Good Samaritan Hospital
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Why is hand washing so much more important during flu season?

Flu viruses cause many of the same symptoms as colds, but influenza can be much more serious. Some patients are more susceptible to severe symptoms and potentially life-threatening complications. At Good Samaritan Hospital, we emphasize the value of preventive care for our neighbors in San Jose, and that includes reducing the spread of disease-causing germs with thorough hand washing.

The flu vaccine is effective, but not foolproof

To get ready for every flu season, virus experts identify the strains of flu virus that are most likely to be widespread in the U.S. Seasonal flu shots are developed and manufactured to protect families from these flu viruses.

Doctors recommend an annual flu shot because it’s the most effective way to avoid this serious illness. However, because the shot can’t protect patients from every possible strain of flu virus, it isn’t 100 percent foolproof. This is why emergency care doctors encourage families to continue to protect themselves in other ways, such as by washing their hands frequently.

Viruses can live outside the human body

If a person sneezes into his or her hand, you probably wouldn’t shake that hand. This is a smart way to protect yourself, but it’s still possible to contract the flu even if you avoid direct contact with sick individuals.

Flu viruses can remain active and infectious on surfaces for up to 24 hours. If an infected person opens a door and you touch the doorknob afterward, you could get these germs on your hand. In addition to washing your hands regularly, consider routinely disinfecting commonly touched surfaces in your home and workstation, such as the following:

  • Phones
  • Doorknobs
  • Refrigerator handles
  • TV remotes
  • Light switches
  • Computer devices

Hand washing protects yourself and others

When you choose to wash your hands frequently during flu season, you’re protecting your family and the community as a whole, as well as yourself. This is significant because some people are unable to safely get the flu shot, such as infants under six months of age and individuals with life-threatening egg allergies. Doing your part to reduce germ transmission is one way you can keep your neighbors safe.

Good Samaritan Hospital delivers patient-centered emergency care around the clock, every day of the year. Our compassionate doctors and nurses are committed to maintaining the highest standards of infection control in our hospital in San Jose. For information about our healthcare services, you can speak with a registered nurse at (888) 724-2362.


Are non-smokers still at risk for lung disease?

Although lung disease is often thought of as being a smoker’s problem, non-smokers can and do suffer from a variety of different conditions. Smokers still have much higher risks of being diagnosed with lung conditions, but being a non-smoker doesn’t mean you can ignore your lung health. Here is a look at some of the conditions non-smokers can still develop.

COPD
COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It encompasses both chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The vast majority of people with COPD are smokers, but as the video explains, non-smokers are still vulnerable.

There are many factors that increase the risk of COPD in non-smokers, such as:

  • Occupational hazards, such as being routinely exposed to chemical fumes and dust
  • Secondhand smoke exposure
  • Genetic predisposition
  • GERD—Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Air pollution

Lung cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, about 20% of people who die from lung cancer are non-smokers. Based on the number of non-smokers who lose their lives to the disease, lung cancer would still be among the deadliest cancers if only non-smoker statistics were considered.

Many of the same risk factors that increase the odds of COPD also increase the risk of lung cancer, especially secondhand smoke. Some other factors that have been associated with lung cancer in non-smokers include:

  • Radon Gas
  • Asbestos
  • Gene Mutations

Pulmonary fibrosis
Pulmonary fibrosis is an interstitial lung disease that causes scarring in the lungs and the thickening of pulmonary passageways. These changes make it difficult for oxygen to get the blood stream, which causes chronic shortness of breath.

Risk factors for non-smokers for pulmonary fibrosis are similar to COPD and lung cancer. People with these autoimmune conditions also have a greater chance of developing pulmonary fibrosis:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Scleroderma
  • Progressive systemic sclerosis
  • Polymyositis/dermatomyositis

With all forms of lung disease, early diagnosis leads to better outcomes. If you believe you could have a lung condition, contact Good Samaritan Hospital for a referral to a specialist. Our hospital in San Jose offers comprehensive care, including lung cancer screenings and cancer care. Dial (888) 724-2362 for a referral.


The least healthy Thanksgiving dishes on your table

Thanksgiving Day is packed with delicious foods, and if you’re trying to maintain a healthy diet or watch your waistline, that can make sitting around the table tricky. Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice all the things you love if you’re aware of which dishes carry the most calories, fats, and sugar so you can fill up your plate wisely. These dishes are some of the worst options that traditionally get served on Thanksgiving, so think twice before reaching for them or take a smaller portion if you can’t give them up.

Fried turkey

Fried turkey is not only bad for your health—it can also leave you celebrating Thanksgiving in the ER. Frying the turkey is unnecessary, since roasted turkey is already a beloved dish. Frying mishaps are also notorious for causing house fires and severe burns that need emergency care.

If you decide to skip frying your turkey, choose your roasted turkey meat wisely. You can save a significant amount of calories by eating white meat and removing the skin.

Candied sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet, so the addition of brown sugar and marshmallows isn’t really required to get the taste. Add to that the fact that many candied sweet potato recipes also have pecans and lots of butter, and you can see how the calories and fats skyrocket.

You can bring out the sweetness of roasted sweet potatoes by drizzling them with balsamic vinegar or maple syrup before roasting or adding a touch of honey and cinnamon before serving.

Pumpkin cheesecake

Pumpkin pie is usually considered to be the healthiest of the traditional Thanksgiving dessert, but changing it into a cheesecake changes that. Adding cream cheese significantly increases the fat and calories.

For a better option, go for plain pumpkin pie or a fruit-based pie. Fruit crisps using seasonal fruits can also be a healthier choice.

Good Samaritan Hospital is here around the clock throughout the holiday season to ensure that your celebrations stay as healthy as possible. Visit us if you need emergency care in San Jose or contact us for a referral to one of our specialists if your health takes hit during the holidays. To contact our hospital, please call (888) 724-2362.

How your heart health affects your Alzheimer's risk

You know that living a heart-healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, but did you know it could also reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease? Your heart and brain health are closely linked, and following the advice of your cardiac care specialist to protect your heart could also protect your brain. Here is what you need to know.

How are the heart and the brain linked?
Although you can’t feel your brain working like you can feel your heart pumping, your brain is an extremely active organ. About 20% of the blood that your heart pumps goes directly to your brain to provide the cells there with food and oxygen.

If your heart doesn’t pump efficiently or if the blood vessels in the brain aren’t healthy, then the cells in your brain could be starved of the oxygen and nutrients they need. This lack of blood flow can lead to acute issues like strokes, and can also contribute to long-term brain health problems, including Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

How can I improve my heart and brain health?
There are several lifestyle adjustments that you can make to improve the health of your heart and brain. These ideas can help:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. People who are obese during middle age have twice the risk of developing dementia in their senior years.
  • Monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure. High cholesterol and high blood pressure can lead to a six times higher risk of dementia.
  • Exercise for 30 minutes on most days.
  • Eat a diet low in saturated fats, sodium, and cholesterol.
  • Don’t smoke, and quit if you do. Your physician can help.
  • Manage your blood glucose levels. Diabetes can dramatically increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Good Samaritan Hospital is pleased to provide world-class neurology and cardiac care in San Jose to help patients achieve and maintain good heart and brain health. To make an appointment with one of our specialists, please call (888) 724-2362.


Staying prepared to bring your child to the ER

No parent relishes the idea of getting emergency care for their child, but being prepared for ER visits can help to take some of the stress out of the event. The last thing you want to do in the midst of a medical emergency is search for things you need to take to the hospital. Follow these tips for preparedness so that you will be ready to react quickly should your child need emergency care.

Know where to find a pediatric ER
Although you will want to take your child to the closet ER in a medical emergency, taking them to a pediatric ER can be beneficial for their care, if there is time. Knowing where the pediatric ERs are in your area will mean you won’t have to search for one if an emergency occurs. Some of the advantages of pediatric ERs include:

  • Physicians and nurses who are trained in pediatric health issues
  • Healthcare team members who are used to dealing with young patients
  • Child-sized equipment that make exams more comfortable

Maintain a list of medications
Keep an updated list of your child’s medications on hand. The list should include the name of each medication, when he or she began taking it, and what dosage he or she takes. Having this list ready will reduce the amount of time the ER team has to spend finding out your child’s medical history.

Many parents find it helpful to keep this list in their phones. Ideally, keep one of these lists for each member of your family so that you are prepared whenever anyone needs emergency care.

Provide treatment at home
It is acceptable to give your child over-the-counter medication at home before you go to the ER. Doing so could make the process of diagnosing and treating your child easier in the emergency room.

Be sure to note the time and dosage you give your child, so that you can give the ER team accurate information.

At Good Samaritan Hospital, we have a dedicated ER just for kids who need emergency care in San Jose, including a NICU and PICU for kids who need to be admitted for complex conditions. To get answers to your questions about our pediatric hospital services, please dial (888) 724-2362.


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