• Is Your Headache Bad Enough for a Visit to the ER?

    Headaches are quite common and can be caused by everything from poor posture to sleep deprivation. But sometimes, a headache might indicate a serious or even life-threatening medical condition that requires emergency transportation to the hospital. These include conditions like meningitis and a ruptured brain aneurysm. When neurological emergencies affect people in the Riverside area, specialty care can be found at Riverside Community Hospital.

    Ruptured Brain Aneurysm
    When a blood vessel wall bulges outward and stretches, it is referred to as an aneurysm. An aneurysm can occur in any blood vessel, including in blood vessels of the brain. Most aneurysms aren’t detected until they rupture or leak. When this occurs, the patient is likely to experience an extremely painful headache. The headache may be accompanied by other symptoms such as seizures, nausea, vomiting, confusion, loss of consciousness, and stiff neck. If you or a loved one suffers the rapid onset of these types of symptoms, it’s time to call 911.

    Stroke is another life-threatening cause of sudden, severe headaches. Most strokes occur when an obstruction in a blood vessel, such as a blood clot, blocks the flow of blood to the brain. This causes the brain cells in the affected area to die quickly, resulting in functional impairments. A stroke can also be caused by bleeding on the brain. In addition to a headache, stroke can cause one-sided weakness or numbness, slurred speech, confusion, and walking difficulties.

    The meninges are the layers of tissue that surround the brain and spinal cord. An infection of this tissue and of the cerebrospinal fluid is called meningitis. Meningitis is a medical emergency that may cause death within a matter of hours if left untreated. In addition to a headache, patients with meningitis may experience a high fever, very stiff, sore neck, sensitivity to light, vomiting, confusion, and seizures.

    Riverside Community Hospital provides 24/7 Neurological Emergency Services, including specialized care for patients with stroke, brain aneurysm, and migraines. If you or a loved one is experiencing a serious medical emergency in Riverside, please call 911 immediately. If you have a non-emergent question about our hospital services, you can call (951) 788-3463 and speak with one of our registered nurses.

  • How Can You Improve Your Stress-Handling Skills?

    A person’s stress response can actually be beneficial on a short-term basis. The physiological changes and hormonal fluctuations trigger a “fight or flight” response that is helpful for dealing with dangerous situations. However, long-term stress contributes to a number of adverse health effects, including cardiovascular problems. This is why heart doctors and other physicians might recommend that you work on your stress management skills. If you do have a heart condition, consider visiting the Heart Care Institute at Riverside Community Hospital.

    Identify Your Stressors
    Become proactive about managing your stress by first identifying the situations that cause you to feel overwhelmed. Carry a small notebook with you for a couple of weeks and write down the specific issues that stress you out. If you’re like many people, you might be stressed out because of a busy schedule, problems at work, or difficulties parenting a stubborn teenager. It may be possible to change certain stressors, such as by asking other family members to take on more household responsibilities. But since most stressors probably cannot be mitigated, it’s time to practice good stress management.

    Improve Your Physical Health
    Physical health and mental health are closely intertwined. One way to manage your stress more effectively is to eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet and exercise on most days of the week. Exercise can also help fight some of the damaging effects of stress, such as heart health problems.

    Consider Mental Health Counseling
    A mental health counselor can help you sort through your challenges and understand your thinking patterns. If you choose to work with a mental health specialist, you’ll begin to recognize negative thinking patterns and find ways of modifying them.

    Use Healthy Coping Strategies
    A mental health specialist can also teach you coping strategies to use when you begin to feel overwhelmed. Deep breathing techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery are some of the strategies that may help you.

    If you’re looking for a state-of-the-art heart hospital that combines personalized attention with the latest medical advances, Riverside Community Hospital invites you to get to know our Heart Care Institute in Riverside. Our multidisciplinary team of heart care specialists looks forward to working with you to improve your wellness and quality of life. You can request a referral to a specialist at our heart hospital by calling our Consult-A-Nurse line at (951) 788-3463.

  • Decorate Safely for the Holidays This Year

    With the holidays rapidly approaching, it’s time to start getting out the decorations. A festive home can lift the spirits, but unfortunately, decorating does have some risks that your family should be aware of. In fact, thousands of decorating-related injuries are reported in emergency rooms across the country every holiday season. These range from lacerations to debilitating head injuries. From our family to yours, the emergency care team at Riverside Community Hospital would like to wish you a safe and joyous holiday season.

    Decorating at an Elevated Position
    Falls from an elevated position are among the most common causes of decorating-related injuries. If you easily lose your balance or get dizzy, consider asking someone else to climb up on a ladder or chair for you. Otherwise, place the ladder on firm, even ground. Make sure you’re wearing shoes with good traction before you start climbing up. Only decorate the areas that you can safely and easily reach from the ladder, then climb down and reposition the ladder. Many falls occur because decorators tried to reach too far away from the ladder.

    Preventing House Fires
    Candles are a popular way to set the ambiance for a holiday get-together, but if there are young children or active pets in the home, consider using flameless LED candles. If you do use real candles, place them far away from any flammable objects. House fires can also be caused by damaged or defective strings of lights. Check each light and cord for signs of damage before using them. Keep the tree well-watered; a dried-out tree can catch fire.

    Keeping Young Children Safe
    If you’re a parent, then you probably already know the basics of childproofing a home. Be sure to check for decoration hazards, such as extension cords that a young child might chew on or breakable ornaments placed low on the tree. If you’re hosting a family get-together this year that will include young children, consider talking to the parents about ways of improving your home’s safety.

    The Emergency Department at Riverside Community Hospital is a Level II Trauma Center available around the clock, every day of the year. Our emergency care team prides itself on providing rapid responses and to further this mission, we’ve added a new helistop adjacent to the ER for critical patients. Please call 911 without delay if you have a medical emergency; otherwise, you can reach our hospital in Riverside at (951) 788-3463.

  • Recognizing World AIDS Day

    On December 1 st , we celebrated World AIDS Day. The observance was established by the World Health Organization (WHO) to bring awareness to those living with AIDS. This year, hospitals around the U.S., including Riverside Community Hospital, recognized the 2016 theme of “Leadership. Commitment. Impact.”

    Understanding HIV and AIDS
    Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes HIV infections. This virus attacks the immune system and makes it more difficult for the individual to guard against diseases and even certain cancers. HIV is spread through contact with the contaminated body fluids of an HIV patient. These fluids include blood, semen, and breast milk. It is not possible to contract HIV by hugging an infected person or by touching common objects like doorknobs. HIV is not airborne, which means that it cannot be spread via sneezing or coughing. HIV and AIDS are often used interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same thing. AIDS is the later stage of HIV. Getting proper treatment can delay this progression.

    Identifying the Signs and Symptoms
    HIV infections often do not cause symptoms right away, with the exception of symptoms caused by the initial infection. These include flu-like symptoms such as fever, extreme fatigue, headache, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes. Joint pain, rash, night sweats, and dry cough can occur. Following the initial infection, patients might not experience symptoms for months or years. As the immune system continues to weaken from the infection, patients may gradually notice symptoms like unexplained fatigue, weight loss, chronic diarrhea, memory loss, and systemic swelling of lymph nodes. It’s common to experience recurrent infections, the development of a large number of warts, and the worsening of prior health conditions like eczema.

    Riverside Community Hospital is renowned for its spectrum of specialty medical services delivered by highly trained, compassionate providers. The entire team at our hospital is committed to exceeding high standards of patient care and safety, and to providing personalized service to each patient. If you live in the Riverside area, you can speak with one of our registered nurses by calling (951) 788-3463.