Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center
Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center is committed to providing the highest quality of care while serving the communities of southwest Las Vegas.

Why even healthy people need flu shots

The flu vaccine is safe and recommended for use in nearly everyone, with the exception of babies under six months and people with certain medical conditions. Unfortunately, many people neglect to get their annual flu shot, because they assume the illness won’t severely affect them. The emergency care doctors and nurses at Southern Hills Hospital have seen firsthand how unpleasant influenza can be, and since it can be fatal for some patients, we encourage our Las Vegas neighbors to get vaccinated.

The flu isn’t like having a cold
Unlike a cold, the symptoms of the flu usually develop rapidly. A cold might only slow you down a little, but the flu can send you to bed for a few days. Flu viruses can result in these symptoms:

  • High fever with chills
  • Severe fatigue
  • Headache
  • Severe muscle aches
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Decreased appetite

Of course, some people may only experience mild flu symptoms. However, since the flu is highly contagious, affected individuals should stay home from work and school to avoid infecting others.

The flu can cause complications that require hospitalization
In some people, the flu can cause life-threatening complications. Even if you’re generally healthy and have a robust immune system, an illness places you at a higher risk of dehydration. If you develop severe dehydration or you can’t keep fluids down, you’ll need emergency care.

Flu vaccines protect the entire community
As safe as the flu vaccine is, not everyone can get it. Infants under six months of age and people with certain life-threatening allergies are unable to get this vaccine. This means they are vulnerable to flu viruses circulating during any given year.

If you do contract the flu, you can easily spread the germs to others. Even if you only experience mild symptoms, the germs you transfer to your family, friends and neighbors might make them gravely ill. Getting vaccinated is an easy way to do your part for your community.

Preventive healthcare is a priority here at Southern Hills Hospital, but our emergency care providers are always here to help, just in case. If you have any concerns about the safety or effectiveness of vaccines, one of our providers will be happy to discuss them with you. To speak with a friendly member of our nursing staff in Las Vegas, call (702) 916-5023.

Don't get hurt by hard-to-open packaging this holiday season

So-called “wrap rage” affects countless people each holiday season. Hard-to-open packaging can be frustrating, especially when a child is getting impatient to play with a new toy. As a result, some people resort to unsafe methods of opening packaging, which can cause deep lacerations that require emergency care. If you do need medical attention this holiday season, the emergency care team at Southern Hills Hospital is here to help—although we sincerely hope you won’t have need of our services.

Look for opening indicators

Some manufacturers have responded to packaging frustrations by including opening indicators. Perforated lines or labels stating “Open Here” indicate that the plastic wrap should tear open easily at that location. Always check packages for opening indicators before resorting to scissors or a knife.

Take initial steps to prevent injuries

If plastic packaging is stubbornly resisting conventional opening techniques, take the item away from other people before using anything sharp on it. Place the item on a hard, flat surface—never hold it in your lap when using a sharp implement. Next, put on protective work gloves, just in case.

Use sharp tools safely

If you use a knife, remember to cut away from your body. Don’t place your other hand in the path of the implement.

If you use scissors, choose heavy-duty utility scissors that feature a blunt tip. Avoid completely extending the scissors and using just one blade, as this requires that you place your hand on the other blade.

Open clamshell packaging with a can opener

Clamshell packaging is that tough, seemingly indestructible plastic wrap that often houses expensive electronics. It’s intended to deter theft, but it’s resulted in plenty of emergency care visits.

Try opening it with a can opener instead of a knife or scissors. Place the can opener on the bottom edge of the package, and turn it until you get to the other side of the package.

And remember to stay calm. No matter how frustrating plastic packaging can be, dealing with it calmly is preferable to spending your holidays receiving stitches.

If injuries do affect your family, the emergency care doctors at Southern Hills Hospital are available day or night, every day of the year. Serious medical problems don’t take time off for the holidays, and so we don’t, either. Call 911 for true medical emergencies, or call a registered nurse in Las Vegas at (702) 916-5023 for non-emergent inquiries only.

Know the signs of appendicitis

Appendicitis is a medical emergency that occurs when a blockage forms inside the appendix. If left untreated, the blockage can cause the appendix to burst, which can lead to a serious, potentially life-threatening infection. If you experience the symptoms of appendicitis, it’s important to seek emergency care right away to get a diagnosis. If your physician diagnoses you with appendicitis, you may need surgery to remove the appendix. Here is a look at some of the most common symptoms.

Abdominal pain
Abdominal pain is usually the first symptom of appendicitis. Typically, the pain starts near your belly button and progressively gets more intense. The pain usually radiates lower and to the right as the blockage becomes worse, usually within a few hours.

The pain associated with appendicitis can be very intense. It may happen without warning and is usually strong enough to wake you from your sleep. You may notice that the pain gets worse when you sneeze or cough.

Constipation or diarrhea
Appendicitis can cause both constipation and diarrhea. You may have the overwhelming feeling that having a bowel movement would alleviate your pain, but it does not. You may also feel like you have pressure in your abdomen from trapped gas but that you are unable to pass it.

Other intestinal problems may occur as well. Your abdomen may swell, and you may experience nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

Low-grade fever
Appendicitis causes widespread inflammation that can trigger a low-grade fever, although not everyone with appendicitis will have one. If you have a fever that spikes alongside appendicitis symptoms, it is especially important to seek emergency care. An increasing fever could indicate that infection is spreading in your body, which requires fast treatment.

Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center provides emergency care around the clock for all of your emergency medical needs, from appendicitis symptoms to accidental injuries. We also provide emergency care in Las Vegas at our ER at The Lakes facility . You can learn more about our emergency medical services by calling (702) 916-5023.

How will exercise fit into your diabetes treatment plan?

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, exercise will play a central role in your treatment plan. Being physically active can help you avoid many of the complications that are associated with diabetes and will help to keep your weight in check. Here is a look at some of the ways you can use exercise as part of your diabetes treatment plan.

Lower your blood glucose levels

Being physically active can help to lower your blood glucose levels and help you maintain good blood glucose control. If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be able to manage your blood glucose without medication using diet and exercise, under the guidance of your physician. Anyone with diabetes can reap the benefits of better blood glucose control by exercising.

Be sure to check your blood glucose before you exercise to prevent hypoglycemia. If you have type 1 diabetes and are experiencing high blood glucose with ketones, don’t exercise unless your physician says it is okay. Exercising when ketones are present in the blood can make blood glucose spike even higher in type 1 diabetics.

Maintain a healthy weight

With both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, maintaining a healthy weight is important. Excess weight impacts your body’s ability to use insulin effectively, which exacerbates the symptoms of type 2 diabetes and forces type 1 diabetics to have to take increasing insulin doses to maintain their blood glucose levels.

Although people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin for life, people with type 2 diabetes are sometimes able to stop or reduce their medications if they lose weight.

Boost your circulation

Diabetes can cause damage to your blood vessels that interfere with blood flow. By exercising, you can make your blood flow more efficiently. Healthy blood flow will reduce the risk of many diabetes complications, including heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and kidney damage.

Before you start a new exercise regimen, schedule an appointment with your physician at Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center to make sure it is safe for you. Do you need a physician in Las Vegas to help you improve your diabetes management? Contact our hospital today at (702) 916-5023.

How far can quitting smoking go for your health?

Are you ready to take one of the biggest steps you can take for better health? If so, it’s time to give up smoking. Smoking impacts every part of your body, and giving it up has the same kind of far-reaching effects. Every minute that you are not smoking decreases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and much more. Here is a closer look at how quitting smoking can impact your health.

Healthier lungs
As mentioned in the video, some forms of lung damage are not curable, but giving up smoking still improves your lung health. When you stop smoking, you can prevent further scarring of your lungs, your cilia grow back and being to function normally, and you may be able to prevent COPD.

If you already have lung disease, giving up your cigarettes can slow its progression and make your symptoms less severe. You may notice that you actually cough more right after you give up cigarettes—that is a sign of your lungs healing.

Healthier heart
No other risk factor is responsible for more heart disease and more heart attacks than smoking. When you quit, your risk of having a heart attack will decrease within 24 hours, and it will keep getting lower the longer you go without smoking. Quitting improves your heart health in a number of ways, including:

  • Thinner blood that moves through your blood vessels easier—this reduces the amount of stress on your heart and cuts your chances of heart attacks and strokes
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure

Healthier body
Giving up smoking causes dramatic changes throughout your body. Here are just a few of the impacts you can expect:

  • Better hearing
  • Reduced belly fat—which means a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Normal estrogen levels
  • Fewer episodes of erectile dysfunction
  • Clearer skin
  • Stronger bones
  • Lower risk of cancer

Quitting is hard, but your doctor can help. Contact Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas and request a referral to one of our physicians. We can help you kick the habit for good and enjoy a healthier life. Call us today at (702) 916-5023 for more information.

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