• How hyperbaric oxygen therapy creates better outcomes for patients

    Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used to enhance the body’s own healing abilities. It is a painless treatment that can be performed at a hospital on an outpatient basis. If you are referred for hyperbaric oxygen treatment, here is what you need to know.

    What happens during hyperbaric oxygen therapy?
    During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT, you will enter a cylinder that is made of clear acrylic, so you can see outside of the chamber at all times. Once you are inside, the technician will administer 100% oxygen, which you will breathe freely inside the cylinder.

    This process helps to increase the oxygen levels in your blood, which in turn helps to promote healing. HBOT typically takes about 90 minutes, during which time you may watch movies and communicate with the person administering the test, as described in the video.

    What are the benefits of treatment?
    Oxygen-rich blood helps to promote healing of wounds and other tissue damage. By increasing the level of oxygen in your blood, HBOT supports your body’s own healing mechanism.

    Although anyone can benefit from HBOT, it is especially effective for patients who have circulatory problems that restrict blood flow to the site of a wood. If you smoke, your doctor may recommend that you quit before treatment, as smoking reduces blood flow.

    What conditions can be treated by HBOT?
    HBOT is recommended for a number of different conditions, including:

    • Air or gas embolisms
    • Gas gangrene
    • Decompression sickness
    • Thermal burns
    • Diabetes wounds
    • Traumatic ischemias
    • Carbon monoxide poisoning
    • Necrotizing soft tissue infections

    HBOT has also been used for other conditions, including near-drownings and plastic surgery recovery, but these uses have not been studied as thoroughly.

    Could HBOT help you recover faster from a wound or other condition? Consult with a physician at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center to find out. Our hospital in Thousand Oaks is pleased to offer HBOT as a treatment option to patients in our community. To learn more or to request a referral, please call (877) 888-5746.

  • Knowing when you have food poisoning

    What you eat can sometimes make you sick if it is processed, handled or prepared improperly. Food poisoning cases spike during the hot summer months, as food spoils more quickly if it’s left out. Plus, attending cookouts and family get-togethers lets you sample other people’s cooking—and they might not adhere to the same food safety standards as you. It is possible for foodborne illnesses to become serious or even deadly. Know the signs of common illnesses and let the Emergency Room team at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center help you feel better quickly.

    How quickly food poisoning symptoms develop
    In most cases, the symptoms of food poisoning develop rapidly. The most common foodborne illness, norovirus, causes symptoms within 12 to 48 hours of infection.

    Salmonella isn’t quite as common as norovirus, but it results in more hospitalizations. This illness can cause symptoms within six to 48 hours after the consumption of a contaminated food or beverage.

    Which symptoms can occur with food poisoning
    The symptoms of food poisoning vary, depending on the specific illness. In general, they involved gastrointestinal distress. These symptoms can include:

    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Stomach cramps
    • Abdominal pain
    • Fever
    • Weakness
    • Muscle aches and pains

    When to seek emergency care for food poisoning
    Mild symptoms of food poisoning generally don’t require a trip to the ER. Patients should stay hydrated and rest while waiting for the illness to resolve.

    Serious symptoms of food poisoning do require emergency care. Occasionally, medical treatments like antibiotics or antitoxins can be administered, but usually ER doctors simply provide supportive care to prevent further complications.

    The following symptoms warrant a doctor’s attention:

    • Inability to keep liquids down/frequent vomiting
    • Bloody vomit or stools
    • Severe abdominal cramping or pain
    • Dehydration

    Superior care you can count on is available around the clock at the Emergency Room at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center . Families in Thousand Oaks can direct general questions to a registered nurse at (877) 888-5746. Please call 911 without delay for serious medical emergencies.

  • What does UV exposure do to your body?

    UV exposure can be a significant health risk. It is important to understand how you are exposed to UV rays and the steps you can take to protect yourself in order to reduce the risks of developing a condition that is linked to the exposure, including cancer . Protect yourself and your loved ones with this information.

    What are UV rays?
    UV stands for ultraviolet and refers to a type of radiation that has less energy than the light that you can see but not quite as much as an X-ray. UV rays are created by the sun. There are three main types:

    • UVA rays – These rays are the weakest and may cause wrinkles and contribute to some forms of skin cancer.
    • UVB rays – The next step up in strength, these rays typically cause sunburns and contribute to skin cancer.
    • UVC – These rays have the most energy of any UV rays, but they do not reach the ground. They can be found in mercury lamps, welding torches, and UV sanitation systems.

    How do UV rays affect the body?
    UV exposure changes the DNA in your cells. Because UV rays can’t completely penetrate your body, they mostly affect the DNA in your skin. The impacts of UV exposure can range from minor to life-threatening and include:

    • Sunburns
    • Wrinkles
    • Basal cell skin cancer
    • Squamous cell skin cancer
    • Melanoma
    • Merkel cell carcinoma
    • Lip cancer
    • Eye cancer

    How can I reduce my risk of exposure?
    Limit the amount of time you spend outside during the hours of peak sunlight—typically 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.—and wear sunscreen when you’re outside. Sunglasses can help to protect your eyes.

    Never use a tanning bed, which dramatically increases your risk of UV exposure. If you do welding or metal work, talk to your physician about steps you can take to protect yourself at work.

    When UV exposure leads to cancer, Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center is here to help. Our cancer care team in Thousand Oaks uses advanced technologies, and we help to connect patients with resources to support them throughout their treatment plan. Get more information about our cancer care and our hospital services by calling (877) 888-5746.

  • Correcting misinformation about breastfeeding

    Breastfeeding is something you can do for your baby that no one else can. It forges an unbreakable bond between you and your child, and it gives your baby the healthiest possible start in life. But breastfeeding isn’t always easy. The healthcare providers at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center encourage new moms to come to us with their concerns and questions, and we’ll work together to find the best possible solution. At our maternity hospital, we put families first.

    Myth: “Resting” a breast increases milk supply
    It seems intuitive to assume that giving a breast a break from nursing would increase its supply later on. But in fact, the opposite is true. The more you breastfeed, the more milk your body produces.

    Resting a breast can result in less milk for your baby. If you’re concerned about having a low supply, you can express milk manually to encourage robust production, in addition to nursing.

    Myth: It’s impossible to become pregnant while breastfeeding
    Breastfeeding does actually help prevent unintentional pregnancy, but it isn’t foolproof. Nursing changes hormone levels in a way that suppresses ovulation, which prevents conception.

    However, it’s still possible to menstruate while breastfeeding. When your period resumes, it’s possible to get pregnant again.

    Myth: Breastfeeding is discouraged in public
    It seems odd that anyone would discourage a baby from eating in public, but some controversy remains regarding this issue. Babies need to eat whenever they are hungry. As in most states, California law protects the right of mothers to nurse their babies in any public or private location.

    Breastfeeding in public is easier than you might think, especially after you’ve had plenty of practice in private. Nursing clothes are designed specifically to let moms nurse as discreetly as they wish.

    Birthing Center at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center has had the privilege to welcome babies into the Thousand Oaks community since 1968. We are committed to empowering women to successfully overcome breastfeeding challenges because the health of our community is important to us. Call a friendly nurse at our state-of-the-art hospital at (877) 888-5746.

  • The parents’ guide to stress management

    Stress can feel like a way of life for parents. From financial worries to work responsibilities and the kids’ packed schedule, it can feel like you just can’t get ahead. When you’re feeling this kind of strain, the first step to take is to ask your hospital for a referral to a physician who can help you improve your stress management and your overall health. This advice will also help you cope with the strain of parenthood.

    Look for things to scratch off your schedule
    Sit down with your family to talk about your schedule and how you can change it. You may find that your kids are as stressed as you are and are looking for a way to ease their burdens.

    Consider cutting back on extracurricular activities or putting an end to the nightly stop at the grocery store by shopping once a week with a list. In that schedule, carve out some time where you will all relax and do something fun together as a family, which can be more productive than any of the other activities you’re doing.

    Delegate tasks as much as possible
    Trying to do everything for your family is impossible. Take some of the burden off of your shoulders by delegating tasks. There are a number of different ways you can take things off your plate, including:

    • Joining a carpool so you don’t have to run to and from every practice
    • Giving the kids a list of chores
    • Hiring a cleaning person for one-off deep cleans or more frequent services
    • Relying on family and friends for help with child care

    Often, you will be surprised how many people are willing to help you if you tell them—or show them—how.

    Focus on healthy habits
    Stress often lends itself to overeating, drinking, smoking, and other unhealthy habits. You will feel less stressed if you feel more physically healthy . You don’t have to change everything overnight. Commit to one change for your health, such as taking a walk every day, to feel an improvement.

    Don’t let stress overwhelm you and your family. Contact Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center today to request a referral to a physician who can help you learn stress coping techniques. Take the first step for better health by calling our hospital today at (877) 888-5746.

  • Why do babies need certain shots so early?

    Babies do acquire some immunity from their mothers, especially if they are breastfed. But unfortunately, their immune systems still have plenty of strengthening to do, which is why vaccines are necessary. Babies and young children are vulnerable to diseases that have the potential to cause death or serious, lasting health complications. At Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, the health of your family is important to us. We maintain an unwavering commitment to give every baby the healthiest possible start in life.

    Babies are at risk of hepatitis B
    One of the first vaccines a baby receives protects him or her from hepatitis B. Healthcare providers administer this shot not long after birth because it’s possible for a mother to pass the disease to her baby. Not everyone who has hepatitis B realizes it.

    Hepatitis B can affect babies and young children more severely than adults. When a baby is infected with this disease, he or she is more likely to develop an incurable, chronic infection. Later in life, this can lead to liver damage and liver cancer.

    The recommended vaccine schedule is clinically proven
    Researchers have designed the recommended vaccine schedule through painstaking work. It’s based on how vaccines work best with a child’s immune system at certain ages, and how well the child can develop an immune response.

    Children need to receive a lot of vaccines within the first two years of life because they need the protection. It isn’t possible to “overload” a child’s immune system by following the recommended vaccine schedule.

    Vaccines protect the community
    It’s important to bring babies to each scheduled appointment for shots, as delaying shots places them and others at risk. For example, children cannot receive the first vaccine for whooping cough until two months of age. It’s possible for an unvaccinated child to transmit this infection to a baby who is too young to get the shot yet.

    Whooping cough is especially dangerous for babies, potentially causing seizures, brain damage and death. Babies who are vaccinated can protect others, as well as themselves.

    The healthcare providers at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center work collaboratively with parents to give babies the superior, sensitive care they deserve. Our highly trained specialists in Thousand Oaks have made it their life’s work to safeguard the health of the next generation. A registered nurse welcomes your questions at (877) 888-5746.

  • Wilderness safety guidelines for your summer adventures

    California is home to many National Parks, and what better time could there be to get outside and explore? Of course, getting back to nature comes with a few risks, so to prevent your trip to the wilderness turning into a trip to the hospital emergency room , keep a few safety tips in mind. As you head out to the wilderness, be mindful of this safety advice.

    Leave your travel plan with someone
    Before you head out into the wild, make sure someone back at home knows what your plans are. If you leave an itinerary with someone, then he or she will be aware of when you are supposed to return home and can raise the alarm if you are late.

    Leaving an itinerary also helps people know where to find you if you are late and need help. Don’t deviate from your plan once you give it to people.

    Stay hydrated
    Dehydration is a significant risk when you are outside. It doesn’t matter whether it is hot or cold—you can still become dehydrated when hiking, which can lead to serious complications.

    Bring more water than you think you’ll need, and stop to drink it frequently. When it is hot out, take breaks in the shade to cool down often. If your urine is dark yellow or you feel thirsty, you are dehydrated. Drink more water or head back.

    Do your research
    Before you go on a wilderness adventure, get to know the area in which you plan to be. Familiarize yourself with the wildlife, know the location of rangers’ stations, and pack according to the area you’ll be exploring.

    Be sure to also check the weather report before you go, and postpone your trip if bad weather is expected. Flash floods, strong winds, and other summer storm hazards can be deadly in the wilderness.

    If your adventure does end in injury, the emergency room at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center provides care around the clock with short wait times and pediatric care. For treatment of all of your summertime injuries and illnesses, choose our ER in Thousand Oaks . You can also dial (877) 888-5746 for more information.

  • Are you prepared to act fast in the event of stroke symptoms?

    Stroke is deadly and debilitating, but survival is possible if the patient reaches the Emergency Room quickly. As soon as you recognize that someone is experiencing stroke symptoms, call 911. The sooner the patient reaches Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, the better the outcome will be. This is because the treatment for stroke is time-dependent, according to the neurologist featured in the accompanying video.

    Recognize the signs of stroke
    The symptoms of a stroke develop rapidly . Since no one expects their loved one to suddenly suffer a stroke, it can be difficult to recognize what the symptoms mean. That’s why doctors recommend learning the F.A.S.T. acronym:

    • F: Face. The person’s smile droops on one side.
    • A: Arms. One arm involuntarily drifts downward when both are raised up.
    • S: Speech. The person suddenly starts talking strangely or has slurred speech.
    • T: Time. As soon as these symptoms occur, it’s time to call 911.

    Of course, stroke can cause other signs and symptoms. These include:

    • Sudden vision impairment
    • Confusion or inattentiveness
    • Sudden, excruciating headache with no apparent cause
    • Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
    • Dizziness
    • Loss of balance or coordination
    • Trouble walking
    • Loss of consciousness

    Act quickly when stroke occurs
    Calling 911 is the first thing you should do when there’s even a slight chance that someone is having a stroke. Then, take the following steps:

    • Write down the time symptoms first appeared
    • Help the patient lie down on a couch or the floor
    • Gather the patient’s medications—look in the medicine cabinet and nightstand

    If the patient doesn’t have a pulse, then your priority after calling 911 is to perform CPR. The 911 dispatcher can walk you through the steps.

    Know what to avoid when stroke occurs
    Avoiding these common mistakes could save a life:

    • Don’t give the person aspirin or other medicines
    • Don’t give the patient food or drink
    • Don’t try to drive the patient to the ER instead of waiting for an ambulance
    • Don’t leave the individual alone

    Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is a recognized leader in stroke care. We are a Comprehensive Stroke Center that also features a specialized Neurovascular Program. A registered nurse in Thousand Oaks welcomes your general healthcare questions at (877) 888-5746, but please do call 911 immediately if you or someone else might be having a stroke.