• Do You Need Antibiotics When You’re Sick?

    For many years, doctors prescribed antibiotics generously for a range of conditions, including very minor cases of infections. The outcome has been antibiotic overuse and the appearance of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Although antibiotics can be an important part of treatment plans for many different conditions, taking them when they are not needed could be dangerous and leave you at risk for needing emergency care for an infection that won’t respond to medications. Before you get antibiotics for an illness, here is what you need to know about some of the risks of taking these medications unnecessarily and when antibiotics may be needed.

    Antibiotics increase resistant infections and cause side effects.
    When you take an antibiotic for a bacterial infection, the medication will cause most of the bacteria to die. However, some of the bacteria will inevitably survive, and these survivors can multiply and cause another infection that is made up of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A resistant infection can be dangerous and extremely costly to treat. Most people with antibiotic-resistant infections have to stay in the hospital, and their treatment costs more than $40,000 more than the treatment for normal bacterial infections.

    Antibiotics can cause side effects.
    Antibiotics can also be accompanied by serious side effects. Because they indiscriminately kill bacteria, taking antibiotics kills the good bacteria in the body that protect your health. When taking antibiotics, many people experience diarrhea, vomiting, vaginal infections, and dangerous allergic reactions. About 14,000 people die annually from diarrhea that is caused by taking antibiotics.

    Taking antibiotics only when needed reduces the risks.
    Antibiotics are only effective at treating bacterial infections, so don’t take them if you have a viral infection. Many bacterial infections will improve on their own within a few days with home treatment. Reserve antibiotic use for serious infections that aren’t responding to other remedies. Aggressive use of antibiotics may also be necessary in people with weakened immune systems. Often, antibiotic ointments and drops can be more effective than oral antibiotics for skin, ear, and eye infections.

    At Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center , we’re committed to providing the highest quality healthcare possible without the risk of unnecessary treatments. You can learn more about all of our hospital services, including emergency care, stroke care, and orthopedic surgery in Las Vegas, by calling (702) 880-2700.

  • How Do Emergency Medical Services Go Hand-in-Hand with Your Local ER?

    Whenever anyone dials 911, the first people on the scene are the emergency medical services, or EMS, team. EMS providers give emergency care before you even get to your local hospital, and they work closely with the staff of the ER to ensure that you get the highest level of care as quickly as possible in an emergency situation. If you or someone you love has ever been taken to the hospital by ambulance, then you know how important EMS teams are to medical care. Here is a closer look how the EMS team and ER providers work together.

    First-Response Care
    When EMS teams arrive on the scene of a medical emergency, they are the first ones to assess the patient and provide care. The interventions performed by the EMS team can often be life-saving and may allow the patient to make it to the hospital to receive further emergency care. During the time the EMS team is giving care on the scene and in the ambulance, they can communicate with the ER physicians as needed to make decisions about the kinds of treatments they should provide.

    Advance Notice
    EMS staff can give the ER providers information about the condition of the patient they are transporting to the hospital, so that they can get set up to give care right away. In instances in which providing emergency care as soon as possible is critical, such as during a heart attack or stroke, this advance notice can save valuable time that would otherwise be spent setting up and making arrangements for tests and medications when the patient is already on site, further delaying his or her care.

    Vital Signs Information
    In the ambulance, EMS providers can monitor the vital signs of patients and give that information to the ER physicians to help them make care decisions. They can also place IV lines that can be used to deliver medication quickly. These time-saving measures can also improve emergency care outcomes.

    The ER staff at Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center works closely with our local EMS providers to ensure that our patients get the best possible emergency care in Las Vegas . To find out more about our hospital or to request a referral to one of our physicians, please call (702) 880-2700.

  • Preventing Complications After Spine Surgery

    Before you have spine surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will review your recovery plan with you. The aim of the recovery plan will be to assist you in getting back to your normal activities as soon as possible and help you avoid complications. During your spinal surgery recovery, keep these tips in mind to reduce the risk of post-surgical complications that could harm your health and delay your recovery.

    Get Moving
    Many people are surprised by how soon their orthopedic surgeon wants them to get out of bed and walk, but moving around has a number of benefits during your spinal surgery recovery. When you walk, you build up strength in muscles that may have gotten weaker because of the pain you were experiencing before surgery. It also helps to get your blood pumping, which not only speeds healing nutrients to the surgical site but also reduces the risk of blood clots. Blood clots, including dangerous deep vein thrombosis clots, are a significant risk after surgery when many people spend an extended period of time immobile.

    Look to Your Lungs
    Respiratory infections are another risk after spine surgery. General anesthesia and pain medications can interfere with your ability to breathe normally, which can starve your blood of oxygen and interfere with your recovery. After surgery, your orthopedic surgeon may give you a spirometer to measure how you are breathing and help you monitor if your breathing is improving. The recovery team may also ask you to perform certain exercises, and they may prescribe medications if you have an infection.

    Know When to Call
    Be alert to the signs of post-surgical complications so you can call your orthopedic surgeon if you see them. As PA Carey Seip explains in this video , call your doctor if your wound becomes red, hot, swollen, or develops drainage. You should also call if you experience a fever, have trouble breathing, or have chest pain. Catching an infection in its early stages after surgery is important to avoiding worse complications.

    Your orthopedic surgeon in Las Vegas at Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center will help you prepare for spine surgery and will supervise your recovery to ensure that your procedure is a success. For a referral to one of our surgeons , please call (702) 880-2700.

  • 2017 Flu Season May Be Worst on Record

    Although it is never possible for experts to predict exactly what flu season will look like in any given year, the numbers so far indicate that the 2017 season may be the worst one on record. The number of people seeking emergency care for flu symptoms is high, which means it is more important than ever to get a flu shot.

    What exactly is flu season?
    The flu virus circulates throughout the year, but flu season is the period of time in which the U.S. experiences epidemic levels of flu infections. Typically, the peak period of flu season is between December and March, but it can start in October and may continue until May. It’s not possible to predict exactly when flu season will begin, because it depends on so many different factors, from the weather to the types of flu viruses that are circulating. Getting your flu vaccination early in the usual flu season is the best way to ensure you are protected when the viruses begin to circulate.

    What flu shots are available this year?
    For the 2016-2017 flu season, the vaccine is only available via injection. The nasal mist is not considered to be effective. The vaccine for this season protects against the viruses H1N1, H3N2, B/Yamagata lineage, and B/Victoria lineage. Experts believe that these strains of the virus will be most prevalent. Keep in mind that the flu virus may change and adapt over the course of the season, so although getting a flu shot drastically reduces your risk, you aren’t completely protected from contracting the flu.

    What should I do if I think I have the flu?
    Your physician can perform a flu test to make a definitive diagnosis. For most patients, simply waiting for the virus to pass is the best treatment. If you have a chronic medical condition that could be made worse by the flu, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to reduce the severity of the infection. If you experience symptoms such as chest pain or breathing difficulties, seek emergency care immediately.

    Our physicians and emergency care providers at Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center are ready to help your family get through flu season, whether you need a flu shot or ER care for a crisis. You can find out more about our hospital services by calling (702) 880-2700.