• Teaching Your Family to Avoid Dog Bite Injuries

    Dogs may be man’s best friend, but even the gentlest and smallest of canines can bite without much warning. Emergency Room doctors typically treat children for severe dog bite injuries more often than adults. Kids may be more susceptible to dog attacks when they aren’t taught how to interact safely with animals. Here at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, our Emergency Room physicians recommend taking proactive steps to protect families.

    Require Parental Supervision

    Supervising children when they are near dogs is one of the most effective ways to protect them from dog bites. Adults can remind children to interact with their furry friends properly. An adult can also intervene quickly if need be. If you see a dog attack your child, immediately grasp the dog’s back legs and lift them up as if you were holding a wheelbarrow. Walk the dog backward until you can secure the dog in another room or the kennel.

    Demonstrate Appropriate Petting Techniques

    Use age-appropriate language to explain to your child why he or she shouldn’t approach unfamiliar dogs without permission and parental supervision. When it is appropriate for your child to pet a dog, demonstrate how you hold your hand out for the dog to sniff before gently petting the dog on the chest or under the chin. Tell your child that it is never okay to pull a dog’s ears or tail, or to take away food or toys.

    Discuss How to Handle Aggressive Dogs

    Every child should know how to respond to an aggressive dog . If a dog attacks, your child should stand “still like a tree,” remain quiet, and look at the ground instead of at the dog. If a dog knocks your child over, he or she should curl up into a ball, and cover the head and ears with his or her hands.

    The Emergency Room at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is available 24/7, every day of the year to treat all sorts of children’s health emergencies. Our hospital in Thousand Oaks features a dedicated Pediatric Emergency Room with specially trained staff, private rooms, and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). You can call our hospital at (877) 888-5746, but please direct medical emergencies to a 911 dispatcher.

  • Why You Should Avoid Driving Yourself to the Emergency Room

    Even after recognizing the warning signs of major health problems, many people still prefer to drive to the Emergency Room instead of calling 911. Unfortunately, this mistake can have a tragic outcome. Here at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, our Emergency Room team strongly urges patients to avoid delaying medical care when a true emergency strikes.

    It may not be safe for you to drive.

    Many people who wouldn’t dare get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol still try to drive when they are ill or injured. Yet, the consequences can be similar. Some medical emergencies can cause severe dizziness, numbness, muscle weakness, or loss of consciousness. A patient’s reaction time and judgment may be impaired. Plus, there’s always the possibility of vomiting while behind the wheel, which can cause the car to swerve dangerously. If you’re feeling ill enough to need emergency care, you probably shouldn’t try to drive yourself to the hospital.

    The 911 dispatcher can provide first aid instructions.

    Another compelling reason to call 911 instead of driving to the hospital is that the 911 dispatcher may give you some simple instructions to follow while you’re waiting for the ambulance. If you might be having a stroke, the dispatcher may instruct you to lie down to avoid getting injured. If you could be having a heart attack, you may be asked to take a baby aspirin.

    The EMS team can initiate life-saving interventions.

    As soon as the ambulance arrives, the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team will assess your condition and administer certain life-saving interventions. These can help stabilize you while you’re on the way to the hospital. The paramedic might give you oxygen, start an IV line, or bandage lacerations. The EMS personnel will also contact the hospital to alert them to your impending arrival, which lets the physicians get ready to treat you promptly.

    The Emergency Room at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is always open to provide life-saving care to our patients. Our hospital has long been a leading provider of specialized heart care, trauma care, and dedicated pediatric emergency care. A registered nurse in Thousand Oaks is available at (877) 888-5746 to answer general, non-emergent questions.

  • Following Up with Your Child’s Pediatrician After an ER Visit

    Even after your child is discharged from the Emergency Room at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center , he or she may need to be seen by a doctor again soon. The Emergency Room physician will advise you to follow up with your child’s regular pediatrician. This ensures a continuum of care. Your child’s pediatrician is familiar with his or her health needs, and he or she can use information about the Emergency Room visit to support your child’s wellness.

    Ask the ER to send a report.

    In many ERs, it’s standard practice to send a report to a child’s pediatrician after a diagnosis and treatment from an emergency care physician . However, it’s always a good idea to check on this before you take your child home. In some cases, the pediatrician will already be aware of the ER visit before receiving a report. When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear a registered nurse at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center explain that many local pediatricians meet their young patients at the ER to check on them and provide guidance about their overall health.

    Call the pediatrician’s office.

    After the ER visit, give the pediatrician’s office a call and ask if the ER report has been received yet. Provide a brief update about what your child was seen for and how he or she is recovering. The pediatrician will determine if your child should be seen for a follow-up exam.

    Go to a follow-up exam.

    During a follow-up exam, the pediatrician may review lab reports or imaging scans. Expect to be asked whether your child has shown improvements and whether there are any new concerns. The pediatrician may provide additional guidance on caring for your child at home. He or she might also request additional tests or imaging scans.

    The dedicated Pediatric Emergency Room at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center maintains short wait times and provides specialized care to the youngest of patients. Parents in Thousand Oaks will be comforted to know that all of our Pediatric Emergency Room Nurses have been PALS certified to care for children. Medical emergencies should be directed to a 911 dispatcher, but you can call our hospital at (877) 888-5746 for questions of a non-emergent

  • 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.