• Improving your safety when you have low vision

    Low vision can occur as the result of a number of different eye diseases, including glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, as well as eye and brain injuries. Fortunately, there are several things you can do learn to live safely with low vision and reduce the risk of injuries or the need for emergency care . Boost your safety when you’re living with low vision with these techniques.

    Add additional lights
    The amount of lighting in your home can dramatically impact your ability to see. By installing additional lights, you can improve your vision and reduce your chances of tripping or bumping into items that could cause injury.

    Start by replacing your existing bulbs with higher wattage bulbs. In areas where overhead lighting is not sufficient, add additional lamps. Adjust your bulbs and the number of light sources in a space according to your needs.

    Create contrast
    Color contrasts are easier to see than colors in the same shade when you have low vision. Take advantage of color contrasts to increase your ability to see.

    For example, consider laying a colored blanket across the back of a white or lightly colored piece of furniture. You may also benefit from putting a black cloth or contact paper down on a surface on which you store white paper. Don’t store trip hazards, like shoes, on similarly colored carpet or flooring.

    Use talking medical devices
    If you have a chronic medical condition that requires you to use a device to manage it, then your needs don’t stop because you have low vision. Talking devices, which tell you a reading rather than requiring you to see it, will make your care easier.

    Diabetics, for instance, who need to check their blood sugar levels multiple times per day can benefit from having a talking glucose meter that reads out their test results. This allows people to make decisions about insulin dosing and meal planning without having to read the meter.

    Help is available for low vision. Make an appointment at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center with a specialist who can help you make decisions about your care. To get a referral to a physician, call our Thousand Oaks hospital today at (877) 888-5746.

  • What are the common signs of a UTI?

    Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are extremely common. Although women are more likely to get a UTI than men, anyone can get one at any age. Because UTIs can spread and affect other parts of the body, it’s important to know the signs so you get treatment as soon as possible and avoid the risk of complications. Here’s a look at the most common symptoms of a UTI. Consider calling your physician if you experience any of these signs.

    Pain during urination
    Pain during urination is the most frequent sign of a UTI . Most people with a UTI describe an intense burning while urinating. This symptom is usually the first sign of a UTI.

    In addition to pain during urination, you may also experience the sense that your bladder is not being emptied completely, coupled with an increase in the frequency of urination. Often, people with a UTI feel an urge to urinate but actually release very little urine.

    Fever
    As explained in the video, a UTI can cause symptoms in other part of the body. As with all many other kinds of illnesses, a UTI can cause a fever, as your body fights off infection.

    In addition to having a fever, you may feel a general sense of being unwell. Many people feel fatigue or shakiness when they have a UTI. You may also feel achy or experience pain in your back or below your ribs on your flanks.

    Changes in the smell or appearance of urine
    Often, you can see the evidence of a UTI in your urine. It may look cloudy, or it may look reddish or similar in color to soda or tea. You may also see a small amount of blood in your urine.

    With a UTI, urine may also have a foul odor or may otherwise smell stronger than normal.

    If you suspect you have a UTI or are struggling with another health issue, Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center is here to provide the care you need. Our emergency room in Thousand Oaks is open around the clock for your urgent needs, and our specialists provide a comprehensive range of healthcare services. Request a referral to a physician affiliated with our hospital by calling (877) 888-5746.

  • How to assess your heart health

    Since heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., knowing the state of your heart health is one of the most significant things you can do for your overall well-being. When you understand your personal heart health risks, you can take steps to keep them under control and lessen the chances that you will need cardiology specialty care . There are several easy things you can do to assess the heart of your health. Focus on heart health with these assessment tips.

    Check your pulse
    Your pulse can give you a great deal of information about your heart’s rate and rhythm. Follow these steps to check your own pulse at home:

    • Put the index and middle fingers of one hand on the inner wrist of the opposite hand in the area below the thumb. Move your fingers around until you can feel the tapping of your pulse.
    • Count the beats you feel for 10 seconds.
    • Multiple that number by 6—this will tell you the number of beats per minute.

    Usually, people have resting heart rates between 60 and 100 beats per minute. This number can vary based on a number of factors, however. Keep in mind that fit people have lower heart rates. By performing this check regularly, you can get an idea of what is normal for you and recognize any changes that you may want to discuss with your doctor.

    Check your blood pressure
    Home blood pressure cuffs let you check your blood pressure without going to the doctor’s office. Healthy blood pressure is less than 120 over 80. If either of your numbers is higher, you could have high blood pressure.

    You can have occasional abnormal readings for a number of different reasons, from stress to illness. Repeated high readings could indicate that you need treatment to control your blood pressure.

    Know your numbers
    See your physician regularly for tests that provide clues about your heart health. You should have regular screenings for:

    • Cholesterol
    • Blood glucose
    • Blood pressure

    Your weight is another important number to know. Being overweight increases your risk of heart health problems.

    You can also test your heart health by taking the Heart Risk Assessment from Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center. Should you need heart care, our Cardiovascular Institute offers renowned cardiology care in Thousand Oaks. To obtain a referral, please dial (877) 888-5746.

  • How does diabetes affect your child’s risk of birth defects?

    Women with diabetes can have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies . However, it’s important to recognize the increased risk of having diabetes during pregnancy so you can take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and your baby. Diabetes can influence your baby’s risk of birth defects so you will need to work closely with your healthcare team both before and during your pregnancy. Here is what you need to know about the link between birth defects and diabetes.

    Pre-existing diabetes
    If you have diabetes when you become pregnant, the risk of birth defects is usually greatest during the first few weeks of your pregnancy. Because you may not know you are pregnant at the time when your baby is most at risk of birth defects, maintaining good blood sugar control at all times is essential.

    If possible, plan your pregnancy so that you can have the healthiest possible A1C at the time of conception, which will lower the risk of birth defects for your baby. If you become pregnant unexpectedly, notify your diabetes specialist right away. You may need to make significant adjustments to your management plan to achieve blood sugar control quickly.

    Gestational diabetes
    Gestational diabetes is diabetes that develops during pregnancy. Although this kind of diabetes is generally less risky for developing babies, it can also cause complications and birth defects. The risk of defects related to gestational diabetes is especially high during the first trimester.

    See your obstetrician at regular intervals during your pregnancy so that you can be monitored for gestational diabetes. Treating your high blood sugar levels as soon as possible will protect your baby.

    Types of birth defects
    Diabetes is linked to several types of birth defects. The defects that are most common when blood glucose is high early in pregnancy include:

    • Spina bifida
    • Limb defects
    • Oral Clefts
    • Heart defects

    Both pre-existing diabetes and gestational diabetes are also linked to excessive fetal growth, or macrosomia. This increases the risk of birth injuries and of the need for a cesarean delivery. Babies may also be born with low blood glucose levels.

    At Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, our Birthing Center in Thousand Oaks is committed to ensuring that every new mother has a healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Get the care you need by calling (877) 888-5746 to request a referral to one of our obstetric specialists.

  • Essential health screenings you need this year

    When it comes to maintaining good health, taking a proactive approach is more successful than simply reacting to problems as they emerge. With regular screening tests , your physician can help you understand your risk factors for certain diseases and diagnose health conditions in their early stages, when they are easier to treat and before they can cause complications. Here are some of the screening tests you can benefit from having.

    Thyroid function tests
    Thyroid function tests are performed to determine if your thyroid gland is supplying the appropriate amount of thyroid hormones to your body. If you have either too little or too much thyroid hormone, your metabolism will not function appropriately, which in turn will impact the way nearly every system in your body functions.

    Your doctor can tell you if you should have a thyroid function test based on a number of different factors, including your age and any symptoms you’re experiencing, such as sudden weight fluctuations. Thyroid tests can be particular important for women, who tend to suffer from thyroid issues more often than men do.

    Heart health tests
    There are a number of different tests that can be used to assess your heart health. As mentioned in the video, combining these tests to look for a variety of risk factors for heart disease is most helpful. Some tests your physician may recommend include:

    • Blood pressure
    • Cholesterol
    • Blood glucose

    Both men and women can benefit from having these tests regularly so that they have a better understanding of their heart health.

    Colorectal cancer screenings
    Colorectal cancers tend to grow slowly, so screening tests can be enormously effective in preventing cancer and diagnosing it in an early, treatable stage. During a colonoscopy, your physician can also remove polyps that could pose a future cancer risk.

    Typically, colorectal cancer screenings should begin by age 50 for men and women. However, if you have a family history of this kind of cancer, you may need to begin screenings sooner.

    At Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center , we offer comprehensive inpatient and outpatient healthcare services in Thousand Oaks, including these essential screening tests. Take control of your health today and call us at (877) 888-5746 for a referral to one of our physicians.

  • What all women should know about cervical cancer screening

    Cervical cancer screenings are an important part of women’s preventive health care. Your physician will help you decide when you need to start screening tests and how often you should have them, based on your personal health history and that of your family. Regardless of your personal risk factors for cervical cancer, here are some facts that all women should know about these kinds of screening tests.

    Why are cervical cancer screening tests important?
    Cervical cancer screenings allow your physician to identify abnormal cells in your cervix that could be cancerous or precancerous. Screenings help women get cervical cancer diagnoses in early stages of the disease, when it is easier to treat.

    Precancerous cells in the cervix often take between three and seven years to develop into cancer. With regular screening tests, these cells can be identified before they become cancerous so that they can be removed or otherwise treated, which could help to prevent cervical cancer.

    What happens during cervical cancer screening tests?
    Cervical cancer screenings are performed using a Pap test. During a Pap test, cells are gently brushed away from the cervix and examined under a microscope to look for any abnormalities.

    Some women also have HPV tests as part of their cervical cancer screenings. This test looks for forms of HPV that increase the risk of cervical cancer. A positive HPV test does not mean that a woman has cervical cancer but rather that she has an increased risk of the disease.

    How often do I need to be screened for cervical cancer?
    Usually, women between 21 and 29 need to have a Pap test every three years and do not need HPV testing. Between 30 and 65, women usually need both tests every five years, or they can opt to have Pap tests every three years.

    If you have a history of gynecological cancer or if cervical cancer runs in your family, you may need more frequent testing.

    The Cancer Center at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center assists with all stages of cancer care, from screening tests to comprehensive treatment plans. Contact our hospital in Thousand Oaks today at (877) 888-5746 for a referral to a women’s health physician or our cancer team.

  • Know when to use CPR

    During a medical emergency, CPR can be life-saving. Knowing when to perform CPR may not always be easy, but there are signs you can look for that can indicate that a patient could benefit from it until they can get care in the emergency room . Here is what you need to know.

    What exactly is CPR?
    CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It involves the use of chest compressions to keep blood pumping through the body, so that it can continue to supply organs with oxygen and nutrients when a cardiac crisis occurs.

    Performing CPR essentially lets you perform the functions of the heart, until it can be restarted by a defibrillator. Typically, this will happen in an ambulance or emergency room, although some places are equipped with emergency defibrillators for public use.

    When should I use CPR?
    CPR is usually performed in response to cardiac arrest. During cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating suddenly. As the video mentions, there are some signs you can look for that someone is having cardiac arrest:

    • They are unresponsive.

    • They are not breathing, or their breathing is shallow.

    • They appear to be having seizures, which sometimes occur with cardiac arrest.

    Keep in mind that you don’t have to check for a pulse if you see these symptoms. Doing so could take too much time, so it is best to start compressions right away.

    What steps should I take if I need to perform CPR?
    Start by ensuring the scene is safe for you. Ideally, have someone else call 911 when you start compressions. It can also be helpful to have someone else look for a defibrillator, if possible. If no one else is around, call 911 yourself before or while you start compressions, so that help is on the way.

    The American Heart Association recommends hands-only CPR , which only involves doing chest compressions only and not attempting to breathe into someone’s mouth. The 911 operator can help you through the process.

    The emergency room at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center is ready around the clock to provide lifesaving care when cardiac arrests, strokes, and other crises occur. We even have a special emergency room in Thousand Oaks just for kids. Get answers to your questions about our emergency services by calling (877) 888-5746.

  • Don’t make these mistakes when you wash your hands

    Washing your hands may seem simple, but really getting them clean requires some special attention. It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re washing, and doing so can have some serious consequences, including the flu. Don’t let hand washing errors turn into an illness for you. Avoid these mistakes to get the maximum benefits from washing your hands and to reduce the chances of needing a trip to the hospital .

    Mistake: Not washing your hands at the right times.
    If you’re only washing your hands a few times per day, you may be doing it wrong. There are actually a multitude of occasions that call for clean hands. Here is when you should head for the sink to wash up:

    • After using the restroom
    • After changing a diaper
    • After you take out the trash
    • After you blow your nose
    • After sneezing or coughing into your hands
    • Before and after taking care of someone who is ill
    • Before and after preparing food
    • Before you eat
    • Before and after you clean a wound

    As a rule of thumb, wash your hands after you come into contact with potential germs and before you do anything that would allow you to transfer germs to others.

    Mistake: Rushing through the washing process
    Dipping your hands under some water is not the same thing as really washing your hands. The scrubbing alone should take at least 20 seconds—long enough to sing Happy Birthday twice. These are the steps that should be involved in washing your hands:

    • Wet your hands.
    • Lather them all over with soap.
    • Scrub for 20 seconds.
    • Rinse them thoroughly.
    • Dry them with a clean towel. Air drying is also fine.

    Mistake: Avoiding hand sanitizer when you can’t wash
    When a sink is not available, don’t skip cleaning your hands. Instead, use hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is not as effective as washing your hands, but it is a good stopgap measure.

    The hand sanitizer you use should be at least 60% alcohol to effectively kill germs. Apply it to your hands and rub it into your skin until it is dry.

    Washing your hands can help you avoid illness and the need to visit the emergency room or your physician for care. If you do get sick, Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks is here to help. You can get a referral to one of our doctors by calling (877) 888-5746.

  • 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.