• Beat the heat when you exercise outside

    When the weather is pleasant, it’s hard to resist skipping the gym to exercise outdoors instead. Do take a few precautions when the temperatures rise, however. Try to schedule your workout for the early morning or evening hours, and look for jogging or cycling routes that offer plenty of shade. The emergency care team at Good Samaritan Hospital hopes we won’t see you in our ER this summer, but we’re always here to help when you need us most.

    Know your physical limitations
    Exercising safely outdoors during the hot summer months requires a little preparation. If you have an underlying medical condition, such as heart disease or kidney disease, check with your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you to work out in hot temperatures.

    Look up the weather forecast before you head out. If it’s particularly hot or humid, consider going to the pool to swim some laps or working out in an air conditioned gym instead.

    Wear appropriate workout clothes
    Choose lightly colored clothing to reflect the sunlight. Look for clothes made from materials that wick sweat away from your body. Some outdoor enthusiasts take the extra step of wearing workout clothes labeled to reduce UV exposure.

    Wear sunglasses with broad-spectrum protection against UV rays, as sunlight can increase the risk of cataracts. Don’t forget your sunscreen, either. Look for sweat-resistant sunscreen and reapply it every two hours.

    Prevent dehydration
    Bring enough water with you to work out safely outdoors. If you’re planning a particularly long or intense workout, a sports beverage may be more appropriate, as it will replace your lost electrolytes. Serious athletes may wish to invest in a hydration backpack.

    Stay hydrated before and after your workout, too. Drink non-caffeinated fluids throughout the day, and munch on water-rich foods like cucumbers and watermelon.

    Good Samaritan Hospital can help families in San Jose get and stay active for better quality of life. We offer comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation for injured athletes who need to get back on their feet. Call our hospital at (888) 724-2362 to request a referral.

  • What happens when you’re kept in the ER for observation

    There are countless medical terms that patients may be unfamiliar with, such as “observation stay.” Don’t hesitate to ask a doctor or nurse for clarification if you aren’t sure what something means. At Good Samaritan Hospital , our emergency care providers are here to serve you, and that includes providing excellent patient education. If you need to be placed under observation, we’ll clearly explain why and discuss what you can expect.

    Definition of observation care
    If you need emergency care for a life-threatening problem, such as a heart attack, then you can expect to be admitted to the hospital. Anyone who is admitted to a hospital becomes an inpatient. This is also known as receiving inpatient care or services.

    In contrast, outpatients include anyone who visits the hospital for care, but does not stay there after receiving an evaluation and treatment. Most patients who receive emergency care are outpatients.

    Observation stays fall into a gray area between inpatients and outpatients. A patient under observation isn’t actually admitted to the hospital, and so he or she isn’t an inpatient. For medical coding purposes, this patient is considered an outpatient, even though he or she might stay at the hospital overnight.

    Reasons for observation stays
    Observation stays are necessary because they allow healthcare providers to continually monitor patients who may be at risk of developing complications.

    For example, if you go to the ER with chest pain, an EKG might not indicate a heart attack. You can then be placed under observation because of the possibility that a heart attack will occur. You might also require some more tests before you leave the hospital, or you may be admitted as an inpatient if your condition worsens.

    Length of observation care
    The length of time you might be under observation depends on your specific medical condition and how quickly you recover. Patients under observation are usually discharged within 24 hours. It’s not common for a patient to be kept under observation for longer than 48 hours.

    Good Samaritan Hospital is committed to providing the best possible emergency care for families throughout San Jose. We’re pleased to announce that we’ve begun a major ER expansion project to reduce wait times even further and give our patients the specialized, superior care they deserve. Call 911 for emergency medical services or, for non-emergent questions only, call a registered nurse at (888) 724-2362.

  • Strive for better health with family-oriented goals

    Sharing life’s special moments with your children is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a parent. Seize the opportunity this summer to grow closer as a family, while working toward better health . The habits your children learn now will benefit them throughout their lives. At Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, we believe in putting our patients first. Come talk to us if you have any concerns about your family’s health.

    Sharing meals together
    It’s easy to put family meals on the back burner when you’re constantly rushing around. However, sitting down together as a family to share a homemade meal really does have concrete benefits. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics , family meals are associated with the following:

    • 12% reduced risk of overweight kids
    • 20% decline in unhealthy food choices
    • 35% reduced risk of pediatric eating disorders

    Beyond the statistics, family meals are known to help children:

    • Develop empathy
    • Improve self-regulating behaviors
    • Form positive peer relationships
    • Be resilient to the effects of bullying

    Let the kids help you with menu planning, grocery shopping and meal preparation.

    Embracing positivity
    Children are amazingly perceptive of their parents’ stress, and it negatively affects their development. Set a good example for living life with a positive attitude, and your children will follow in your footsteps.

    Plus, embracing positivity is a great approach toward adopting other healthy habits. Instead of saying, “I have to eat a salad for lunch because of that ice cream last night,” say, “These veggies look delicious! I love the way eating healthy foods makes me feel good.”

    Limiting TV time
    Use a positive approach to encourage your kids to get outdoors and play instead of watching TV or playing video games. Try not to emphasize time limits on TV time. Instead, get your family together to enjoy physical activities as a group.

    Go for a family bicycle ride, take a walk after dinner or play basketball in the driveway. Kids love exercise when it seems more like play.

    As your family’s partner in health, Good Samaritan Hospital maintains an enduring commitment to superior care that fits your family’s lifestyle. Our doctors cultivate long-term patient relationships to get a genuine sense of each patient’s healthcare needs. Call our nurse referral line at (888) 724-2362 to request a referral to a doctor at our hospital in San Jose.

  • Why you should not delay your child’s vaccines

    Vaccine delays and vaccine avoidance are issues that researchers have been carefully evaluating in recent years, as they are linked to multiple outbreaks of serious diseases in the U.S. It might seem harmless to delay your child’s vaccines , but researchers have consistently found that there is no benefit to doing so—and many reasons not to. Good Samaritan Hospital is renowned for our uncompromising maternity and children’s services. Our doctors welcome your questions about your child’s vaccine schedule.

    Vaccine misinformation
    Basing healthcare decisions on misinformation can be costly, especially when it concerns a child’s health. Unfortunately, there is plenty of inaccurate and needlessly frightening information available online about the safety of vaccines. One of the most prominent misconceptions is the theory that vaccines cause autism—which is simply untrue.

    Vaccines are exhaustively researched, carefully formulated and tested before they are ever allowed to be used in humans. Don’t let misinformation dissuade you from giving your kids the shots that can protect them from deadly diseases. Talk to a pediatrician about your concerns first.

    Vaccine-preventable diseases
    As the number of parents who decide not to vaccinate their kids increases, outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles also go on an upward trend. Measles, mumps, chickenpox and whooping cough are all preventable diseases that have been making a comeback in the U.S.

    It’s often thought that if a disease isn’t frequently seen in the U.S., kids don’t need to be vaccinated for it. But diseases don’t respect geographical boundaries, and it only takes one infected person to cause a major outbreak.

    Vaccine delay risks
    The serious nature of vaccine-preventable diseases should be sufficient to convince parents that all kids need their shots. However, researchers have identified another reason to be wary of delaying: The risk of febrile seizures. Fever-induced seizures are more common in children who receive vaccines past their recommended ages.

    Family-centered care is our specialty here at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose. Our dedicated pediatric specialists are highly trained and experienced with the unique needs of their young patients. Call (888) 724-2362 to request a referral.

  • What does your doctor want you to know about your bone health?

    The importance of good bone health is often underestimated, according to the orthopedic surgeon featured in this video. He sees patients at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose. This interview briefly touches on the treatment options for bone problems, but prevention is possible. Prioritizing your bone health at every stage of your life will help preserve your mobility and independence later in life.

    Know the risks of poor bone health
    It’s possible for anyone to develop bone problems like osteoporosis—older women aren’t the only ones whose bones can become brittle. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know if you do have osteoporosis unless you have a bone density screening, or you suffer a fracture.

    Be proactive about your bone health by asking your doctor about your risk factors, getting a bone density screening when it’s recommended and making some lifestyle modifications.

    Quit smoking or don’t start
    Smoking is an established risk factor of poor bone density. One of the reasons for this is that tobacco smoke suppresses the body’s ability to use dietary calcium for bone tissue.

    For people who smoke, the risk of osteoporosis, fractures and long-term disability is just one more compelling reason to quit. Overcoming any addiction is hard work. Your doctor can connect you to the smoking cessation tools, medicines and resources that can help you succeed at becoming a non-smoker.

    Limit alcohol consumption
    Heavy, prolonged alcohol consumption can weaken the bones by negatively influencing the hormones that regulate calcium metabolism. Depending on your health history, your doctor may recommend that you avoid alcohol altogether.

    Otherwise, women are generally advised to stick to no more than one drink per day. For men, the threshold is two drinks daily.

    Get active
    Weight-bearing exercises, such as jogging and playing tennis, help build strong bones. If you already have osteoporosis, your doctor can design a safe exercise program for you.

    Consume food sources of calcium and vitamin D
    Calcium is necessary for strong bones, but your body can’t use calcium properly without vitamin D. Look for low-fat or nonfat dairy products enriched with vitamin D. If you’re having trouble getting enough nutrients from food alone, your doctor may recommend a supplement.

    The orthopedics specialists at Good Samaritan Hospital have made it their life’s work to improve your quality of life through better bone and joint health. We encourage patients in San Jose to ask us about proactively preserving bone health, but we also offer state-of-the-art medical interventions when problems develop. Call our hospital at (888) 724-2362.

  • Can babies still be healthy if they are not breastfed?

    The saying, “breast is best” is true, which is why maternity experts recommend exclusively breastfeeding babies for the first six months of life. Unfortunately, breastfeeding isn’t always possible. Some women are unable to breastfeed because of their health or because breastfeeding is too painful for them. Regardless of whether your baby is breastfed or bottle-fed , the healthcare providers at Good Samaritan Hospital will go the extra mile to provide the superior, personalized care your family deserves.

    Why infant formula is different from breastfeeding
    One of the primary differences between formula and breast milk is the immune-boosting benefits of breast milk, which can’t be replicated by formula. Babies who are breastfed do tend to have lower risks of infections and, later in life, chronic diseases. However, bottle-feeding a baby certainly doesn’t mean he or she will automatically be less healthy, nor does breastfeeding guarantee that a baby will be healthier.

    Watch this featured video to hear from a pediatrician at Good Samaritan Hospital. She explains that she does encourage mothers to breastfeed, but ultimately, she respects that it’s the mother’s choice to decide how best to feed her baby.

    How to choose infant formula
    The FDA regulates formula, which can give nervous parents some peace of mind. Manufacturers are required to include specific nutrients that babies need. However, there are a few differences among the brands.

    Some formula has proteins from cow’s milk, while others have soy or hydrolyzed protein. Some formulas are designed for babies with specific health needs. Those with reflux can benefit from eating formula made with a thickener.

    Some brands of infant formula include DHA, which is a fatty acid that plays a key role in brain development. DHA is naturally present in breast milk, so consider looking for formula with this ingredient.

    The maternity team at Good Samaritan Hospital respects the choices made by parents in the best interests of their babies’ health. When you choose our hospital in San Jose for your labor and delivery, you’ll welcome your baby in a private, comfortable birthing suite with all the amenities of home. Call our nurse referral line at (888) 724-2362 with your questions about our maternity care.

  • Is it an emergency? A guide for new parents

    Becoming a parent for the first time is simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. As the bond between you and your child grows stronger, it’s natural to be fearful of him or her getting injured or sick. The pediatricians at Good Samaritan Hospital truly understand the concerns of new parents. We’ll give you the resources and know-how you need to handle any childhood emergency with confidence. Our emergency care team is available around the clock to help your baby feel well again quickly. We invite you to watch this featured video, in which one of our pediatricians explains some of the red flags to watch out for.

    If your baby has a fever
    Newborns under three months of age should be seen at the ER for a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The temperature should be taken rectally. For a lower fever, call the pediatrician for guidance.

    Babies who are three to six months old should be seen at the ER for a fever of 101 degrees or higher. For babies older than six months, the threshold is 103 degrees or higher.

    Regardless of the temperature or age, a pediatrician should exam the baby if he or she displays other severe symptoms along with the fever . These symptoms include stiff neck and inconsolable crying.

    If your baby falls
    Babies must be supervised at all times when they’re on an elevated surface, such as the changing table. If you need to get some changing supplies from a lower drawer, keep one hand on your baby at all times. Or, pick up your infant and hold him or her while retrieving the supplies.

    Accidents do happen from time to time. If your baby falls, you should assume that he or she might have internal trauma or a brain injury. An ER doctor can evaluate your baby.

    If your baby has convulsions
    Infants and small children can suffer febrile seizures when they have a fever. Febrile seizures are frightening, but they are not necessarily a sign of a lasting seizure disorder. Your baby should be seen at the ER promptly if he or she has convulsions.

    When your baby needs emergency care , you can count on the specialists at Good Samaritan Hospital. We maintain ER wait times in San Jose that are consistently below the national average because your child’s health is our highest priority. Call 911 for medical emergencies or call a registered nurse at (888) 724-2362 for general health information.

  • Key differences between depression and bipolar disorder

    Mental health disorders like depression and bipolar disorder affect millions of people, and many of these don’t get the healthcare they need to manage their disorders. The behavioral health specialists at Good Samaritan Hospital want you to know that we genuinely care about your health and quality of life. For all of your medical challenges, we’re here for you.

    Symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder
    Both bipolar disorder and depression are mental health disorders, and they both cause depressive symptoms. These symptoms can include:

    • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, emptiness and sadness
    • Loss of interest in normal activities
    • Fatigue
    • Restlessness
    • Changes in appetite or sleeping habits
    • Unexplainable aches and pains
    • Difficulty concentrating

    Patients with depressive disorders experience these sorts of symptoms consistently. Patients with bipolar disorder cycle through depressive episodes, followed by manic episodes. These periods of mania can cause the following symptoms:

    • Restlessness and hyperactivity
    • Excessively euphoric mood
    • Racing thoughts
    • Rapid speech
    • Abrupt changes in conversation topics
    • Distractibility
    • Poor judgment
    • Risky behaviors
    • Substance abuse
    • Unrealistic beliefs in abilities
    • Aggressive behaviors

    In addition to periods of mania and depression , patients with bipolar disorder can experience psychotic symptoms like hallucinations, delusions and disorders of thought.

    Treatments for depression and bipolar disorder
    One of the reasons why it’s so important to get an accurate diagnosis is because the treatments for depression and bipolar disorder are different. You can hear more about this issue when you watch the accompanying video. It features a psychiatrist at Good Samaritan Hospital.

    He explains that patients with bipolar disorder are sometimes misdiagnosed with depression. They fail to respond to the treatment because they don’t actually have depression.

    With the right treatment, both depression and bipolar disorder can be successfully managed. Patients with either disorder can lead full, productive lives.

    Behavioral Health Services at Good Samaritan Hospital offers the compassionate, sensitive care you deserve within a welcoming environment. We personalize our inpatient and outpatient services to meet the unique needs of each of our patients, and we offer a diverse range of support groups to the San Jose community. Call our nurse referral line at (888) 724-2362 and let us help you improve your quality of life.