• Is It Safe to Drive While You’re Pregnant?

    When most women think about being in the car when pregnant, they think about the rush to the maternity hospital when labor begins and not about their runs to the grocery store and work during their pregnancies. In reality, driving while you are pregnant can carry some extra risks. Fortunately, the power to reduce your chances of having an accident is in your hands. Get the facts about driving while pregnant and how you can protect yourself and your baby.

    Driving Dangers During Pregnancy
    The reason that maternity doctors are concerned about the risk of driving during pregnancy is the results of a Canadian study that show that the chances of having an auto accident increases by about 42% during the second trimester of pregnancy. Accident risk remains about the same as before pregnancy during the first trimester and normalizes again in the third trimester. After labor and delivery, a woman’s chance of having a car accident falls lower than it was before becoming a mother.

    Reasons for Second-Trimester Accidents
    Although the study did not look at reasons for an increased number of accidents during the second trimester, doctors have their suspicions. During this period, hormonal changes can cause intense fatigue, nausea, stress, and brain fog. As a result, reaction times can be delayed and driver distraction becomes an issue. During this time, women have about the same risk of an accident as someone with sleep apnea.

    Ways to Reduce Accident Risk
    Although the hormonal changes that occur during the second trimester of pregnancy are unavoidable, there are things mothers-to-be can do to cut their chances of having problems behind the wheel. Just being aware of the risk can help you to be more careful on the road. Pay attention to how you’re feeling, and if you’re fatigued or feeling unwell, don’t drive.

    At Good Samaritan Hospital we provide comprehensive maternity care, including labor and delivery , in San Jose. Find out what it is like to have your baby in our birthing center by calling (888) 724-2362 or schedule a tour of our birth suites.

  • How Are Eye Injuries Treated in the ER?

    Eye injuries always have the potential to be serious, so you should seek emergency care when one occurs, even if it seems minor. If you delay treatment, you run the risk of damaging the eye further and causing long-term complications. Here is a look at some common eye emergencies and how they are treated in the ER.

    Corneal Abrasion
    Corneal abrasions occur when the cornea is scratched by a foreign object in the eye, poorly fitting contacts, chemical exposure, or excessive rubbing. When an abrasion occurs, you may experience pain, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and a persistent feeling that you have something stuck in your eye. In the ER, the doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointments to prevent infection. You may also need eye drops to ease the pain, and if you are having problems with light sensitivity, your doctor may tape your eye. As your eye heals, avoid wearing contacts and rubbing your eyes.

    Orbital Blowout Fracture
    An orbital blowout fracture occurs when one or more of the bones of the obit that protects the eye and holds it in position are broken. Typically, this kind of fracture occurs when something hits the eye with force. Blowout fractures can be serious and need immediate emergency care. If you are not experiencing any vision problems and the fracture is minor, the doctor may prescribe decongestants to reduce the backup of blood and other fluids in the sinuses and steroids to reduce swelling. If the fracture is severe or if you are having any vision difficulties, you will need surgery to repair the injury.

    Iritis refers to inflammation of the iris. It can occur as the result of an injury, such as a poke in the eye, or because of an underlying medical condition. If you have iritis, you may experience significant pain, blurry vision, and headaches. Iritis is typically treated with medicated eyedrops that reduce inflammation and reduce muscle spasm so that the iris can heal. Treating any underlying condition that is contributing to the iritis can also help.

    When you need emergency care in San Jose, choose Good Samaritan Hospital . We provide emergency care for patients of all ages around the clock with access to the full scope of our hospital services. To learn more, please call (888) 724-2362.

  • What Are Some Common Causes of Skin Allergies?

    There are a number of different triggers for skin allergies , and these vary from person-to-person. In some cases, these reactions can be easily managed at home, while in other cases, emergency care may be necessary. Here is a closer look at some common skin allergies triggers and what you should do if you experience symptoms.

    Poison ivy is the plant most people think of when they think of skin rashes, but a number of plants contain oils that can cause allergic reactions in some people. Plants can cause raised and flat rashes, sores that weep, itching, and blisters. These types of rashes are often made worse when people touch them and then touch another part of the body, spreading the irritating oils. These kinds of skin rashes are often manageable at home, but if the face is affected, the rash is painful or has bumps that appear infected, or covers a large portion of the body, seek emergency care. As Dr. David Feldman of Good Samaritan Hospital explains in this video , you should get emergency care any time you are concerned about the symptoms of an allergic reaction, even if you aren’t sure how serious it is.

    If you have a food allergy, exposure to the allergen could cause skin symptoms. Hives and skin rashes are most common with food allergies, and they are generally in response to eggs, milk, nuts, shellfish, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, and soy. Food allergies can be especially serious, as they can lead to anaphylaxis, so seek emergency care if you experience a reaction.

    Sometimes, a medication can cause a skin allergy. Topical medications are common culprits, but oral medications can also be to blame. These kinds of skin allergies can include rashes and hives. As with food allergies, the reactions can be serious and may require medical care.

    Don’t suffer in silence with a skin allergy or other allergic reactions. Visit the ER at Good Samaritan Hospital for acute care or call our hospital in San Jose to get a referral to an allergy specialist for chronic conditions. You can reach out hospital by calling (888) 724-2362.

  • Spotlight on Dog Walking Injuries and How to Avoid Them

    Walking your dog is great for your cardiovascular health, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and is fun for both you and your pooch. However, walking your dog can also end in a trip to the ER if you fall victim to any of a number of common dog walking injuries. Here is a look on some of the common ways people get injured when walking their dogs and what you can do to reduce your risk of needing emergency care .

    Common Dog Walking Injuries
    Many dog walking injuries are caused by the leash. Retractable leashes are particularly problematic. The cord portion of these leashes moves very fast and can cause cuts and even finger amputations. People often experience friction burns from the cords as well. For any kind of leash, the risk of getting tangled in the leash and falling is also high and can cause falls that lead to orthopedic injuries. Dogs who pull on the leash can also drag walkers down, causing lacerations, facial injuries, and broken bones. Tendon and ligament strains and tears, sprains, and shoulder dislocations are all possible when you walk your dog as well.

    Ways to Reduce the Risk of Injury
    You can dramatically reduce the chances of suffering from an injury and needing emergency care on a dog walk with a few simple steps. First, walk with your dog, rather than riding on a bike, skateboard, or rollerblades while holding the leash. Always go out in sturdy shoes that are appropriate for the terrain and the weather. Don’t wrap the leash around your hand multiple times, which could lead to a spiral fracture if your dog pulls too hard. Pass on retractable leashes and instead walk you dog on a shorter leash that gives you more control and is less likely to make you trip. These strategies will ensure that walking your dog is healthy for you and your pet , instead of dangerous.

    If an injury does occur, you can get emergency care in San Jose any time of the day or night at Good Samaritan Hospital. You can learn more about our hospital services or request a referral to a specialist by calling (888) 724-2362.

  • Be Aware of the Signs of Stroke

    A stroke occurs when the blood flow to part of the brain is disrupted, either because of a clogged blood vessel or a blood vessel that has burst. Emergency care is essential for someone experiencing a stroke, as brain tissue dies every second that passes without medical intervention. By being aware of the symptoms, you can act quickly if you or someone you know suffers a stroke. If you notice these signs, call 911 immediately.

    Face Drooping
    During a stroke, it is common for one side of the face to droop or become immobile. The face may also feel numb on one side. If you suspect someone is having a stroke, ask him or her to smile. If the smile appears lopsided, then a stroke could be to blame. Eyes may also be affected. Someone experiencing a stroke may have sudden vision difficulties or may have one eyelid that droops.

    Arm Weakness
    It is common for one side of the body to become weak and numb during a stroke. This symptom may affect the entire side of the body, or it may only impact the arm. An easy way to test for this symptom is to ask the person who you think is having a stroke to raise his or her arms upward. If one arm drifts downward while the other arm stays up, then a stroke is possible.

    Speech Difficulty
    Because a stroke may impact the part of the brain that is responsible for speech, someone experiencing a stroke may have trouble speaking and may slur his or her words. If you think someone could be having a stroke, ask him or her to repeat a simple sentence. Slurring or uttering a nonsensical response when repeating the sentence back to you can indicate a stroke.

    Good Samaritan Hospital was one of the first Joint Commission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Centers in the nation, and we treat one of the highest volumes of stroke patients in the country each year. From emergency care in San Jose to inpatient treatment by our multidisciplinary stroke team, we provide the critical treatment patients need when every second counts. Call us today at (888) 724-2362 for more information.

  • How Are Arrhythmias Treated?

    If you are diagnosed with an arrhythmia, one of the first decisions you will make with your cardiac care specialist is whether to treat it. Many arrhythmias are not dangerous and may not require any treatment beyond monitoring. However, if your arrhythmia is causing symptoms or could put you at risk for further health problems, your cardiac care doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Here are some of the strategies that can be used for managing arrhythmias.

    A number of different medications can be used to treat arrhythmias, including calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, and anticoagulants. If you have a cardiac emergency, these drugs can be administered intravenously, or you may take them orally indefinitely to manage your condition. To determine if your medications are working, your doctor may monitor your heart using an electrocardiogram or a 24-hour Holter monitor. Although medications can be effective, they also carry the risk of side effects, including the emergence of new arrhythmias.

    Radiofrequency Ablation
    Radiofrequency ablation involves the use of radio waves to destroy tissue. As Good Samaritan Hospital cardiologist Dr. Matt Levy discusses in this video , ablation can be used to remove tissue in the heart that is triggering an arrhythmia. Once the tissue is gone, the arrhythmia should be permanently resolved.

    Implantable Devices
    Both pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) can be used to treat arrhythmias. These devices are implanted in the body and constantly monitor the electrical activity in the heart. If an arrhythmia is detected, the device can automatically deliver a signal that corrects and normalizes the heartbeat. The device can also store information about corrections it makes, so your cardiac care specialists can see how your heart is functioning over the course of your treatment.

    At Good Samaritan Hospital , we offer comprehensive cardiac care in San Jose for patients with a range of diagnostic and treatment needs. To find out more about our cardiac care program or to request a referral to one of our specialists, please call (888) 724-2362.

  • Pregnancy Care for Women with Congenital Heart Disease

    If you have congenital heart disease, it doesn’t mean that a healthy pregnancy is out of your reach. With proper cardiac care and support from your maternity hospital , you can have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Read on to find out how to have a healthy pregnancy when you have congenital heart disease.

    Consult with Your Doctors Early and Often
    Ideally, women with congenital heart disease should not have unplanned pregnancies. If you are considering starting a family, talk to your cardiac care specialist, OBGYN, and primary care doctor to determine if you are healthy enough to start trying to become pregnant now or if there are specific goals you should try to achieve before your pregnancy. It may be necessary to make adjustments to your medications, for instance, before you can safely conceive. After you become pregnant, see your doctors regularly for prenatal care and for monitoring of your heart condition. Your doctors will decide how often you need appointments based on your overall health and the severity of your heart condition.

    Be Aware of the Risks
    The specific health risks you could face during pregnancy depend on the nature of your condition. It’s common for blood pressure to increase during pregnancy, which can take a toll on your heart. Some women have an increased risk of arrhythmias and heart failure. Be aware that some of the effects of pregnancy can mimic symptoms of a heart problem, such as fatigue and shortness of breath. Ask your cardiac care specialist to tell you what symptoms you should look out for, and don’t hesitate to call your doctors if you are concerned.

    Make a Delivery Plan
    As any expectant mother would, you should make a plan for labor and delivery with your maternity hospital. Most women with heart disease can have a vaginal delivery, so you should be sure to discuss your pain management options. You should also understand what extra steps could need to be taken during labor and delivery to keep your heart safe.

    The Birthing Center at Good Samaritan Hospital uses the latest technology to ensure that all of our mothers-to-be have the safest possible labor and delivery. For renowned maternity care in San Jose, contact us at (888) 724-2362 to request a referral to a maternity specialist or to schedule a tour of our Birthing Center.

  • Understanding Structural Heart Disease

    Structural heart disease is not a single condition but rather a group of diseases that are related to abnormalities in the heart muscle. If you have a structural heart condition, you will need a cardiac care specialist to monitor your health and determine a treatment plan. Here is a closer look at what you need to know about structural heart disease.

    What causes structural heart disease?
    Structural heart disease is sometimes the result of a congenital defect. In other instances, an infection, underlying condition, or age-related wear-and-tear may cause structural heart disease. The cause of your structural heart disease may help your cardiac care specialist determine a treatment plan. Structural heart disease is non-coronary, so it doesn’t involve the blood vessels like coronary heart disease does, though having coronary heart disease may increase your risk.

    What are the symptoms?
    The symptoms of structural heart disease can vary, depending on the type of structural abnormality. Some of the most common symptoms associated with this kind of heart disease include fatigue, leg cramping, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and chest pain. Shortness of breath and heart palpitations may also occur. Some people with structural heart disease may have migraines and may experience either a transient ischemic attack, or TIA, or a full-blown stroke.

    What treatments are available?
    Treating structural heart disease depends on the nature of the condition, the severity of your symptoms, and how you have responded to other treatments. Some patients are able to take medications that control the symptoms of their structural heart disease, while others need surgery . Transcatheter procedures can also be helpful, especially for patients who are unable to undergo surgery safely.

    Get the cardiac care in San Jose you need at Good Samaritan Hospital. In addition to our state-of-the-art cardiac care department, our hospital is home to an extensive range of medical services . For a referral to a cardiac specialist or more information about our hospital, call (888) 724-2362.