• When should (and shouldn’t) you take an antibiotic?

    Antibiotics were discovered accidentally in 1928 when a researcher noticed that a mold had killed his petri dishes of Staphylococcus bacteria. Since that time, emergency care doctors have relied on antibiotics to save countless lives, but they can’t combat every infection. If you visit the Emergency Room at MountainView Hospital with an infection, the healthcare providers will ensure your treatment is designed to meet your unique needs.

    Understanding antibiotics
    The three primary categories of germs that can make you sick are: Bacteria, viruses and fungi. Antibiotics only work against bacterial infections, just like antivirals are only used for viral infections and antifungal drugs only work on fungal infections.

    Before prescribing an antibiotic, the emergency care doctor needs to make sure you have a bacterial infection instead of another illness. The use of antibiotics in the absence of a bacterial infection will do far more harm than good.

    Taking antibiotics as prescribed
    If you’re prescribed an antibiotic, pay close attention to the dosage instructions. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if anything is unclear. For instance, you might ask whether taking a pill every six hours means you should take it three times per day.

    One of the most important things to remember about antibiotics is that you must finish the entire course of medicine you’ve been prescribed, unless a doctor instructs you otherwise. Some people stop taking antibiotics once they start to feel well again. Unfortunately, an improvement in symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean the infection is cleared up.

    Preventing drug-resistant bacteria
    When patients don’t finish all of their prescribed antibiotics, they give bacteria the opportunity to evolve and become resistant to those drugs. The patient can spread these drug-resistant bacteria to others.

    The patient can also become sick again. He or she may need to be hospitalized to receive intravenous medications if the infection doesn’t respond well to oral antibiotics. You can hear more about drug-resistant bacteria when you watch the featured video.

    Drug-resistant bacteria are a serious public health problem. You can do your part to prevent bacteria from getting stronger by following your doctor’s instructions carefully. Remember to never share your medications with anyone else.

    At MountainView Hospital, the health and safety of our patients in Las Vegas are our highest priorities. Our emergency care providers will ensure that you fully understand your diagnosis, medication dosage instructions and follow-up recommendations before you leave our hospital. If you have general healthcare questions, a registered nurse is available to help at (702) 962-5021.

  • How long do you need to wash your hands to kill germs?

    The chillier months typically bring an influx of patients with respiratory infections to the hospital, but getting sick isn’t inevitable. One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs is simply to wash your hands—but it only works if you do it properly. If you do become seriously ill this season, the emergency care doctors at MountainView Hospital can help you feel well again quickly.

    The length of time you should wash your hands
    Rinsing your hands isn’t enough to get them clean. To get rid of disease-causing germs, you’ll need to scrub them thoroughly with soap and water.

    It takes at least 20 seconds of scrubbing to get your hands clean. This is about the length of time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song.

    The right way to wash your hands
    Use running water and plain soap to get your hands clean. Get your hands damp, then add soap and lather up. Scrub all areas, including the following:

    • Under the fingernails
    • Between the fingers
    • On the backs of the hands
    • Around the wrists

    After you’ve scrubbed all areas of your hands for at least 20 seconds, hold them under the running water and continue to scrub until the soap is all washed off.

    The way soap gets rid of germs
    It’s a common misconception that soap kills germs. It actually improves your ability to scrub them off your hands so they’ll end up down the drain instead of in your body. Essentially, soap reduces the ability of germs to stick to your skin, but it’s the scrubbing action that really gets rid of them.

    Antibacterial soap can prevent bacteria on the skin from replicating, but most of the ingredients have been recently banned because public health experts discovered they did more harm than good. Plus, good old-fashioned soap, water and scrubbing are the best tools to get rid of germs .

    MountainView Hospital is your partner in health. From our emergency care doctors to our bariatric weight loss specialists, our entire team in Las Vegas works together to provide the patient-centered care everyone deserves. A friendly member of our nursing staff is available at (702) 962-5021 to provide physician referrals.

  • Knowing the difference between angina and heartburn

    Most people know that they need emergency care if they’re having a heart attack, but identifying the symptoms of a heart attack can be complicated. There are many medical issues that cause chest pain , including non-life-threatening problems like heartburn or acid reflux. Since only a doctor can determine if a patient needs life-saving medical intervention, the emergency care specialists at MountainView Hospital urge our neighbors in Las Vegas to get help right away if they experience chest pain. You can hear one of our talented doctors discuss this topic when you watch the accompanying video.

    Overview of heartburn and angina
    The stomach lining is tough enough to handle the strong stomach acid that breaks down food. Unfortunately, these acids don’t always stay put. If they backflow up to the esophagus, they can cause the painful symptoms that are characteristic of heartburn.

    Many people experience occasional heartburn. If heartburn occurs frequently, it’s advisable to speak with a doctor, as stomach acid can damage the esophagus.

    Angina isn’t actually a disease or medical condition—it’s a symptom. Angina refers to chest pain that develops when the heart muscle isn’t getting enough blood. Usually, angina is caused by coronary heart disease (CHD).

    It’s important to diagnose and treat angina promptly. Patients with angina have a higher risk of a heart attack .

    Common symptoms of heartburn
    Heartburn symptoms develop after eating. They can include:

    • A burning sensation in the chest
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Sour taste in the mouth
    • Persistent sore throat or hoarse voice
    • Chronic cough

    Diagnosis of angina
    The chest pain of heart disease often feels like squeezing or pressure, and it isn’t always severe. In the ER, doctors can quickly test the heart’s activity to determine whether the chest pain is an angina attack or a heart attack. If it’s a heart attack, some of the following symptoms are likely to accompany the chest pain.

    • Nausea
    • Excessive sweating
    • Weakness
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fatigue
    • Sudden dizziness

    As a widely renowned heart hospital, MountainView Hospital is an employer of choice for top cardiologists who have made it their life’s work to save patients’ lives. If you are experiencing a true medical emergency, such as a possible heart attack, please call 911 right now. Otherwise, families in Las Vegas can reach our hospital at (702) 962-5021.

  • Can you get a flu shot during pregnancy?

    Emergency care doctors recommend the flu shot for almost every patient, except for those with severe allergies to its ingredients and children younger than six months of age. When you’re pregnant, it’s good to be concerned about safety, but pregnancy by itself does not disqualify a patient from receiving the flu vaccine . If you have any concerns, your doctor can address them. The maternity specialists at MountainView Hospital work closely with each expecting mother to give her the personalized, superior care she deserves.

    Flu-related complications

    Pregnancy triggers changes in the immune system, heart and lungs that make expecting moms more vulnerable to severe flu symptoms and flu-related complications. New moms who just recently gave birth are also at a higher risk. It’s possible for these women to develop complications severe enough to require hospitalization, such as pneumonia.

    Flu shot benefits

    The flu shot is recommended during any trimester of pregnancy because it protects expecting moms from these medical problems during a time when health is most important.

    Since babies younger than six months cannot receive the flu shot, getting the vaccine during pregnancy passes along some protection to these infants. The expecting mom’s body manufactures antibodies in response to the flu shot. These antibodies are passed along to the baby, which offers protection during the few months of life.

    Flu shot safety

    The flu vaccine has a long track record of safety, having been given to millions of expecting moms over the years. Scientific evidence supports the safety of vaccinating pregnant women , although there isn’t quite as much evidence regarding flu shots given during the first trimester. The CDC and the FDA continue to conduct ongoing studies on vaccines to ensure that they are safe.

    Flu shot contraindications

    Women who have egg allergies should talk to their doctors before receiving the flu shot. Mild egg allergies won’t necessarily disqualify an expecting mom from getting vaccinated. However, those with life-threatening egg allergies shouldn’t be vaccinated.

    MountainView Hospital is the leading choice for expecting parents in Las Vegas. With our family-centered care, exceptional midwifery services and private birthing suites, our remodeled Labor and Delivery Unit has everything new parents need to welcome their new arrivals. A registered nurse, available at (702) 962-5021, can answer any questions you have about our maternity and childbirth services.