• Prepare for summer hiking by recognizing these dangerous Bay Area plants

    Californians are often characterized by their love of outdoor recreation. But before you set out for your next hiking adventure this summer, take a few minutes to brush up on the basics of the Bay Area’s poisonous plants. Taking precautions to avoid poisonous vegetation can help you stay out of the Emergency Room at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose.

    Poison ivy

    Poison ivy is one of the most widely known poisonous plants that cause contact dermatitis . Poison ivy is more common in the eastern states, but Bay Area hikers can still encounter it from time to time. Stay away from plants with the following characteristics:

    • Typically has three spoon-shaped leaves
    • Grows as climbing vine or spreads on the ground
    • Often found along ocean beaches

    Poison oak

    Poison oak is particularly common in western states. Its leaves look like oak leaves, but the plant grows as a shrub or a vine. The plant typically features three leaflets but can feature up to seven.

    Poison hemlock

    Poison hemlock isn’t related to hemlock trees, but it does look quite similar to Queen Anne’s lace. The foliage of poison hemlock also looks similar to carrot tops. There are ways of identifying the subtle differences.

    Check the stalks. Poison hemlock has smooth stalks with purplish discolorations. Queen Anne’s lace has green stalks that look somewhat fuzzy.

    Check the height. Queen Anne’s lace generally doesn’t grow taller than three feet or so, but poison hemlock can reach three to 10 feet in height.


    Oleander features vibrant, beautiful blooms, but it can be fatal if ingested. Oleander is a shrub with dense foliage and clusters of flowers in pink, yellow, red or white shades.

    If you do develop a serious skin reaction this summer, the emergency care physicians at Good Samaritan Hospital can provide effective care around the clock. Our hospital in San Jose is committed to maintaining the highest standards of patient care because our emergency care doctors live and work in the same community as our patients. Call a registered nurse at (888) 724-2362 for general hospital information.

  • What does it mean when you cough up phlegm?

    Phlegm is a sort of mucus that most people don’t notice too often. Usually, a person will only cough up phlegm when he or she is ill. Although a phlegmy cough usually is not a situation that requires emergency care, it can be distressing to experience this problem. When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear a doctor at Good Samaritan Hospital explain some of the common causes of phlegm. He also discusses when it’s a good idea to visit the hospital to talk to your doctor.

    The colors of phlegm

    Only your doctor can accurately diagnose the cause of your phlegmy cough , but the color of the sputum may give you some clues. White phlegm, for example, may be caused by viral bronchitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

    Green or yellowish phlegm might be caused by:

    • Bacterial bronchitis
    • Pneumonia
    • Sinus infections
    • Cystic fibrosis

    Black phlegm can be particularly distressing for patients to see on a tissue. It can be caused by:

    • Smoking
    • Coal dust inhalation
    • Pneumoconiosis (black lung disease)
    • Fungal infection (uncommon)

    The right time to see a doctor

    Your primary care doctor is a trusted source of medical information and advice. He or she genuinely wants to help you enjoy good health, but you’ll have to take the first step by making an appointment. Even if your phlegmy cough turns out to be inconsequential, talking to your doctor about this issue can give you peace of mind.

    Every patient has unique health needs, but in general, you may wish to consider seeing your doctor if:

    • Your phlegmy cough doesn’t go away
    • Your symptoms seem unusual to you
    • You experience other troublesome symptoms along with the cough
    • You have a compromised immune system
    • You have a history of lung cancer or other lung diseases

    The emergency care physicians at Good Samaritan Hospital are firmly committed to providing all of our patients the superior, compassionate care they deserve. Whether you have a minor medical emergency or a serious condition, we’re here to provide sound medical guidance within a supportive setting. You can speak with a registered nurse at our hospital in San Jose by calling (888) 724-2362.

  • Are you eligible to donate blood?

    There is a constant, pressing need for blood donors all over the country and right here in San Jose. By becoming a blood donor, you could save the lives of people in your own community. Donated blood is urgently needed for emergency care, cardiac care and cancer care patients, along with those undergoing routine or emergency surgeries. It only takes a few minutes of your time to visit a local blood drive and find out if you’re eligible. If you have any health concerns about becoming a blood donor, the physicians at Good Samaritan Hospital look forward to discussing them with you.

    Body type

    For most people, height and weight are not barriers to donating blood. Eligible blood donors must simply weigh at least 110 pounds. Donors who are 18 years old or younger must meet additional weight requirements, depending on their height.

    Chronic medical conditions

    Each potential donor’s health will be evaluated individually, but in general, patients with chronic illnesses may still donate as long as the condition is well-controlled and the individual feels well. These general guidelines apply to the following medical conditions:

    • Diabetes
    • Heart disease
    • Heart murmur
    • High or low blood pressure
    • Allergies
    • Asthma

    Patients with bleeding problems might not be able to donate blood for their own safety. Additionally, the following medical conditions prohibit people from donating blood:

    • Mad cow disease
    • Family history of mad cow disease
    • Hemochromatosis
    • Hepatitis
    • Recent hepatitis exposure
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Recent malaria exposure
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Active infection

    This is not an exhaustive list of medical conditions, so be sure to fully disclose your medical conditions when you go to the blood drive.

    Medication usage

    The blood drive professional will ask you about your medication use and whether you’ve recently had any vaccines. Most medications do not prohibit you from donating blood, including the following:

    • Birth control
    • Aspirin
    • Over-the-counter nutritional supplements

    The emergency care and cardiac care providers at Good Samaritan Hospital would like to offer our sincere thanks to all blood donors throughout our San Jose community. You can get in touch with a registered nurse at our hospital by calling (888) 724-2362. If you aren’t eligible to donate blood, you can still help others by donating your time at local blood drives.

  • Why men should be concerned about heart disease


    All adults should be concerned about heart disease, as it is a leading cause of death in the U.S. Heart disease kills about one in every four men. Furthermore, men who have heart disease often don’t realize it. It’s not uncommon for men to experience sudden death due to heart disease, despite not reporting any symptoms beforehand. Although these facts are frightening, effective cardiac care can help men live long, healthy lives. At Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, our cardiac care specialists are firmly committed to improving the quality of life of our patients.

    Heart disease risk factors are common

    Millions of American men have at least one risk factor for heart disease—and many men have multiple risk factors. Three of the most common risk factors among men are tobacco use, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Other risk factors include:

    • Physically inactive lifestyle
    • Excessive alcohol consumption
    • Poor nutrition
    • Diabetes
    • Overweight and obesity
    • Family history of heart disease

    Although countless men have heart disease or are at an elevated risk of it, many of these factors are modifiable. Consider talking to a physician about your unique cardiac care needs. Some risk factors are controllable with smart lifestyle changes, while others may require medical management and lifestyle modifications.

    Heart disease affects millions of men

    It’s important to not underestimate the risk of heart disease in men. According to a statistical fact sheet released by the American Heart Association in 2013, about 8.8 million men in the U.S . have coronary heart disease, and five million of those have a history of suffering a heart attack.

    Coronary heart disease is just one type of heart disease. The American Heart Association also notes that at least 2.7 million men are living with heart failure, and about 350,000 more men are diagnosed with it every year.

    The prevalence of heart disease and its risk factors, and the life-threatening nature of these diseases, are why all men should be concerned about heart disease.

    Cardiac and Vascular Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital brings together leading cardiac care specialists and cutting-edge medical technology to give our patients the superior care they deserve. Here, cardiac care patients of all ages receive a continuum of care—from stabilization and diagnostics to interventions and rehabilitation. Call 911 for emergency care in San Jose or call (888) 724-2362 for non-emergent healthcare information.