, and swelling of the throat. Patients who are at risk of anaphylaxis may be prescribed epinephrine, which can be administered with an auto injector. When anaphylaxis occurs, patients can administer the injection into the thigh. Then, patients are advised to call 911 immediately for transportation to the emergency room.

    Severe Physical Trauma

    Other health issues that should be treated in the ER include severe physical trauma. Severe trauma may occur from an auto accident, fall from an elevation, assault, or natural disaster. Patients may suffer from internal bleeding and internal organ damage, along with major fractures, head trauma, or even the loss of body parts. When emergency responders find patients with significant trauma, they make take these patients to a local trauma center.

    Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center features the only Level Two Trauma Center in East Ventura County. Within our Emergency Room and throughout our community hospital in Thousand Oaks, you’ll find specialized and multidisciplinary treatment delivered by highly trained healthcare providers. Call 911 immediately if you have a medical emergency or direct your non-emergent inquiries to our Consult-A-Nurse line at (877) 888-5746.

  • Avoiding Common Holiday Decorating Mishaps

    Holiday decorations are a longstanding tradition. Unfortunately, they can also lead to serious injuries such as fractures and concussions that require care at an emergency room . Since the idea of spending the holidays in a hospital is unappealing, consider exercising caution this season. The healthcare providers of Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center would like to wish our neighbors in Thousand Oaks a safe and joyous holiday season.

    Reducing Your Risk of Falling

    Many accidents related to holiday decorating involve falls from elevations. Individuals may fall inside the home when climbing on furniture to hang decorations. Exterior decorations can also be hazardous, since they often require a ladder. During the holidays, emergency room doctors may treat patients with penetrating or closed head injuries, major fractures, and even internal bleeding caused by falls from ladders. If you aren’t sure that you can use a ladder safely, you might consider decorating low shrubs with holiday lights, rather than your roofline. If you do use a ladder, make sure it is on a firm, level surface.

    Preventing House Fires

    House fires are another major concern during the holidays. Not only can they lead to severe burn injuries, but they can also cause death or injury from smoke inhalation. Keep your family safe and out of the emergency room this season by using flameless LED candles, closely inspecting all holiday lights for signs of damage, and choosing a fresh, well-watered evergreen or flame retardant artificial tree.

    Keeping Kids Safe from Toxic Substances

    Accidental poisonings may be the furthest thing from your mind during the holiday season, but if you have young children, it’s important to be on the lookout for toxic substances in your home. Some people use fire salts, which are thrown on wood fires to produce colored flames. Emergency room physicians strongly recommend keeping these out of reach of children; if ingested, fire salts can cause gastrointestinal problems. Read the instructions carefully before using artificial snow; inhaling it can irritate the lungs.

    Despite taking precautions, accidents can still happen. Families in Thousand Oaks can rest assured that the Emergency Room doctors of Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center are always available to provide prompt care to patients who have sustained injuries. If you require emergency transportation to our community hospital, call 911 immediately. For non-emergent inquiries, our Consult-A-Nurse referral line is available at (877) 888-5746.