Viral hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver. The infection can cause symptoms like jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain and nausea. Your doctor may recommend that you be tested for hepatitis if you’re experiencing these symptoms. Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms, however, you may be a good candidate for hepatitis screening. A doctor at Southern Hills Hospital can offer personalized recommendations for you based on your health history and risk factors.
Getting blood drawn
Hepatitis is detected with a blood test. This lab test checks for the presence of antibodies that your body will produce if you’ve been exposed to a hepatitis virus. For most people, getting blood drawn is a routine procedure.
However, some people have trouble handling needles. If you’re nervous about getting blood drawn, tell your provider. He or she can take steps to make it as easy and stress-free as possible for you, such as by:
- Using a smaller needle
- Using a skin numbing medication
- Talking you through the blood draw
- Reminding you to breathe naturally
Determining if you should get screened
Not everyone needs to get screened for hepatitis. Your doctor will determine if a blood test is a good idea for you, based on your health history, risk factors and lifestyle issues.
Age can also play a role. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all adults born from 1945 through 1965 get tested at least once for hepatitis C . This is true regardless of their individual risk factors.
Additionally, your doctor may recommend a hepatitis screening if any of the following apply to you.
- Have previous or current injected drug use
- Have an HIV infection
- Are pregnant
- Were born in or have traveled to certain areas of the world
- Did not receive hepatitis vaccines
- Are a man who has had sex with other men
Children born to mothers who were diagnosed with hepatitis should also get screened.
Southern Hills Hospital provides comprehensive and specialty medical services with a “patients first” philosophy. No matter what health challenges life brings your way, we’re here to help. Call our state-of-the-art hospital in Las Vegas at (702) 916-5023 if you’d like more information about our services.
Older adults and their caregivers need to be particularly vigilant when the summer heat strikes Las Vegas. Seniors tend to be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses because their bodies can’t regulate temperature as well. Seniors are also more likely to take medications and have medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to heat stresses . Here at Southern Hills Hospital, we’re deeply concerned about the health of our elderly neighbors in Las Vegas. Please don’t hesitate to seek emergency care if you’re concerned about heat-related illnesses.
Checking on the elderly during the summer
Family members, friends and caretakers of elderly individuals should check on them every day when the weather is hot. During very hot weather, seniors should be checked on at least twice daily.
During each check-in, the friend or caregiver should consider whether the temperature in the home is moderate and whether the individual is drinking enough water. They should also watch out for the potential signs of heat-related illnesses, such as the following.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- High temperature
- Rapid pulse
The most severe type of heat-related illness is heatstroke . It always requires emergency care, as it can be life-threatening. Call 911 if you notice these possible signs of heatstroke:
- Blurry vision
- Temperature over 105 degrees Fahrenheit
- Lack of sweating
- Pale, dry skin
- Rapid heartbeat and breathing
Keeping the home cool
Air conditioners are the most effective way to keep a senior’s home cool and comfortable. Fans do not cool down a room, and will not help prevent heat-related illnesses.
If your senior loved one’s home lacks air conditioning, offer to install a window unit for him or her. You can also bring your loved one to an air conditioned building, such as a:
- Shopping center
- Movie theater
- Public cooling center
- Senior center
Seniors need to drink more fluids during hot weather, but it’s often hard for them to tell when they’re thirsty. Encourage your senior loved one to stay hydrated by:
- Offering water-rich fruits (pears, watermelon or cantaloupe)
- Offering frozen grapes as a snack
- Squeezing lemon or lime into a glass of ice water
- Making homemade popsicles
Please call 911 right away if you or a loved one could be suffering from life-threatening heatstroke. The emergency care team at Southern Hills Hospital brings together in-depth expertise, high-tech medical equipment and a compassionate, patient-centered approach. Non-emergent questions about our hospital services in Las Vegas may be directed to a registered nurse at (702) 916-5023.