Good Samaritan Hospital
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What to do if you're bitten by a snake

More than two dozen species of snakes make their home in California. Several of the snakes you might see in the San Jose area are venomous, including the Western diamondback rattlesnake and Mojave Desert sidewinder. A bite from a snake that might be venomous is a serious problem that requires emergency care. In San Jose, the emergency care team at Good Samaritan Hospital is fully equipped to handle all medical emergencies, including snake bites.

Remain calm

As frightening as a snake bite can be, it’s important to stay calm. After getting away from the snake, remain as still as possible. Excessive movement can encourage the spread of venom through your body.

Take a picture of the snake

When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear from an emergency care physician at Good Samaritan Hospital. He explains that it’s a good idea to take a picture of the snake, but warns against putting yourself in further danger. If you can’t safely take a picture, skip this step and instead try to remember what the snake looks like.

Seek emergency care

If you aren’t sure whether the snake is venomous, it’s best to err on the side of caution and seek emergency care. Call 911 instead of trying to drive to the hospital. Snake venom can compromise your ability to drive safely, such as by causing the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness

  • Vision disturbances

  • Numbness

  • Vomiting

  • Breathing problems

Initiate first aid for the snake bite

While you’re waiting for the ambulance, you can sit or lie down. However, it’s important to keep the bitten body part below the level of your heart. If you have a clean, dry cloth or bandage, you can cover the bite.

Know what not to do after a snake bite

Knowing what not to do for a snake bite is just as important as knowing what to do. Do not do any of the following:

  • Don’t apply a tourniquet

  • Don’t suck out the venom

  • Don’t apply ice

  • Don’t soak the wound in water

  • Don’t consume alcohol or caffeinated beverages

If you have any doubts about what you should or shouldn’t do, the 911 dispatcher can help you.

Talking to your cardiovascular nurse about your blood pressure

The year 2017 has been declared the “Year of the Healthy Nurse” by the American Nurses Association. At Good Samaritan Hospital, we’re celebrating National Nurses Week, which is May 6-12 this year. This awareness week is an excellent opportunity to recognize the many ways nurses promote superior cardiac care. As an essential member of your cardiac care team, your nurse can work one-on-one with you to help you manage your blood pressure.

Ask about blood pressure fluctuations

Each time you go to the hospital for a check-up, your cardiac care nurse will take your blood pressure. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, such as:

  • Is my blood pressure within a healthy range?

  • Is my blood pressure different from my last visit?

  • Could normal fluctuations be causing my high blood pressure?

This last question can be important because blood pressure does normally fluctuate slightly throughout the day. It also changes in response to factors like your stress level and physical activity. Let your cardiac care nurse know if you were rushing to get to your appointment, are under a great deal of stress or recently had a cup of coffee.

Share concerns about your medications

Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for cardiac patients to stop taking their prescribed medication. The reasons for this include troublesome side effects, high medication costs and confusion about dosages.

Let your nurse know if you haven’t been taking your blood pressure medicine as prescribed. Nurses are excellent problem-solvers. He or she can help you overcome any challenges you might be facing.

Talk about your lifestyle

One of the ways your nurse can help you manage your blood pressure is by connecting you to the resources and information you need to lead a healthy lifestyle. You probably already know that, in general, eating well and exercising are important for blood pressure regulation. But the specifics of a healthy lifestyle can sometimes be confusing.

Your cardiovascular nurse can help you with the following issues:

  • Calculating daily sodium intake

  • Understanding the guidelines for alcohol intake

  • Staying active while traveling

  • Overcoming nicotine cravings

  • Overcoming a sweet tooth

  • Estimating portion sizes

Consider bringing a notebook to your appointment to help you keep track of the helpful information your nurse provides.

When looking for cardiac care, more patients in Santa Clara County choose Good Samaritan Hospital than any other community hospital. We continually invest in the latest medical technology, and our skilled nursing team offers an unparalleled level of personalized care. To request a referral to a cardiac care specialist in San Jose, call our nurse referral line at (888) 724-2362.

Testicular cancer: Screenings and symptoms

When testicular cancer is diagnosed before it has spread to other areas of the body, the prognosis is usually quite favorable. Unfortunately, many men don’t know how to recognize the potential signs of testicular cancer and they may delay seeking medical care. Here at Good Samaritan Hospital, our cancer care team is dedicated to giving our patients the best possible outcome. During Testicular Cancer Awareness Month this April, we encourage men throughout San Jose to become better informed about their risk factors, and the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer.

Screening for testicular cancer

Health screenings are intended to find medical problems as early as possible. These exams and tests are performed when patients do not have symptoms. Health screening recommendations differ from one organization to the next, and they are subject to revision. For instance, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend routine screenings for testicular cancer, but the American Cancer Society does. Consider asking your doctor if you should be screened regularly based on your risk factors. Men may also choose to do regular self-exams. Your doctor can explain how to perform a self-exam.

Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer

If you notice any abnormalities of the testes, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. Most often, testicular cancer produces a painless lump on a testicle. Other signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Enlargement of one testicle
  • Aching pain in the scrotum or lower belly
  • Early puberty in boys
  • Breast enlargement
  • Breast soreness

Signs of metastasized cancer

When cancer has spread beyond its point of origin, it is said to have metastasized. The symptoms of advanced cancer will vary, depending on the specific areas the cancer affects. Here’s a look at some of the possible areas and their associated symptoms:

  • Lungs: Shortness of breath, chest pain
  • Brain: Headaches, confusion
  • Liver: Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal lymph nodes: Low back pain

Your doctor should know about all of your symptoms, even if they don’t seem to be related to each other.

For cutting-edge cancer treatment technology, caring specialists and private cancer treatment areas, look no further than the Comprehensive Cancer Care program at Good Samaritan Hospital. Our dedicated Oncology Unit goes above and beyond to give you the care you deserve. Call a nurse in San Jose at (888) 724-2362 or visit us online to read about our exclusive patient amenities, including our health library, massage services, music and guided imagery.

What does stress do to your health?

Juggling work responsibilities, family obligations, financial matters and social commitments can become overwhelming. Chronic stress can negatively affect your mental and physical health, including your cardiac health. For many people, stress seems to be an inevitable part of life—but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can regain control with the resources available at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose. The specialists at our hospital offer superior care for those in need of behavioral health services and cardiac care.

Behavioral health

Chronic stress is closely linked to some mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety disorders. Although stress is separate from these disorders, experiencing chronic stress may increase your risk of developing them. Stress can affect your behavioral health in other ways, such as by increasing the risk of substance abuse. Some people self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, but this only worsens the problem and may even lead to an emergency visit to the hospital.

Heart health

The cardiovascular system is comprised of the heart and blood vessels. It is highly susceptible to the effects of stress. Short-term stress causes the heart rate and blood pressure levels to rise. When the stressful situation is over, the cardiovascular system returns to normal. Unfortunately, chronic stress can take a heavy toll on the heart and blood vessels. Long-term stress can contribute to the following problems:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Artery wall damage

A person’s heart health can suffer even more when stress causes the following behaviors:

  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Consuming alcohol to excess
  • Neglecting to exercise
  • Neglecting to eat well

Gastrointestinal system

You may have noticed that when you’re especially stressed out, your stomach responds in an unpleasant way. Stress can contribute to the following gastrointestinal problems:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain

If you respond to stress by overeating or by consuming alcohol, you may be more susceptible to severe heartburn pain.

At Good Samaritan Hospital, it’s our mission to help our neighbors in San Jose live life well. We’re proud to offer community resources to support your health, including our mindfulness-based stress reduction program, which has helped hundreds of people in our community. Call a registered nurse at our hospital at (888) 724-2362 to request general information about our medical specialties.

How many lives could you save as an organ donor?

Giving the gift of life is a priceless way to serve others. When an organ donor dies, his or her organs could be used to save the lives of eight other people and enhance the lives of over 100 people. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough organ donors on the donor registry, and most organ donors do not die in a manner that allows for organ donation. The need is critical and ongoing. This April is National Donate Life Month. The emergency care team at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose encourages our neighbors to consider joining the organ donor registry.

Facts about organ donation

Since 1988, surgeons have performed more than 650,000 organ transplants in the U.S. alone. This highly specialized type of surgery does more than save lives. It gives hope to the families of patients who face deadly diseases. There is a critical need for more people to sign up as organ donors. Here are the basic statistics, according to the American Transplant Foundation:

  • About 120,000 people are waiting for organs.
  • Another person joins the waiting list every 10 minutes.
  • Every day, 22 people die while waiting for organs.

Reasons to become an organ donor

Registered organ donors usually sign up because they feel it’s important to serve others. Some people join after a loved one is diagnosed with an organ disease. If you’re not quite sure if you should become an organ donor, consider talking to your doctor about this issue. You’ll learn that organ donors receive the same medical attention as non-donors in emergency situations. There are only a few medical conditions that can disqualify you from donating. In many cases, even if one or two organs are unsuitable for transplant, other organs could still save lives.

Organs that can be transplanted

Many organs and tissues can be successfully transplanted into an at-need patient. After death, you may be able to save others with the following organs:

  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Kidneys
  • Intestines

Tissues that can be transplanted

Hundreds of thousands of lives are improved every year thanks to tissue donors. Burn victims can receive skin grafts, cancer patients can receive bone material and heart disease patients can receive donated heart valves. Corneas, connective tissue and veins can also be donated.

For superior, patient-centered care in all of life’s stages, your family can turn to the trusted providers at Good Samaritan Hospital. We are privileged to serve the San Jose community with specialized medical services, including cardiac care, maternity healthcare and emergency care. Call a nurse at our hospital at (888) 724-2362.

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