• Explaining jaundice and why it requires special care in infants

    Jaundice is common in newborns, but some are more vulnerable to it than others. In some cases, jaundice is not serious and doesn’t require any special treatment, but when jaundice is severe, treatment is necessary. Treatment for jaundice, when needed, starts soon after labor and delivery .

    What is jaundice?
    Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes that occurs as the result of excess levels of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is produced by the body when red blood cells are renewed, and it has a yellow appearance that causes the look of jaundice.

    Bilirubin is typically metabolized in the liver, so that it can be expelled from the body via stools. Before babies are born, the placenta removes bilirubin, but after birth, the liver must begin performing the function. Because the liver may take some time to work effectively, jaundice occurs.

    What causes severe jaundice?
    Although nearly every newborn has some form of jaundice, it is more likely to be severe in these cases:

    • Rh incompatibility between the baby and the mother
    • Babies born with sickle cell anemia
    • Low oxygen levels at birth
    • Infections at birth
    • Diseases of the liver, such as hepatitis
    • Premature birth

    These are just a few of the causes of severe jaundice in newborns. Genetic disorders, medications, and difficult deliveries can also play roles.

    When is treatment for jaundice necessary?
    Most babies will not need treatment for jaundice, as explained in the video. However, if the levels of bilirubin in the blood are excessively high or increasing rapidly, treatment is necessary. Premature babies need treatment more often than babies who reach full term.

    Treatments for jaundice include:

    • Phototherapy – Babies are placed under blue lights that help to break down bilirubin.
    • IV fluids.
    • Blood exchange transfusion – This treatment is only necessary in the most severe cases. Babies receive fresh blood with normal bilirubin levels.

    In the maternity departments in San Jose of Good Samaritan Hospital, our labor and delivery team is committed to helping every new baby have the healthiest possible start in life. Contact us today at (888) 724-2362 to set up a tour of the birthing center , learn more about our childbirth classes, or get a referral to one of our physicians.

  • Keeping your eyes from harm while in the workplace

    Eye injuries that happen in the workplace can lead to significant disruptions in your personal and professional lives. If an eye injury does occur, it’s essential to get emergency care right away to prevent the injury from becoming worse and causing further complications. Although emergency care can reduce the risk of long-term vision problems, preventing an injury from occurring in the first place is the best strategy. Keep this advice in mind to prevent eye injuries in your workplace.

    Know the risks
    Identify the areas of your job that put your eyes most at risk. These are some of the most common eye risks in the workplace:

    • Flying debris
    • Tools
    • Chemicals
    • Sparks, such as in welding

    Although it is not associated with acute eye injuries, keep in mind using a computer can also cause eye strain that leads to vision issues. If you work on a computer all day, remember to look away periodically to give your eyes a break.

    Wear protective goggles
    The single most effective thing you can do to prevent eye injuries at work is to wear protective goggles. Be sure to choose goggles that are appropriate for the kind of work you do. For instance, if dust and debris fly around at your job, your goggles should have side shields. If you work with lasers or fiber optics, wear safety goggles that reduce light exposure.

    Any safety goggles you choose should comply with OSHA regulations for the kind of work you do. Regulations also require anyone who wears glasses to have them incorporated into your goggles. There are two options: your glasses can fit under the goggles or the goggles can be made with prescription lenses.

    Recognize the symptoms
    While some eye injuries will be obvious, others can have subtle symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:

    • Unusual pupil size
    • Feeling like there is something stuck in your eye
    • Feeling like vision is worse in one eye than the other

    Seek emergency care right away if you suspect that you have sustained an injury.

    The emergency room at Good Samaritan Hospital is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide fast, high-quality care for all of your urgent healthcare needs. To find out more about our emergency care services in San Jose, please call (888) 724-2362.

  • What happens during a mental health screening?

    Taking care of your mental health is just as important as protecting your physical health. Mental health screenings are performed to diagnose various mental health conditions, just as blood tests, medical imaging, and other screening exams are used to diagnose physical health problems. Mental health screenings can take place at your primary care provider’s office, in the office of a specialist, or at the hospital. If you’ve never had a screening, consider talking to your doctor about performing one. Here’s what you can expect.

    What is the process for a mental health screening?
    Mental health screenings can be adapted to test for specific conditions, or used to determine broader diagnoses. Typically, a screening will involve one or more of these components:

    • Interview – Your physician will ask you questions designed to assess your emotional state and cognitive functioning.
    • Journal – As part of a screening, you may be asked to keep a journal noting your symptoms and feelings for a few days before you see your doctor.
    • Tests – You may undergo a written or verbal test to assess your ability to perform day-to-day activities, your memory, and your symptoms.
    • Lab tests – Blood tests, MRIs, CT scans, and EEGs are sometimes used to determine if a physiological issue is causing or contributing to your symptoms.

    Your doctor will decide which of these screening components is appropriate for you, based on factors such as your symptoms, health history, and age.

    Why are mental health screenings performed?
    A mental health screening may be performed as part of your regular preventive care regime when you have a physical. Screenings may also be ordered if your physician suspects you have a mental health condition. These are some of the reasons mental health screenings are performed:

    • To diagnose problems like depression, schizophrenia, dementia, and anorexia
    • To determine if a health issue is caused by a physical or mental health problem
    • To determine if someone has a learning disability, ADHD, ADD, or conduct disorder
    • To determine if a mental health problem contributed to criminal behavior

    Good Samaritan Hospital offers extensive behavioral health services in San Jose, including mental health screenings, inpatient and outpatient care, and inpatient detox programs . Request a referral to one of our behavioral health specialists by calling (888) 724-2362.

  • Better Outcomes: The Most Cutting Edge Breast Cancer Treatments

    Breast cancer treatment is constantly evolving, giving women ever-increasing chances to beat the disease and live long, healthy lives. If you or someone you love is diagnosed with breast cancer, there are a number of cutting-edge therapies that could become part of an effective treatment plan. Read on to take a look at some recent improvements in breast cancer treatments.

    Targeted therapy drugs
    Targeted therapy involves the use of medications that act against specific changes that that occur in cancer cells, which help them to grow and spread throughout the body. For breast cancer, a type of targeted therapy using PARP inhibitors has shown promise.

    PARP inhibitors are best at treating breast cancer cases that are positive for BCRA mutations. Through genetic testing, your doctor will determine if you have BCRA-positive breast cancer and if treatment with PARP inhibitors could help stop the growth of your cancer and prevent it from spreading. So far, the PARP inhibitors that have shown the most promise for breast cancer treatment are olaparib and veliparib.

    Oncoplastic surgery
    For many women, a traumatic part of breast cancer treatment is surgery that either changes the appearance of the breast or removes the breast entirely. Even cancers that are caught in their early stages and can be treated with a lumpectomy rather than a mastectomy can leave women with breasts that are no longer the same size or shape.

    Oncoplastic surgery can make surgical treatment more positive for patients. With this kind of surgery, the breast is reconstructed as part of the same procedure as the tumor removal surgery. From moderate reshaping to full breast reconstruction involving implants, women now no longer have to wait to undergo a future surgery to restore the appearance of their breasts.

    Chemotherapy supportive care
    Chemotherapy is part of most breast cancer treatment programs, and it is the only medical treatment available for triple negative breast cancers. Although chemotherapy can provide powerful cancer treatment, it also comes with serious side effects.

    Fortunately, new supportive therapies for chemotherapy for breast cancer patients are being studied and showing promising effects. These therapies can reduce the memory loss that can occur after chemotherapy and protect the heart from chemotherapy-related damage.

    The Breast Care Center in San Jose at Good Samaritan Hospital is a designated Breast Imaging Center of Excellence and works in conjunction with our world-class cancer team provide women with the best possible breast cancer outcomes. Get a referral to our cancer department or learn more about our services by calling (888) 724-2362.