How Dry Needling Helps With Sports Injuries

A sports medicine physician uses dry needling for sports injuries. Several dry needles are placed around, above, and below a patient's left knee cap.

Sports medicine dry needling is a relatively new treatment based on modern Western medicine that involves inserting thin needles into the body at certain trigger points. During treatment, needles are inserted into trigger points, or tender bands of muscle or tendon. This elicits a response that releases tension and restores normal function. Dry needling is different than traditional acupuncture because it is rather more of an active technique involving multiple fenestrations into an area of the body, it applies Western medicine concepts in anatomy and physiology whereas in acupuncture, needles are usually left in place and it uses more of an Oriental/Traditional understanding of medicine.

Trigger points may provide other therapeutic benefits including:

  • Relieve muscular pain and stiffness
  • Improve flexibility
  • Increase range of motion
  • Improving life quality

Dry needling for sports injuries may also help reduce pain and inflammation, improve blood circulation, reduce anxiety and relieve tight muscles.

What can it be used for?

Dry needling can be used for tendinopathies, muscles strains and chronic pain. Though each treatment is custom tailored to your specific needs, it may be used alongside these common techniques:

  • Channel palpation
    Channel palpation is a hands-on technique that focuses on gathering diagnostic information through careful palpitation of the distal channels (areas of the body apart from but connected to the location of the sports injury). It also helps identify the precise location of the pain or injury, refine trigger point selection and improve clinical results.
  • Soft tissue release
    Sometimes called “pin and stretch,” soft tissue release therapy is a hands-on manual therapy used to restore normal flexibility to a muscle. It is particularly useful when a muscle becomes very tense and shortened from overuse (e.g., weightlifting). As this technique uses precise pressure combined with active or passive stretching along with dry needling, therapists may choose to work around the injury rather than directly on it to lessen discomfort.
  • Cupping
    Cupping is a technique that applies glass or silicone cups to the affected area through suction. From there, the cups are slid across the tight tissue to break up fascial adhesions and allow the muscles to move more freely. Fascial adhesions occur when the fascia (connective tissue) and the underlying muscle tissue get stuck together. When this happens, it can restrict muscle movement and cause pain, soreness and reduced flexibility or range of motion. Randomized clinical trials suggested significant temporary pain reduction when cupping was used on the lower back.
  • Stretching exercises
    After resetting tight or injured muscles with dry needling, stretching exercises are commonly used to help restore their full range of motion. Often, multiple stretches are needed for each area of the body, including both the affected muscles as well as those that move in the opposite direction.

Whether you’re a pro or semi-pro athlete, a college or high-school athlete, or a weekend warrior, the experienced Premier Family Medicine Physicians at Pomona Valley Health Center offer custom-tailored dry needling techniques to help you recover quickly from sprains and strains or other sports-related injuries. In addition to dry needling, our sports medicine practitioners are also skilled in the areas of joint and ultrasound-guided injections, fracture care and casting, physical therapy prescriptions, arthritis management, concussion management, non-operative treatment and general injury assessment. Call 909-378-9143 to schedule an appointment.

Stretches to Do Each Morning to Prevent Injury

A woman performs a spinal twist stretch, while laying on a blue yoga mat in her home.

As you sleep, your muscles relax, blood flow decreases, and your heart rate slows. Sleeping in a bad position for hours can reduce blood flow even further and lead to tight muscles in the morning. Morning stretches can help loosen and realign muscles, relieve any tension or pain from sleeping, increase blood flow and prepare your body for the day. Stretching in the morning also provides these benefits:

  • Improved posture
    Tight chest, back (both upper and lower) and hip muscles can cause poor posture. Most people spend at least a portion of their day with rounded shoulders and a forward-leaning head as they work on a computer or look at a phone or tablet. Morning stretches that target the pectoralis, upper trapezius and hamstring muscles can help improve your overall posture.
  • Improved range of motion
    Stretching can help improve your range of motion and help prevent loss of range of motion. As we age, our joints naturally lose mobility, but regular stretching of the affected joints can help improve flexibility.
  • Decreased back pain
    Back pain and poor posture are closely related. If we have poor posture in the upper back, the lower back overcompensates, which can lead to lower back pain. Stretching the chest, back (upper and lower), hip and leg muscles will likely help alleviate symptoms of back pain.
  • Decrease muscle soreness
    Whether you have muscle soreness in the morning from repetitive motions or exercising the day before, you may notice that it’s worse when you wake up. By stretching tight muscles first thing in the morning, you increase blood flow to the area that can help alleviate much of the pain and soreness.
  • Prevent injury
    Stretching before you start your day helps prevent injury. Stretching increases blood flow and oxygen throughout your body, which helps increase flexibility and range of motion.

The best stretches to do in the morning

  • Cobra stretch
    You can begin stretching before you get out of bed in the morning with this easy stretch. Lie on your stomach and place your hands flat on the bed directly beneath the shoulders. Tuck your elbows into your sides and gently raise your head and chest, keeping your hips and groin on the bed. Hold for 15-20 seconds, lower and repeat as needed.
  • Knees to chest
    Lie flat on your back and bring one knee in toward your chest and hold it in position with your arms or hands. This will stretch out your lower back. Hold for 15-20 seconds, lower and repeat on the opposite leg. You can also do this stretch by bringing both knees to your chest at the same time.
  • Spinal twist
    Lie flat on your back, raise one of your knees and gently roll it over to the opposite side of your body. Keeping both shoulders on the bed or floor, you can also stretch one arm directly out to the side and slowly turn your head in the same direction as the outstretched arm if it feels comfortable. Hold for 15-20 seconds, breathe deeply, and repeat on the opposite side.
  • Upper back stretch
    Sit on the edge of your bed and place your feet flat on the floor. Next, interlock your fingers and reach forward at shoulder level, bending from the middle of your back. You should feel the stretch between the shoulder blades.
  • Quad and hamstring stretch
    Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart, reach back and take your left foot with your left hand. While keeping your thigh parallel to the floor, feel the stretch in your left thigh and hips. Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat with your right leg. Return to standing position and gently bend one knee as if you’re going into a sitting position. Place the opposite leg out and point your toes toward the ceiling. Bend slightly forward from the hips and feel the stretch along the back of your outstretched leg. Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat on the other leg.

Always stretch safely

It’s important to listen to your body and stretch only as far as you feel comfortable. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t very flexible at first; your body should become more flexible with regular stretching. If you experience any sharp or shooting pain while stretching, ease off the stretch completely.

Follow these simple morning stretches to avoid common workplace injuries. If you or someone you work with does become injured on the job, the experienced Premier Family Medicine physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers offer specialized treatment and disability management for injured workers through our occupational medicine program at our Claremont, La Verne and Chino Hills Crossroads locations. Call 909-378-9143 to schedule an appointment.

Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness and promote regular screening and early detection of breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer among U.S. women, right after skin cancer, and is their second leading cause of death. According to the National Cancer Institute, women have about a 1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer at some time during their lives.

For many women, early-stage breast cancer is asymptomatic, which means they do not have any warning signs or symptoms. That’s why preventive health screenings, like mammograms and annual well-woman exams with your family medicine doctor or gynecologist, are so important. With regular monitoring, your doctor can identify, diagnose and treat breast cancer before it becomes untreatable. Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer while it is still in the early stages have an extremely good chance of being cured.

What is an annual well-woman exam?

A well-woman exam is an annual physical conducted to monitor not only your reproductive health but your breast health as well. It’s a vital part of identifying serious health concerns before they become life-threatening. During a well-woman exam, your doctor will perform a visual and manual exam of your breasts. If they notice anything unusual, they will likely recommend a mammogram or breast ultrasound.

How to check for breast cancer at home

Breast cancer awareness should last long after your annual well-woman exam. While your doctor examines your breasts and nearby lymph nodes once a year, that’s not enough to keep you safe. Every woman should perform a breast self-exam about 3-5 days after her period starts every month. Here’s how to check for breast cancer at home:

  1. First, stand in front of a mirror with your shoulders back and your hands on your hips and look for any changes in the size, shape and color of your breasts. They should be evenly shaped and have no visible signs of distortion or swelling. If you notice any of the following, visit your family medicine doctor or gynecologist right away:
    • Dimpling, puckering or bulging of the skin
    • A nipple that has changed position or becomes inverted (pushed inward)
    • Redness, soreness, rash or swelling
  2. Second, raise your arms directly over your head and check for the same changes as well as any signs of discharge (clear, white or opaque, yellow, red or brown fluid) coming out of one or both nipples.
  3. Next, find a comfortable and private spot to lie down. Raise your right hand over your head and place the first three fingers of your left hand (fingers flat and together) on your right breast. While making small circular motions, firmly but smoothly move your fingers around your breast, being sure to cover the entire breast from the collarbone to the top of the abdomen and from the armpit to the cleavage. You can alternate between low, medium and high pressure as you move across your breast to ensure you feel all the tissue from the front to the back of the breast.
  4. Last, return to a standing position and reexamine the breasts again, using the same hand movements as described in step three.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer

While early-stage breast cancer may not present with symptoms, as it progresses, many women experience the following:

  • Breast discomfort
  • Inverted nipples
  • Change in the shape, size or texture of the nipple or breast
  • Red or swollen lymph nodes
  • Lump in the breast
  • Bloody discharge from the nipple

What to do if you find a lump

The first thing you should do if you find a lump in your breast is to take a deep breath and try not to panic. In truth, most women have some lumps or lumpy areas in their breasts all the time and most abnormal breast lumps turn out to be benign (noncancerous). Next, we recommend scheduling an appointment with one of the skilled Premier family medicine doctors at Pomona Valley Health Center. If they confirm your diagnosis, they will refer you to the Robert & Beverly Lewis Cancer Care Center at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, which offers high-quality and nationally recognized cancer care services.

If you’d like to learn more about breast cancer awareness or schedule a well-woman exam, mammogram or another physical exam, call Pomona Valley Health Center at 909-378-9143. The board-certified Premier Family Medicine physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers are highly experienced and skilled in the science of medicine and the art of compassionate care.

World Menopause Awareness Day

World Menopause Awareness Day is observed every year on October 18 to help raise awareness of the impact menopause can have on a woman’s everyday life. This year’s theme is bone health. As women reach menopause, they’re more susceptible to things like broken bones, fractures and osteoporosis (weak and brittle bones) because of decreasing estrogen levels. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, postmenopausal women experience bone loss between 1.3-1.5% at the lumbar (lower) spine and 1.4% at the femoral neck (upper portion of the femur or thighbone) each year.

Five ways to protect your bone health during and after menopause

Approximately 1 in 2 postmenopausal women over age 50 will experience a broken bone because of bone loss. Here are five ways you can protect and strengthen your bones as you age:

  1. Take a daily supplement
    Take a daily vitamin D and calcium supplement to ensure your body has what it needs to stay healthy. Bones are like reservoirs of calcium for the rest of the body, and as the body ages, it will take this calcium to supplement a deficiency in other areas if needed.
  2. Eat a well-balanced diet
    Fill your plate with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to help maintain the blood’s pH balance, which is important for keeping bones strong. Increased acidity in the blood enhances the activity of osteoclasts, large cells that are responsible for the dissolution and absorption of bone.
  3. Engage in regular exercise
    Weight-bearing exercises like walking, hiking, jogging or climbing stairs as well as resistance exercises, like lifting weights, are the best things you can do to help strengthen your bones.
  4. Stop smoking
    The nicotine in cigarettes slows down the production of bone-producing cells and decreases the body’s ability to absorb calcium, which leads to a reduction in bone density over time.
  5. Limit alcohol intake

Chronic, heavy alcohol consumption compromises bone health and increases the risk of osteoporosis.

Common symptoms of menopause

While bone health is a major health concern for women between the ages of 45 and 55, there is much more to consider. Menopause Awareness Day encompasses everything a woman experiences before, during and after menopause. If you have any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, ask your doctor about possible treatment options:

  • Hot flashes
  • Insomnia
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Low libido
  • Anxiety
  • Night sweats
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering

Your doctor may recommend things like estrogen creams, lubricants or moisturizers to help alleviate some of the most uncomfortable symptoms, like vaginal dryness. They may also refer you to a menopausal specialist for further guidance if symptoms worsen or do not improve with treatment.

The Premier Family Medicine physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers provide expert care for women’s health issues during every stage of their lives—from adolescence to menopause and beyond. Call us at 909-378-9143 to schedule an appointment today.

National Wellness Month

How often does your health and wellness get put on the back burner? You tell yourself, “I’ll wake up early and go for that run tomorrow,” or “I’ll eat better after I get back from vacation.” If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. According to a recent report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 23% of Americans are meeting all national physical activity guidelines.

National Wellness Month is a nationally recognized month dedicated to self-care, managing stress and creating healthy routines. This August, the PREMIER family medicine physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers encourage you to make healthy lifestyle changes and increase your physical activity so you can feel more energized and less stressed.

Physical activity guidelines for adults

Here are physical activity guidelines for adults as recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

  • At least 150 – 200 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week. This equates to 30 moderate minutes or 15 vigorous minutes of aerobic exercise per day (over 5 days).
  • At least 2 days of muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups per week.

Jumpstart your wellness in five easy steps

We don’t want your journey toward wellness to be overwhelming. Feeling good should be fun. Here are five ways you can celebrate National Wellness Month and begin making important lifestyle changes that will benefit you for years to come:

  1. Exercise
    Start by taking a brisk, 30-minute walk around your neighborhood each day and you will quickly notice a difference. Not only does physical activity benefit your mental health, but it also helps you maintain a healthy weight, boosts energy levels and assists with pain management. Spending time in nature can also help improve memory, lower blood pressure and boost mood.
  2. Drink more water
    Staying hydrated is the best thing you can do for your body, especially during these hot summer months. Water is essential for carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells, flushing bacteria from your bladder, regulating your blood pressure and protecting your organs and tissues.
  3. Get plenty of rest
    Sleep plays a big role in your mental and physical well-being, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough. Adults who get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night have a lower risk of depression, anxiety, memory loss, illness and obesity.
  4. Cut back on sugar and load up on fruits and vegetables
    A healthy diet is essential for good health and nutrition. Limiting sugars and filling your plate with leafy greens, lean meats and whole grains can help lower your risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Skipping foods that are high in salt, sugar, and saturated and trans fats is also important for maintaining a healthy diet.
  5. Stop scrolling
    A digital detox can help with anxiety, sleep, mood and more. Turn off your devices about 1 hour before bedtime to allow your brain to wind down before falling asleep.

The experienced PREMIER family medicine physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers can treat a range of health issues, illnesses and injuries in infants, children, adolescents, adults and seniors. Call 909-378-9143 to schedule an appointment.

Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month at Pomona Valley Health Centers. It’s the perfect time to raise awareness about preventing eye injuries and vision loss as kids across the country head back to in-person learning this fall.

It’s important for parents to take an active role in their children’s eye health, which is why this month we’re dedicated to spreading information about the importance of healthy vision, teaching parents about early detection, raising awareness about preventing eye injuries and saving children’s eyesight by working closely with teachers.

Why are eye exams important for kids?

Children’s eye exams are essential for making sure your child’s eyes are healthy. Vision issues can lead to learning problems and behavioral issues in children, but early diagnosis and treatment can give children the tools they need to succeed. About 80% of what children learn in school is taught visually, which means if a child has undetected and uncorrected vision problems, they are more likely to struggle developmentally and academically at school.

Warning signs your child may have vision problems

Some warning signs your child may be struggling to see clearly are:

  • Tilting the head or squinting to see things at a distance
  • Frequent eye rubbing while concentrating
  • Holding a book too close or sitting too close to the television
  • Consistently using his fingers as guides while reading
  • Closing one eye to read or watch television
  • Excessive or unexplained tearing
  • Eye discomfort while using the computer or other electronic device
  • Sensitivity to light with headache or nausea

The best way to protect your child’s eyesight

Aside from looking for some of the warning signs listed above, it’s important to protect your child’s eyes from injuries by ensuring that their toys are age-appropriate and free of sharp or protruding parts and that they always wear protective lenses while playing sports.

Your child should have a comprehensive eye exam by a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist at 6 months old and then again at 3 years old. If everything looks good, their next exam should be shortly before they begin first grade.

Children who do need corrective lenses should get their eyes examined at least once every year or as recommended by their doctor. If your school-aged child does not need corrective lenses, however, they should have their eyes examined at least every 2 years. A good rule of thumb is to have your child’s eyes examined during their annual well-child visit, beginning at age 3. Your family medicine doctor can help detect things like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism as well as the following diseases:

  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Strabismus (crossed eyes)
  • Ptosis (drooping of the eyelid)
  • Color deficiency (color blindness)

Protect your child’s health with help from Pomona Valley Health Centers. Our PREMIER family medicine physicians are highly experienced in the science of medicine and the art of compassionate care. We provide regular vision screens along with every comprehensive wellness exam and are dedicated to the health and wellness of your family. Call 909-378-9143 to schedule an appointment.

How Eating Habits Can Prevent Diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes in the United States. If it was contagious, it would be considered an epidemic. The good news is prediabetes and type 2 diabetes can be largely prevented by making a few lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Keeping weight under control
  • Exercising more
  • Eating a healthy diet

Relationship between diet and diabetes

When you eat, your body converts most of the food you digest into glucose (a type of sugar), your body’s preferred carb-based energy source. A hormone called insulin (produced in the pancreas) allows this glucose to enter all the cells of your body. When someone has type 2 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or the body’s cells can’t use insulin properly. This is known as insulin resistance, which means there is too much sugar in the blood.

Evidence suggests high-sugar diets can lead to obesity, chronic inflammation and high triglyceride levels. Obesity is the strongest risk factor for diabetes.

10 Foods to avoid

Certain types of food can lead to obesity if consumed regularly over an extended period of time. Here are 10 foods to avoid when you’re trying to lose weight and lower your risk of diabetes:

  1. White bread
    White bread is highly refined, contains high amounts of added sugar and can spike your blood sugar levels. Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious, whole-grain options available.
  2. French fries and potato chips
    French fries and potato chips are unhealthy and fattening. Not only are they high in calories and trans fats, but they’ve also been linked to weight gain.
  3. Candy bars
    Skip these high-calorie, low-nutrient snacks that are jam-packed with sugar, oils and refined flour. Satisfy your craving with a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts instead.
  4. Sugary drinks
    Sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, are strongly associated with weight gain and can have disastrous effects when consumed in excess. Eliminating these from your diet is highly recommended.                          
  5. Most fruit juices
    Most fruit juices are highly processed, loaded with sugar and bear no resemblance to whole fruit. The next time you’re looking for a snack, fill up on a piece of whole fruit instead.
  6. Cakes, cookies and pastries
    Cakes, cookies and pastries are filled with unhealthy ingredients like added sugar, refined (white) flour and trans fats, which can all lead to unwanted weight gain. The next time you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, try a small portion of dark chocolate.
  7. Alcohol
    Alcohol, particularly beer, provides more calories than carbs and protein and has also been linked to weight gain. If you’re trying to lose weight or manage symptoms of diabetes, consider skipping alcoholic beverages altogether.
  8. Ice cream
    Store-bought ice cream is high in sugar, so try making homemade ice cream using less sugar and healthier ingredients (like full-fat yogurt and fruit) and be mindful of portions.
  9. Pizza
    Commercial pizzas are often made with highly processed and refined ingredients. A homemade pizza with healthier ingredients is a much better option.
  10. High-calorie coffee drinks
    Plain, black coffee can be very healthy and help you burn fat. Skip the high-calorie coffee drinks that contain artificial ingredients, as they can contribute to unwanted weight gain.

4 Types of foods to eat

Keeping your weight in check, being active every day and eating a healthy diet can help prevent most cases of type 2 diabetes. Here are four dietary changes that can significantly lower your risk:

  • Eat whole grains
    Choose whole grains and whole-grain products over refined grains and other highly processed carbohydrates.
  • Drink more water
    Skip the sugary drinks and reach for water, coffee or tea instead.
  • Choose healthy fats
    Avoid trans fats often found in fast foods, packaged goods and fill your plate with avocados, peanut butter, nuts, seeds and fish instead.
  • Limit red and processed meats
    Limit red meat (beef, lamb, pork) consumption to 2-3 times per week and swap processed red meats (bacon, hot dogs, deli meats) for poultry, fish, low-fat dairy and nuts.

“You are what you eat,” is a phrase you’ve likely heard a lot, and for good reason. Food is fuel for your body, so the healthier you eat, the healthier you’ll be. Choosing healthy foods will not only lower your risk of chronic health conditions like diabetes, but you’ll also feel better and have more energy to do the things you love. Call Pomona Valley Health Centers at 909-378-9173 to learn more or schedule an appointment.

How to Stay Safe on the Fourth of July

The July 4th weekend is almost here, and that means a fun, extended weekend for many Americans. But as you gather around the picnic table, campfire or fireworks display for loads of fun and merriment, it’s important to understand the risks and importance of Fourth of July safety as well.

The approaching holiday often includes excessive drinking and fireworks. Mid-summer heat can quickly lead to heat-related illnesses as well. According to Pew Research Center, more Americans visit the emergency room on July 4th and 5th than any other days of the year, making it one of the most dangerous weekends of the year.

Fourth of July safety tips

Stay safe this holiday weekend with these tips:

  • Watch professional fireworks
    If not handled properly, fireworks can cause burns as well as hand and eye injuries in both kids and adults. In fact, something as simple as a sparkler can cause third-degree burns. The best way to protect your family and friends is to not use any fireworks at home.
  • Drink plenty of water
    The best thing you can do for your body is to keep it cool during hot summer days and outdoor events. Wear a hat, loose clothing, sunscreen and sunglasses to help keep your body temperature from rising too much. Drink plenty of water and eat foods that are water-rich like watermelon, cucumbers and peaches.
  • Avoid foods that spoil easily in the heat
    If you arrive late to a picnic or barbeque, it can be difficult to know how long the food has been left unrefrigerated. Play it safe and avoid anything that could contain dairy, mayonnaise, fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood and fried chicken. And when in doubt, skip it.
  • Practice practical safety
    First and foremost, stay home if you are feeling unwell or have a fever or symptoms of COVID-19. Before heading out for your weekend of fun, it’s important to be prepared, so you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions:

    • Do I need a designated driver? If so, who will it be?
    • Do I need any safety equipment (e.g., a life vest)?
    • Did I remember my water bottle and sunscreen?
    • Do I have a first aid kit with band aids, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, gauze and scissors?
    • Do I know where to go in case of emergency?

Common Fourth of July injuries

For many families across the United States, the Fourth of July is a time for enjoying friends, family, barbeques and fireworks. But along with all that fun can come plenty of opportunities for getting hurt. Here are five common Fourth of July injuries:

  • Hand and face injuries
    Sparklers may look beautiful, but they can still cause serious burns to the skin. If you or your children are planning to use sparklers this Fourth of July holiday, keep a bucket full of water nearby, keep your arms fully extended away from your face and body when using them and only light them in wide open spaces (and far away from anything flammable).
  • Dehydration or heat stroke
    Fourth of July safety includes keeping track of your water intake and ensuring you stay hydrated and cool. Drink plenty of water and take lots of breaks in the shade or indoors to avoid dehydration or stroke. Symptoms of heatstroke include fast heartbeat, rapid breathing, dizziness, confusion, headache, nausea or fainting. Call 911 if the person becomes unconscious.
  • Food poisoning
    Heat causes bacteria to multiply faster, so avoid undercooked meats and perishables that have been left unrefrigerated for more than an hour. Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea and can begin as soon as 30 minutes after exposure.
  • Car accidents
    July 4th is one of the most dangerous driving days of the year according to the National Safety Council. To make sure you get to and from your events safely, prepare your car before you go (e.g., check oil, tire pressure, etc.), drive the speed limit, avoid distractions (e.g., cell phones), buckle up and designate a sober driver or arrange alternate transportation if you plan to drink alcohol.
  • Boating accidents
    Many people take to the water on holiday weekends, so there is more potential for injury. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe by inspecting all floatation devices on board. Make sure you have an experienced driver and captain who follows all rules of navigation and speed limits.

If you’ve been seriously injured and in need of urgent medical treatment, visit your local Pomona Valley Health Center urgent care or call 909-378-9512 right away.

We offer well-equipped urgent care centers in Claremont, Chino Hills and LaVerne. We are open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m – 8 p.m. and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on weekends and most holidays. Our hours for the 4th and 5th of July are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

National Cancer Survivors Day – June 6, 2021

June 6 is National Cancer Survivors Day in the United States this year. It’s an annual celebration of life for the more than 16.9 million cancer survivors across America.

How to celebrate

Each year, celebrations of all sizes are held in communities across the nation and around the world on the first Sunday in June. Local towns, cities, hospitals and support groups usually host events like parades, carnivals, art exhibits, contests and testimonies to honor local cancer survivors.

It is a time to celebrate those who’ve survived, inspire those who’ve been recently diagnosed, support families who’ve been impacted, and reach out into the community to raise awareness. It is also a day to raise awareness about the ongoing challenges that cancer survivors face in order to promote more resources, research and survivor-friendly legislation to improve their quality of life.

Cancer survivorship challenges

Thanks to advances in prevention, early detection, treatment and aftercare, more people than ever before are surviving the disease. While surviving cancer is certainly something to celebrate, it can leave behind its own set of unique challenges. Physical, emotional and financial hardships can continue for many years after treatment ends, including:

  1. Limited access to cancer specialists and promising new treatments
  2. Denial of health insurance and life insurance coverage
  3. Difficulty finding jobs
  4. Economic burdens due to mounting medical expenses, lost wages and reduced productivity
  5. Emotional struggles like strains on personal relationships and the profound fear of a cancer relapse

How to support a cancer survivor

Aftercare can be one of the most challenging times for cancer survivors because they feel different than they did before cancer. They need to adjust to their “new normal” where they aren’t visiting a doctor’s office or hospital on a regular basis. They may feel anxious about their future and have physical limitations as a result of treatment. Here are some ways you can show support:

  • Show up
    Perhaps one of the best things you can do for your loved one is just show up and take care of things like laundry, dishes, shopping or cleaning. Many people will decline assistance when asked, so let them know how you plan to help them through the next phase of their recovery
  • Be a good listener
    It’s human nature to want to fix things and make your loved one feel better, but sometimes they may just want to be heard. Lend an ear and let them know you want to hear how they’re doing.
  • Understand long-term side effects
    It can be tempting to try to get back to normal, but it’s crucial to follow their lead. It’s important for survivors to pace themselves and only plan a reasonable amount of daily activity based on where they are in recovery.

Pomona Valley Health Centers has a team of family medicine doctors ready to help you and your loved ones. We provide routine exams, prevention screening and treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries in infants, children, adolescents, adults and seniors. Call 909-378-9173 to schedule an appointment.

Three Easy Ways to Stop Eating Sugar

Eating too much sugar can not only cause weight gain, but it can also affect the elasticity of your skin, which can lead to premature wrinkles. Too much sugar can damage elastin and collagen molecules in the skin, which can lead to dark circles, wrinkles, dehydrated skin and can fast-track the aging process. But that’s not all. Overconsumption of sugar can lead to a host of more serious health conditions like high blood pressure, inflammation, diabetes, heart disease and fatty liver disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average daily intake of sugars in 2018 was 17 teaspoons for children and adults (ages 2 and up). For comparison, the American Heart Association suggests an added-sugar limit of no more than 100 calories per day (about 6 teaspoons) for most women and no more than 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons) for most men.

As you can see, most children and adults in America are consuming more than double the suggested amount of sugar each day.

Seven health risks of too much sugar

Here are seven health risks of eating too much sugar:

  1. Weight gain
    Rates of obesity are on the rise across the globe, and added sugar, especially from sugar-sweetened beverages, is thought to be one of the main culprits. Moreover, overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to an increased amount of visceral fat in the abdomen, which is a type of fat associated with conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
  2. Heart disease
    High-sugar diets can lead to obesity, inflammation and high triglyceride, blood sugar and blood pressure levels, which are all risk factors for heart disease. Heart disease is a collection of diseases and conditions that cause cardiovascular problems like diseased vessels, structural problems and blood clots.
  3. Acne
    Sugary foods can quickly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, which leads to increased androgen secretion, oil production and inflammation. All of these side effects can contribute to acne development.
  4. Type 2 diabetes
    Prolonged high-sugar consumption contributes to resistance to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance causes blood sugar levels to rise and strongly increases your risk of diabetes.
  5. Cancer
    A diet rich in sugary foods and beverages can lead to obesity, which significantly increases your risk of cancer. It can also lead to inflammation in your body, which can lead to insulin resistance, both of which can increase your risk of cancer.
  6. Depression
    Overconsumption of processed foods, like cakes and sugary drinks, has been associated with a higher risk of depression. Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest and can interfere with your daily functioning.
  7. Fatty liver disease
    In the liver, fructose (sugar) is converted into energy or stored as glycogen. However, the liver can only store so much glycogen before excess amounts are turned into fat. This can lead to fatty liver disease.

How to eat less sugar

Here are three easy ways to stop eating sugar:

  1. Eat fresh fruit
    Fresh fruits are better for you than canned fruits because the processing removes all of the nutrients. Canning fruit in high fructose corn syrup coats pieces of fruit with lots of added sugar. For example, one-half cup of canned pears contains as many as 12 grams of high fructose corn syrup, whereas one-half cup of freshly sliced pears contains about 7 grams of natural sugars. Natural sources of sugar are digested slower and help you feel full for a longer time. It also helps keep your metabolism stable.
  2. Opt for diet or non-soda carbonated beverages
    The healthiest beverage is, of course, water, but if you would like a better alternative to regular soda, opt for a diet option or non-soda carbonated beverage instead. Regular soda is generally a mixture of carbonated water and sweeteners, like high fructose corn syrup or sucrose, phosphoric acid and caffeine. One 12-ounce can of regular soda contains 10-11 teaspoons of sugar. Diet soda contains similar ingredients but uses sugar substitutes like aspartame, acesulfame, potassium, sucralose and stevia.
  3. Watch serving sizes
    Knowing the correct portion or serving sizes can help limit your daily intake of sugar. Serving sizes have become distorted from actual portions, especially at restaurants. One way to avoid overeating is to ask for a to-go container right away and store half before you begin eating. If you have type 1 diabetes, the reason portions are so important is your insulin dose is based on what you eat. If you have type 2 diabetes, overdoing it on portions can directly affect your blood sugar.

Sugar can lead to a number of serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure. For these reasons and more, added sugar should be kept at a minimum whenever possible, which is easier when you eat a healthy diet based on whole foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains.

Delicious snacks that are naturally low in sugar

Choosing healthy snacks can be tricky, especially if you’re constantly on the go. Here are some delicious snack options that are good for you and naturally low in sugar:

  • Carrots with ranch dip
  • Vegetables with hummus dip
  • Pepper jack cheese sticks
  • Grapefruit
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Berries with cottage cheese
  • Granny smith apple with peanut butter
  • Roasted and salted pistachios
  • Dry roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
  • Dried fruits and nuts trail mix

If you’d like to learn more about the types of lifestyle changes you can make to improve your overall health or need ongoing care for chronic conditions, call Pomona Valley Health Centers at 909-378-9173 and schedule an appointment.

Best Ways to Drink More Water

Medically Reviewed by Carlos A. Baez, M.D.

Your body is about 60 percent water. Water is crucial to every single bodily function. So why is it so easy to overlook in our daily lives?

Often, when people get a headache or begin to feel weak, they mistake this sensation of thirst as a need to eat or rest. It’s also not uncommon to reach for a sugary soda or caffeinated drink instead of water, which can make dehydration worse.

Health effects of chronic dehydration

You may think that being slightly dehydrated isn’t a big deal, but it is. More than 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated, drinking an average of just 2.5 glasses of water per day. Did you know 2.5 cups is the approximate amount we lose through normal bodily functions like breathing, perspiring and having urine and bowel movements each day? This doesn’t include doing things like walking, talking, lifting or the million other things your body does.

If you’re wondering how it’s possible to be dehydrated even when you don’t feel thirsty, it’s important to understand the lack of thirst recognition decreases with age. People also tend to misunderstand or suppress the sensation of thirst. Children are also at risk for chronic dehydration as they are unable to differentiate between thirst, hunger or fatigue.

For your body to function properly, it’s important to replenish your water supply daily so you can avoid the negative effects of dehydration. If you’re chronically dehydrated, you can develop other health conditions. Symptoms like nausea, headaches, dizziness and muscle cramping may continue or worsen as your dehydration progresses. Ongoing, or chronic, dehydration has been linked to the following conditions:

  1. Decreased kidney function
  2. Kidney stones
  3. Hypertension
  4. Urinary tract infections
  5. Intestinal failure
  6. Dementia

If these conditions seem unsettling, consider this: Scientists are just beginning to understand the many negative effects chronic dehydration has on our bodies.

Signs and symptoms of chronic dehydration

When you’re dehydrated, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Dry or flaky skin
  • Constipation
  • Constant fatigue
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Ongoing muscle weakness or fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Frequent headaches

Additionally, your doctor may look for things like concentrated blood volume, abnormal electrolyte levels and reduced kidney function over time.

Drinking more water can make you healthier

Here are 12 science-based health benefits of drinking enough water every day:

  1. Joints
    Water helps keep the joints lubricated. Cartilage, which is found in the joints and discs of the spine, is about 80 percent water. Chronic dehydration can reduce the joints’ ability to absorb shock (e.g. walking running, cycling or hiking), which can lead to joint pain and stiffness.
  2. Saliva and mucus
    Saliva is important for digestion and helps keep the mouth, nose and eyes moist, which can help prevent friction and damage. Drinking enough water also helps keep the mouth clean, which can help prevent things like gum disease and tooth decay.
  3. Oxygenated blood
    Blood is more than 90 percent water, so the more hydrated someone is, the more efficiently blood can move through their body and carry oxygen to organs, muscles and tissues.
  4. Skin health and elasticity
    When a person is chronically dehydrated, they have a much higher risk of skin disorders and premature wrinkling.
  5. Brain, spinal cord and other sensitive tissues
    Water cushions the brain, spinal cord and other sensitive tissues. When there isn’t enough water, it can negatively impact the structure and function of the brain. Water also helps in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters, which control the ability to reason and think.
  6. Body temperature
    Some scientists have suggested that when there isn’t enough water in the body, heat storage increases, diminishing a person’s ability to tolerate heat strain. Moreover, if a person is dehydrated, the body is unable to cool itself effectively using perspiration.
  7. Digestion
    The bowels need water to function properly. Dehydration can lead to things like constipation and an overly acidic stomach, which increases the risk of heartburn and stomach ulcers.
  8. Body waste
    Water is essential for flushing toxins out of the body through perspiration and voiding (e.g., urine and feces).
  9. Blood pressure
    Lack of water can lead to thicker blood, which increases blood pressure.
  10. Kidneys
    The kidneys help clean the blood and regulate fluid in the body. Insufficient water can lead to kidney stones and other health problems.
  11. Physical performance
    Dehydration may reduce physical performance when activities are 30 minutes or longer.
  12. Weight loss
    Drinking a glass of water before meals can help prevent overeating by supporting a sense of fullness.

How to drink more water throughout the day

Learning how to drink more water can be boring and repetitive, but these ten easy strategies may help you drink more water throughout the day, easily:

  1. Start your mornings with water
    Drink a glass of warm water, flavored with lemon, each morning soon after you wake up and before eating breakfast to encourage healthy digestion and hydration.
  2. Give your water a fruity upgrade
    There are many things you can add to water to make it more fun to drink. Try infusing it with things like grapefruit, lemons, strawberries, cucumbers, ginger, basil, mint or even lavender until you find one you love.
  3. Drink a glass after every bathroom break
    Making it a habit to drink a glass of water after every bathroom break will help keep your body healthy and free of toxins (because you’ll be voiding more often) and help you drink more water (because you’re voiding more often).
  4. Drink water before meals
    Another good habit to build is drinking a glass of water before sitting down to a meal. This will help you prevent overeating, which is also helpful if you’re trying to lose weight.
  5. Try a tracker app
    Drinking more water can be easier (and more fun) when you do it with an app like Daily Water Free. Just download, set your reminders and stay hydrated while you scroll.
  6. Keep a large container of water nearby
    If you’re like most people, having a constant reminder to drink water is a good way to drink more water. Place a large container at your workstation, kitchen counter or anywhere you spend the majority of your day. The visual cue will help you remember to stay hydrated.
  7. Use a marked water bottle
    If you make lists just to cross things off of it, this one might be for you. Track your water throughout the day on a marked water bottle. It’s a great way to see your progress and encourage you to stay on track. You can also set mini-goals or targets throughout the day to stay on track.
  8. Dilute sugary drinks with water and ice
    If you’re drinking something sweet like iced tea or lemonade, try watering down your beverage with water and ice to increase your intake of water.
  9. Reach for sparkling water or mineral water instead of soda
    The sugar and caffeine in sodas can worsen symptoms of dehydration, so try fizzy alternatives instead. Sparkling water with a squeeze of lime may satisfy your soda craving, and it’ll help keep you better hydrated.
  10. Eat water-rich foods
    A lot of people forget to factor in food to their daily intake of water, but there are plenty of delicious options that can help with hydration like watermelon, cucumber, zucchini, strawberries, peaches and lettuce. Try replacing your regular lunch with a colorful salad to help you stay healthy and hydrated.
  11. One glass of water to one glass of alcohol
    If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, please do so responsibly and be sure to alternate one glass of water to every one glass of alcohol. Not only will this help prevent hangovers, but it will also help keep you hydrated.
  12. Add in reps of water with your workout
    When you’re at the gym, it can be easy to focus on your workout and forget to stay hydrated. Make a deal with yourself that after each exercise (or a set number of minutes) you stop to hydrate. It will help boost your performance and aid in recovery.

If you or a loved one is exhibiting signs of severe dehydration, seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent further complications like stroke or seizures. Call Pomona Valley Health Centers at 909-378-9512 to find out how we can help you safely and quickly rehydrate so you can feel better fast.

How to Reduce Workplace Injuries and Accidents

Medically reviewed by Saman Aboudi MD, Medical Director, PVHC Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine, Premier Family Medicine Associates

Staff at a work site

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, private industry employers reported 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and accidents in 2019. On average, the cost per medically consulted injury, which means the employee needed medical attention, was $42,000. This includes estimates of lost wages, medical expenses, administrative expenses and other employer costs.

As you can see, workplace injuries and accidents can not only negatively impact productivity and morale, but they can also be costly and time-consuming for businesses.

Ten tips for Preventing Workplace Injuries

The best way to avoid these costs is to avoid injuries altogether. Here are 10 ways you can reduce your risk:

  1. Offer accident prevention and wellness programs
    Choose a program that covers all levels of employee safety and health with the encouragement to report hazardous situations, practices or behavior.
  2. Require mandatory pre-employment physicals
    This is especially important if you are hiring for a position that will be required to operate machinery and/or lift heavy objects regularly. Screening applicants is a safeguard for businesses and helps ensure employees are placed in appropriate positions that match their physical capabilities.
  3. Provide ongoing education for employees and management staff
    Safety standards need to be cultivated across all levels of your business. Make it a priority to train employees about the importance of following safety measures often. Supplemental training in body mechanics can further reduce the risk of strain injuries and help keep your employees safe while lifting and moving.
  4. Issue adequate safety equipment to all employees
    Personal protection equipment is essential for on-the-job safety and should be enforced at hiring, during meetings and with spontaneous monitoring. It’s important for employees to know how to wear and use the equipment properly, so take time to demonstrate how to properly use things like goggles, face protection, gloves, hard hats, earplugs and safety shoes.
  5. Hire enough employees
    Overworked employees may suffer from exhaustion and cut corners to meet or exceed output. Hiring part-time or seasonal staff can help lower your risk of workplace injury.
  6. Know your businesses vulnerabilities
    Each business is unique, so it’s important to understand your specific safety concerns. If you notice similar injuries being reported, then it’s time to develop strategies to prevent these issues from continuing.
  7. Do not take shortcuts
    Train employees to understand that delivering quality products or services is your top priority, and quantity—though important—is second. Employees who feel immense pressure to meet daily outputs are more likely to skip steps, which can put their safety at risk. Make sure all instructions are clear and organized to avoid preventable injuries.
  8. Inspect and maintain all company vehicles
    According to recent Occupational Safety and Health Act findings, workplace driving accidents cost employers approximately $60 billion a year. Lower your risk with monthly inspections of all vehicles and repair issues as soon as possible.
  9. Reward safe employees
    Show your employees just how valuable maintaining safety standards is by rewarding those who consistently abide by the standards and/or stay injury-free for a specified amount of time.
  10. Stay organized
    Poor housekeeping can cause serious health and safety hazards in the workplace. Hard hat areas should be well marked with adequate foot path markings, be free of debris or other materials and have plenty of stations available for cleaning up spills, etc.

If an employee is hurt on the job, contact Pomona Valley Health Centers. We are proud to deliver specialized treatment and disability management for injured workers through our occupational medicine program. For questions and inquiries, please call 909-378-8865 and speak with one of our specialists.

How Do You Know If You Have Sleep Apnea?

Medically reviewed by Dennis H. Nicholson, MD, Medical Director, PVHMC Sleep Disorders Center

Pediatric (childhood) Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly is partially or completely blocked during sleep. If your child regularly feels tired after a full night of rest, has trouble with hyperactivity, poor school grades, difficulty paying attention in class, you may want to talk to your doctor about a sleep disorder evaluation.

The most common culprit in children are enlarged tonsils or adenoids. Childhood obesity can cause or contribute to Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If you notice your child snores or breathes loudly during sleep, the board-certified physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers encourage you to visit our Sleep Disorders Center to help your child get better, healthier sleep.

Types of sleep apnea

The two types of sleep apnea are:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
    This is the most common type of sleep apnea and occurs when the muscles in your throat intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep. Children with OSA may be transiently aroused from sleep and occasional may awaken up for a few seconds to gasp for air. In severe cases, brief arousals can happen hundreds of times a night.
  • Central sleep apnea:
  • Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain doesn’t send correct signals to the muscles in your throat that control breathing. This condition also causes breathing to start and stop repeatedly during sleep. If left untreated, this condition may adversely affect your heart health. Central sleep apnea is much less common in children except in premature or term infants.

Common allergies that may increase sleep apnea risk

Nasal allergies may not specifically cause sleep apnea, there does seem to be a connection. Those with allergic rhinitis (e.g. hay fever) have a higher risk of experiencing longer and more frequent obstructive sleep apneas.

Why? Warm temperatures push pollen and other common allergens like mold spores, dust and pet dander into the air, but cooler air at night means these allergens fall back down and cover surfaces at night. If your child collects pollen (or other allergens) in their hair or clothes over the course of the day, it can increase their risk of bedtime allergy and sleep apnea symptoms. This combination can leave them struggling to get the restorative sleep they need.

Labored breathing occurs when the upper airway narrows as a result of congestion. This can lead to more frequent breathing disruptions, which interrupt the body’s natural sleep cycles and leave your child irritable and tired. Inflammation can also create a buildup of pressure that contributes to headaches, teeth grinding and an increased risk of repeated apneas.

How to avoid sleep apnea emergencies

Sleep apnea could put you or your child’s life at risk, so it’s important to understand how to manage it and alleviate severe symptoms. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best treatment for your child’s sleep disorder. Following evaluation by our Sleep Disorders specialist treatment options may include:

  • Topical or oral medications
    Topical nasal steroids, like might ease sleep apnea symptoms for some children with mild obstructive sleep apnea. For kids with allergies, Singulair has been known to help relieve symptoms and may be used with nasal steroids.
  • Tonsils and adenoid removal
    For moderate to severe sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend removing the tonsils and adenoids to help improve obstructive sleep apnea. The procedure opens the airway and is performed by an ear, nose and throat specialist.
  • Evaluation of the palate and dental condition:
    • A narrow hard palate (roof of mouth) can sometimes be expanded with use of dental devices. These devices are used to expand the palate and open the airway in children. Palatal expansion may be of especial value if Adeno-tonsillectomy fails to resolve OSA (about 15% of patients)
  • Positive airway pressure therapy
    Either a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or a bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP) machine may be recommended for more severe cases of sleep apnea. These small machines gently blow air through a tube and mask attached to your child’s nose, or nose and mouth. The machine pushes air into the back of your child’s throat to help keep it open. Doctors commonly use this method when medications or removal of adenoids and tonsils is not effective.

If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to more serious health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke later in life. During childhood, problems include poor school performance and hyperactivity. If you or your child is struggling with symptoms of sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, please contact Pomona Valley Health Centers at 909-378-9025. Our Sleep Disorders Center, located in Claremont, CA, offers state-of-the-art facilities and easy access to comprehensive, caring medical services.

National Occupational Therapy Month

Medically reviewed by Rick Rossman, PT, MS, SCCE, Associate Director Rehab Services, PVHMC

April is National Occupational Therapy Month. This provides the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the health care professionals who dedicate their lives to helping improve the lives of others. Occupational therapy (OT) is a rehabilitative service that treats people who have physical, sensory or cognitive problems. These impairments may be congenital, or the result of injury, illness or disability.

Occupational therapists assist patients of all ages to more safely, efficiently and independently perform activities of daily living (ADLs), work-related tasks and school activities. The goals are to achieve as full and as rapid recovery possible, while providing the knowledge, skills and assistive devices to aid in the patient’s recovery.

Using a wide variety of therapeutic techniques and procedures, occupational therapists evaluate and then develop individualized treatment plans focused on such things as controlling pain, reducing swelling or abnormal sensitivity, as well as restoring strength, motion and dexterity the upper extremity and hand.

OT is a Rehabilitation profession that helps people maximize their independence and overcome barriers that may affect their emotional, social and physical needs. The OTs at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) and Pomona Valley Health Center locations (PVHC) have extensive training and experience and combine this with patience, empathy and compassion throughout their patient’s treatments. Below are few of the ways our occupational therapists help patients recover and move beyond their injury or disability:

  • Improve fine motor skills through training small, intricate muscles of the hands and fingers used for delicate grasping and controlling objects, such as pens, utensils, keyboarding and commonly used tools.
  • Enhance hand-eye coordination through repetitive tasks like catching a ball, stringing beads and building puzzles. These treatments facilitate the neural pathways that integrate visual information with hand movements, improving accuracy, strength and endurance.
  • Improve self-care routines and promote independence through relearning tasks such as the ability to bathe, dress, brush teeth and self-feed. OTs address the above with a focus on planning and organizing each task, improving both muscle control as well as the necessary sitting and standing balance.
  • Cultivate cognitive skills that break larger tasks into smaller steps making them easier to perform.
  • Maximize remaining vision using special aids and assistive devices, helping to make every day visual tasks easier to do for those diagnosed with Low Vision – a partial loss of sight that cannot be fully corrected with surgery, medicine, contact lenses, or regular glasses.
  • Provide bracing, splinting and adaptive equipment that improve the accuracy and ease of everyday tasks.

What are the patient benefits of occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy may improve:

  • Independence
  • Strength and endurance
  • Cognitive processing
  • Visual deficits
  • Balance
  • School performance
  • Self-esteem

Studies show that after completing their treatment, OT patients are more likely to remain active following their injury or illness. A more independent, active and healthy lifestyle leads to:

  • Reduced number and length of hospital stays
  • Reduced risk of falls that require medical care
  • Decreased number of missed workdays
  • Decreased dependence on medications
  • Increased mobility and independence

National Occupational Therapy Month is the perfect time to ask your doctor if you might benefit from an OT evaluation and treatment plan. Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) has over 25 years of experience in occupational therapy. We want to help you live your best, most independent life.

Pediatric occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech-language pathology are available at our two Milestones Centers for Child Development located at PVHC Chino Hills and Claremont.

For occupational therapy appointments, contact PVHMC Rehabilitation Services at:

La Verne: 909-392-6531
Pomona: 909-865-9810
Milestones Center for Child Development–Chino Hills: 909-630-7877
Milestones Center for Child Development–Claremont: 909-621-7956

Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan

Medically reviewed by Saman Aboudi MD, Medical Director, PVHC Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine, Premier Family Medicine Associates

A woman holding her chest

A food allergy occurs when the body’s immune system reacts unusually to certain foods. While many allergic reactions to food are mild, some can be fatal, so it is vitally important to know what to do in case of an emergency.

Many people who are at risk of a severe allergic reaction carry an EpiPen® with them at all times. An EpiPen is an injection that contains a chemical known as epinephrine and is used to treat severe allergic reactions allergens. Epinephrine helps to increase blood flow through veins by constricting blood vessels. By binding to receptors on smooth muscles of the lungs, epinephrine helps to relax the muscles blocking the airways and allows breathing to return to normal.

According to Food Allergy Research & Education, approximately 32 million people have food allergies. While some food allergies can be fatal, not every allergic reaction requires a trip to an urgent care or hospital; some can be managed effectively at home. The most common food allergies include cow’s milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, wheat, soy and fish.

Signs and symptoms of a severe allergic reaction

If you have any of the following symptoms, you are likely experiencing anaphylaxis. Seek immediate medical help:

Do not depend on antihistamines or inhalers to treat a severe reaction. Use epinephrine. It is the only medication that can reverse the life-threatening symptoms of anaphylaxis. If you do not have immediate access to epinephrine, please go directly to the nearest urgent care or emergency room.

  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Heart palpitations or rapid pulse
  • A severe drop in blood pressure
  • Tightening of the airways (e.g., swollen throat)
  • Slurred speech

Signs and symptoms of a mild to moderate allergic reaction

Most allergic reactions begin with mild symptoms, but it is vital to pay attention to your body and seek immediate medical attention should your symptoms begin to worsen. Here are common signs and symptoms of a mild allergic reaction that can be treated safely at home:

  • Tingling or itching in the mouth or lips
  • Hives or itchy skin
  • Swelling (e.g., face, eyes or tongue)
  • Vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain

Four things you can do to feel better at home

It’s important to have an allergy emergency care plan if you have food allergies. Here are a few things you can do at home to help you or a loved one feel better:

  • Stop eating whatever you’re eating
    If you begin to experience a mild allergic reaction, stop eating immediately. Repeated exposure to the allergen or food can actually exacerbate your reaction. If you’re eating a single ingredient (e.g., fruit or nuts) it will be easy to determine what is causing the allergy symptoms. However, if you are eating a selection of foods, play it safe and stop eating everything to avoid further complications.
  • Take an antihistamine
    Over-the-counter antihistamines, like Benadryl, can often help alleviate mild allergy symptoms. You can also try a nasal spray or eye drop, depending on your specific allergy symptom. Antihistaminesblock the effects of a substance called histamine in your body. Histamine is a part of your immune system and is normally released when your body detects something harmful, like an infection. It causes blood vessels to expand and the skin to swell, which helps protect the body.
  • Try a saline nasal rinse
    Carefully pouring a saltwater saline solution into one nostril at a time can help relieve nasal symptoms related to congestion, sinus infections, allergies, colds and flu. As it flows through the nasal cavity and into the other nostril, it washes out mucus and allergens.
  • Apply a corticosteroid
    Topical creams, like hydrocortisone, can soothe and treat skin rash symptoms related to food allergy symptoms, which may include redness, swelling, itching and discomfort. Corticosteroids work by activating natural substances in the skin to reduceswelling, redness and itching.

For more tips on managing your family’s allergies, contact Pomona Valley Health Centers at 909-378-8865. Our board-certified family medicine physicians are skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic reactions to food, plants and insects.

National Kidney Month

Medically Reviewed by Carlos A. Baez, M.D.

An older man at the pool

Did you know chronic kidney disease affects approximately 37 million U.S. adults and of those, 90 percent don’t even know they have it?

March is National Kidney Month, and it aims to raise awareness about kidney disease, the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. This year, the focus is on taking charge of your health and the many ways people can manage their kidney disease.

Common signs and symptoms of kidney disease

Oftentimes there aren’t any signs of kidney disease in the early stages. It can easily go undetected until it has progressed to a more serious disease. Visit Pomona Valley Health Centers for an exam and diagnosis if you’re experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in urine frequency and output
  • Decreased mental sharpness

Medical conditions that affect your kidneys

Your kidneys play an important role in removing waste and toxins from your body and returning vitamins, amino acids, glucose and other vital substances into the bloodstream. Certain conditions and diseases may negatively affect kidney health, including:

  • Diabetes
    Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in the U.S. It damages the organs’ small blood vessels and filters, which makes it difficult for them to clean your blood. Treatments may include dietary changes, oral medications or insulin injections depending on the type and severity of symptoms.
  • Hypertension
    High blood pressure is another leading cause of kidney disease and kidney failure. This condition can damage the blood vessels and filters in the kidneys, which makes removing waste and toxins from the body difficult. Treatments may include diet, exercise or oral medications depending on y our unique symptoms.
  • High cholesterol
    In addition to causing heart disease, cholesterol plaque buildup can also clog renal arteries and cut off blood flow to the kidneys. This can lead to kidney disease and kidney failure. High cholesterol can be treated through diet, exercise and oral medications.

How to keep your kidneys healthy

Here are a few things you can do every day to keep your kidneys healthy:

  • Stay active
    Daily physical activities like walking, jogging, cycling or swimming can lower your blood pressure and boost your heart health, which are important for preventing kidney damage.
  • Maintain a healthy diet
    Choosing foods that are low in sodium, processed meats and other kidney-damaging foods may help lower your risk of kidney damage. Fill your plate with fresh leafy green vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, fish and more.
  • Stay hydrated
    Water is good for your kidneys because it keeps everything moving. It moves waste from your blood and into the urine; it keeps blood vessels open to allow blood to deliver essential nutrients to the kidneys. Chronic dehydration, even if it’s mild, may lead to permanent kidney damage.
  • Use caution with supplements
    Excessive amounts of certain vitamin supplements and some herbal extracts may be harmful to your kidneys. Talk to your doctor before starting taking any supplements or herbal extracts, especially if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or hypertension.
  • Be careful with over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers
    Common pain relievers (e.g., ibuprofen and naproxen) can lead to kidney damage if used in excess over a prolonged period of time. Those using OTC medications to control pain from arthritis or other conditions causing chronic inflammation have a higher risk of kidney damage.
  • Get regular preventative screenings
    If you have diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol, talk to your doctor about adding preventative kidney screening to your routine care. It can help him or her detect, diagnose and treat any problems early, before they become more serious.

National Kidney Month is a good time to get proactive about your family’s health and wellness. Prevention is the best treatment, so be sure to visit Pomona Valley Health Centers for your regular check-up and screening appointments to lower your risk of serious conditions and diseases. We provide comprehensive, convenient and compassionate care so you can get in, get out, and stay healthy.

We also offer Telemedicine appointments for added safety and comfort. Call 909-378-9025 to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

Ibuprofen Vs. Aspirin: Know the Difference

Medically Reviewed by Carlos A. Baez, M.D.

Ibuprofen and aspirin are two of the most common over-the-counter pain relievers you can find. While they treat a lot of the same things, they both have unique attributes that make them different. Let’s take a look at the specifics behind ibuprofen and aspirin: what makes them similar, what makes them different, and which one is the right choice for you.

How are ibuprofen and aspirin similar?

Both ibuprofen and aspirin fall under the category of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, and they are two of the most common over-the-counter medications used to reduce pain. If you’re feeling sore after a workout, or dealing with a headache, or recovering from a minor accident, ibuprofen and aspirin are safe and effective ways to help you feel better. In fact, both are FDA-approved to help alleviate moderate pain and fever. In addition to headaches, examples of moderate pain include:

  •  Back pain
  • Toothaches
  • Sprains
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Menstrual cramps

Another commonality they have is their availability. You can find ibuprofen and aspirin at just about every pharmacy and grocery store in the country.

How are ibuprofen and aspirin different?

The difference between ibuprofen and aspirin are slight but relevant. For starters, aspirin is derived from salicylate acid, to which some folks may have an insensitivity – you should consult with your doctor if you have any concerns about that. Most people, though, don’t have salicylate insensitivity, making aspirin perfectly safe for the majority of the population. Additionally, according to the American Heart Association, aspirin can help prevent the risk of heart attack, which can’t be said of ibuprofen. That’s not to say ibuprofen doesn’t come with its own unique benefits. The Mayo Clinic says Ibuprofen is better for managing chronic pain because of its anti-inflammatory qualities. People with arthritis use it to reduce periodic flareups of joint pain. Ibuprofen does have its ceiling, however, and it is not meant to be used long-term, so keep your doctor in the loop whenever you use ibuprofen in such a situation.

When giving aspirin or ibuprofen to children, always consult your pediatrician. For example, aspirin has been linked with Reye’s syndrome and children who are recovering from the flu or chickenpox should not be given aspirin.

Which is more effective: ibuprofen or aspirin?

When it comes to the effectiveness of ibuprofen versus aspirin, neither one has a significant advantage. It all comes down to your body’s physiological response, and that’s something for which you can’t really account. The body does what it does. Luckily, both of them have proven consistently useful for treating pain and fever in the short term, which is exactly why they are so prevalent in the market. If you notice one has more success than the other, then identify the brand you prefer – such as Bayer or Ecotrin for aspirin; Advil or Motrin for ibuprofen – and stick with it. In other words, if it ain’t broke, you do not need to fix it. That said, there are instances where people should use caution when using NSAIDs like ibuprofen or aspirin, particularly pregnant women, or people with low kidney function.

If you are at all concerned about taking ibuprofen or aspirin, you can contact Pomona Valley Health Center to set up an appointment to talk with one of our expert physicians. They can advise which over-the-counter medication is safest and best for you. Contact us today.

Five Fruits Packed with Vitamin C

Medically Reviewed by Saman Aboudi, M.D.

Vitamin C is essential to a healthy diet. The down part, though, is that not only can the human body not create vitamin C on its own, it also doesn’t store it very well, which means you need to get the right amount in order to fully experience the benefits.

According to the National Institute of Health, the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C is anywhere between 75 and 90 milligrams (mg) for adults and 25 and 65 mg for kids between the age of 4 and 18. The best sources of vitamin C are fruits and vegetables, but anyone with kids can tell you that veggies are often a tough sell. Broccoli and cauliflower are some of the healthiest things you can eat, but good luck getting your 8-year-old to try them. Luckily, there are many fruit options that are packed with vitamin C and taste delicious, to boot. Working them into your family’s diet is an easy way to get everyone the nutrients they need while avoiding mealtime catastrophe.

As part of our family medicine practice, we focus on promoting healthy diets for you and your loved ones. Here are the top five fruits packed with vitamin C.

Oranges

This is probably the first place your mind goes when you think of vitamin C, and for good reason. Oranges, like all citrus fruits, have lots of it – up to 51 mg per serving. You can serve oranges for breakfast or during the day as a snack. Also, avoid orange juice. The condensed nature of juice significantly increases the amount of sugar, which undercuts your vitamin C intake.

Strawberries

Some people in your family might not enjoy the acidic flavor of oranges. In that case, strawberries are a great alternative. They have a softer, sweeter flavor and pair well with breakfast food. If you’re really clever, you can serve them with Greek yogurt and pass it off as a kind of healthy dessert. (Be forewarned: older, more experienced kids will call your bluff immediately.) One strawberry only has 7 mg of vitamin C, so make sure to indulge in a few bites.

Kiwi

Believe it or not, kiwis come with more vitamin C than oranges – there is 70 mg per medium-size serving. They are also high in fiber and rich in antioxidants. You might want to peel them before serving – the skin is brown and fuzzy, which could gross out your more discerning family members – but there are even more nutrients to be found there, so keep that in mind. Kiwis taste great with strawberries; serve both for a double punch of vitamin C.

Papaya

If the kiwi is a hit, branch out with papaya, another tropic fruit that has tons of vitamin C – up to 90 mg depending on the serving size. You can also find B vitamins and potassium here. It’s a healthy combination that increases heart health and might help prevent colon cancer. The flavor can be a bit bland compared to kiwi or strawberry, so if you get any resistance from the family, try squeezing some lime juice on top.

Tomatoes

Okay, this is a bit of a reach, but hear us out. First, tomatoes are fruit, so technically it counts. But more importantly, tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, especially when you eat them raw. When tomatoes are processed into, for example, a pasta sauce – aka, one of the only ways kids can stomach them – they lose their healthiness. Try getting away with a Caprese salad – the creamy mozzarella and sweet balsamic might be enough to distract them from the cherry tomato.

If despite your best-efforts tomatoes remain a no-go, there are some more great options out there. Cantaloupe, pineapple, mango, and grapefruit are also rich in vitamin C and are sure to be met with more open arms than tomatoes.

Contact Pomona Valley Health Center

Call Pomona Valley Health Centers today at 909-378-9512 to learn more about nutrition and vitamin C. We remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are ready to help. Visit us today.

Important Signs of a Heart Attack Everyone Should Know

Heart and Stethoscope

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among adult men and women in the United States. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease in America and often leads to a heart attack.

While many heart attack symptoms are similar for men and women, it’s important to note women are less likely to experience chest pain as compared to men. In fact, a heart attack can cause a range of different symptoms, from intense chest pain to tingling limbs and feelings of breathlessness or nausea. 

Important warning signs of a heart attack

Although a heart attack without any pain (in the chest, arm, neck or jaw) may be slightly more common in women than men, raising awareness of the most common ones that occur in 50% of those experiencing a heart attack is important. They include:

  • Persistent or intense squeezing chest pain or pressure
  • Tightness in chest
  • Chest pain spreading to shoulders, neck, arm, or jaw
  • A sudden feeling of heartburn, stomach discomfort/indigestion with or without nausea and vomiting
  • Unexplained shortness of breath (with or without chest pain)
  • Sudden dizziness or brief loss of consciousness
  • Cold sweats

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms or warning signs of a heart attack, please call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.

How do warning signs between men and women differ? 

While the most common symptoms of a heart attack affect both men and women, women may experience milder symptoms as well as other symptoms, like:

  • Nausea, vomiting or dizziness
  • Pain in the back or jaw
  • Unexplained anxiety accompanied by weakness or fatigue
  • Palpitations, cold sweats or paleness that may appear like mild, flu-like symptoms

Men, more often, experience classic warning signs of a heart attack, including uncomfortable pressure in the chest, abdominal discomfort (e.g., heartburn), and pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck or arms.

Call Pomona Valley Health Centers today at 909-378-9512 to find out how you can lower your risk of heart attack with regular health screenings, lifestyle changes, nutrition or medical care. During these times we are open and keeping you safe and can still provide routine exams and treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries in infants, children, adolescents, adults and seniors. We also provide care for chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and more.

National Handwashing Awareness Week: Why It’s Always Mattered

Washing Hands

How many times have you washed your hands while humming “Happy Birthday” (twice!) since March? The novel coronavirus has ushered in a new era of mindful handwashing, but why is it so important? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to other people.

In fact, evidence suggests washing hands with soap and water for 15 seconds (approximately one chorus of “Happy Birthday”) reduces bacterial counts by about 90%. When an additional 15 seconds is added, bacterial counts drop by close to 99.9%. Removing germs through hand washing helps prevent respiratory infections and may also help prevent skin and eye infections.

How does handwashing help prevent infections?

Handwashing with soap and water removes germs and prevents illnesses and infections because:

  • Unwashed hands are more likely to make you sick.
    You probably touch your face 16 times per hour without even realizing it. Germs that transfer from the hands to the eyes, nose and mouth are what often make us sick. 
  • Germs like to multiply
    Germs that pass from unwashed hands into certain foods and drinks, like to multiply and can make people sick.
  • Germs like to hitchhike
    Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, like handrails,
    tabletops or toys and then transferred to another person’s hands.

Five Steps to Proper Handwashing

December 6-12 is National Handwashing Month, so we thought it would be the perfect time to share these five steps, so you can be a handwashing hero:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap and apply soap.
  2. Create lather by rubbing your hands together with soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands thoroughly under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or let them air dry.

For more tips on handwashing or keeping your family healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact Pomona Valley Health Centers at 909-378-9143. We’re currently offering telemedicine services to all PVHC patients because we want you to get the care you need from the comfort, convenience and—most of all—safety of your home.

How the Right Primary Care Doctor Can Help Manage Diabetes

blood sugar test

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2020 National Diabetes Statistics Report, diabetes affects more than 34 million Americans, and that number is expected to rise. Even more staggering is that 88 million Americans—approximately 1 in 3—have prediabetes, a condition in which a person’s blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. Without medical intervention, prediabetics are likely to become diabetics within 10 years of their initial diagnosis.

Why are primary care doctors important for diabetes management?

According to Alexander Turchin, M.D., a physician and researcher in the Division of Endocrinology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), patients without a consistent primary care physician (PCP) experienced worse outcomes than those who had a PCP and attended regular checkups.

“We found that primary care physicians provide better care to diabetes patients when compared to other providers in a primary care setting because they were more likely to alter medications and consistently provide lifestyle counseling.”

How can my primary care doctor help me managing diabetes?

Your primary care doctor is your first line of defense for diabetes management. It’s vital to schedule regular checkups with your primary care doctor so they can effectively monitor your overall health and existing conditions, like diabetes.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms or risk factors your doctor may perform blood tests to check for the disease and treat you personally or refer you to a specialist to help monitor your treatment.

If you are in need of a primary care doctor to help you manage diabetes, please call Pomona Valley Health Centers at 909-378-9143. Our doctors are highly experienced in the science of medicine and the art of compassionate care. We look forward to helping you achieve your highest level of health.

What COVID Means for Cold & Flu Season

Essentials for Cold & Flu Relief

Influenza (flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses that affect the lungs and breathing and can easily spread to others. Each year, 5-20 percent of the American population contracts the flu virus, of which 200,000 are hospitalized as a result.

Flu season typically begins in the fall, and this year’s coronavirus pandemic will undoubtedly complicate things. If there is a flu outbreak in a location that is also experiencing a lot of COVID cases, it could overwhelm hospitals and make it difficult for doctors and nurses to care for a sudden surge of sick patients.

Can you have the flu and COVID at the same time?

While there is still more to be learned about the novel coronavirus, it is possible to be infected with both the flu and COVID at the same time. Unfortunately this could lead to an even more severe illness than having either infection alone. Our specialists at Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) is preparing for this year’s cold and flu season with tests that can look for both influenza and COVID virus at the same time.

How can I protect my family and myself during the cold & flu season?

As we enter the eighth month of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s increasingly important to continue following the coronavirus healthy and safety precautions like frequent hand washing, cleaning, sanitizing, physically distancing and wearing a mask. Here are a few more ways you can protect yourself during the cold and flu season:

  • Get a flu shot
    This is the year to get a flu shot, particularly if you usually skip getting them.
  • Get your kids flu shots
    Children over six months should get annual flu shots and any other vaccinations they need. Check with your child’s doctor or pediatrician to learn more about maintaining routine vaccinations for babies and children—especially during the pandemic.
  • Boost your immune system
    Take care of yourself and your children with good nutrition, plenty of water and rest, daily exercise and stress management. And always stay home if you don’t feel well.

Even if you’re tired of following coronavirus precautions, it’s vital to keep up the good work and encourage your family to do the same. Maintaining these habits throughout this year’s cold & flu season will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other fall and winter illnesses as well.

Call PVHC at 909-378-9513 to find out where and how you can get your flu vaccine. We look forward to keeping you healthy with safe, effective flu vaccines at all five of our locations: Chino Hills, Claremont, Chino Hills Crossroads, Pomona and La Verne.

Does My Child Need a Flu Shot?

Flu shot calendar appointment

Only about 50 percent of the U.S. population will get a flu shot this year despite overwhelming agreement among medical experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that every person older than six months should get vaccinated every year to protect themselves.

Should your child get a flu shot? In most cases, yes.

People less than 6 months of age and those with severe, life-threatening allergies to the flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine  (e.g., gelatin or antibiotics) are the only exceptions.

What is influenza?

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory infection that infects the nose, throat and oftentimes lungs. Common symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headaches and fatigue. For most people, the flu resolves on its own, but it can lead to severe complications including hospitalization, particularly among young children up to 5 years old.

Does my child need a flu shot?

Getting your child vaccinated is the best way to prevent the flu and lessen its potential complications. This holds true even when the vaccine doesn’t completely prevent the flu.

Choosing to get the flu shot this year is important because both the flu and COVID-19 cause similar signs and symptoms. Preventing or reducing the severity of the flu illness and hospitalizations could also help reduce strain on our hospitals and health care system.

The flu is a real and serious threat to the health of our children, and the flu shot is our best defense. If you still have concerns about the flu vaccine, talk to a Pomona Valley Health Centers physician and figure out the best way to keep your child safe this flu season. Call 909-378-9513 to schedule an appointment.

American Cancer Society Updates Guidelines for Best Ways to Reduce Cancer Risk

Big and little hands holding breast cancer awareness ribbon

The American Cancer Society recently updated its nutrition and physical activity guidelines for cancer prevention. These updates stress how important it is for everyone, regardless of age, to increase daily physical activity and develop healthy eating habits. 

The knowledgeable physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) wanted to highlight these updates in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month to give people hope and help save lives. Though there is no known way to avoid developing diseases like breast cancer, we can incorporate daily acts of prevention into our daily routines.

Lower your breast cancer risk with these recommendations

Recommendations from the American Cancer Society include:

  • Double down on physical activity
    It is now recommended that adults get between 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity each week to lower your breast cancer risk.
  • Eat the rainbow
    Instead of focusing on certain types of food, the recommendations are to fill your plate with a variety of colorful fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Diets high in added sugars, meats, fat and processed foods increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer.
  • Say no to alcohol
    Alcohol consumption should be kept to a minimum as it has been linked to increased cancer risk. Even limiting daily alcohol intake to one to two drinks can greatly lower your risk

If you are a woman over the age of 40, be sure to schedule your annual mammogram to lower your breast cancer risk. Mammograms are the best tests doctors have to diagnose breast cancer. Call our specialists at PVHC at 909-378-9512 to schedule your mammogram today.

What You Need to Know About Falls in the Elderly

Elderly man being helped up after fall

Each year, millions of older adults experience a fall, and over half do not tell their doctors. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 adults aged 65 and over fall each year. While many do not cause injuries, 1 in 5 lead to serious injuries like broken bones or head injuries. A single fall is not always a sign of underlying health issues, but subsequent issues with balance or coordination within a 6-month window should be evaluated for treatable causes.

Why are falls in the elderly so dangerous?

Accidental falls are the leading cause of injury and death among seniors, especially those aged 75 years and older. Why? Bone density naturally declines with age, which means broken bones are more likely. If an elderly person has pre-existing disabilities or medical complications like heart disease, even a seemingly minor fall can result in severe injuries.

How to prevent falls in the elderly

To reduce the likelihood of a dangerous fall, the geriatric specialists at Pomona Valley Health Centers encourages older adults to:

  • Exercise regularly
    Maintaining a regular exercise routine can not only strengthen muscles, but also help improve balance, endurance and coordination.
  • Get regular vision check-ups
    Weak eyesight and blurry vision can lead to accidental trips, tumbles and falls. Be sure to visit an optometrist for regular vision screenings to ensure you’re seeing as clearly as possible.
  • Review your medications
    Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your current medications to help you identify any that may cause dizziness or drowsiness and, if possible, help you find alternatives.
  • Make your home safer
    Find and remove anything in your home that could cause a trip or tumble (e.g., loose rugs, clutter, etc.). Add grip bars as needed in bathrooms and stairways as well as nonskid mats to your shower and in front of your kitchen sink.
  • Turn on the lights
    Be sure hallways and stairways are adequately lit to help you avoid any missteps, and turn on your lights if you get up in the middle of the night to help ensure your safety.

If you or a loved one has experienced a fall, please visit the Pomona valley Health Centers urgent care for an evaluation. No appointments necessary. 

PVHC Urgent Care locations and hours

8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday – Friday
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekends and most holidays

Chino Hills Crossroads

3110 Chino Avenue, Suite 150
Chino Hills, CA 91709
909-630-7868
Directions from CA-71: View Location

Claremont

1601 Monte Vista Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711
909-865-9977
Directions from the 10 FWY: View Location

La Verne
2333 Foothill Boulevard
La Verne, CA 91750
909-392-6511
Directions from the 210 FWY: View Location

What Are the Benefits of Youth Sports?

A Youth Team Mid-Huddle

More than 45 million children in the United States participate in organized sports. The most popular sports among American children include basketball, baseball, football, soccer and volleyball. The evidence supporting sports participation for young people is staggering. It has the influence to help kids overcome everything from racism to low self-esteem. It has also been shown to help lower high school drop-out rates.

Ten benefits of youth sports

Youth sports offer children and teens a number of valuable mental and physical benefits. Here are 10 ways sports participation can help your child thrive:

  1. Reduced risk of obesity
  2. Increased cardiovascular fitness
  3. Improved coordination and balance
  4. Stronger bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons
  5. Improved ability to relax and avoid headaches and backaches
  6. Better sleep
  7. Improved mental health
  8. Increased self-esteem and self-respect
  9. Improved intrapersonal skills
  10. Stress relief from academics and social pressures

As you can see, being a part of an organized sports team or program has many benefits, but it can also be costly and time consuming. It’s important for parents to consider their own ability to support their child’s membership cost, equipment and transportation requirements as well as arrive on time to weekly practices and games. 

Get ready for youth sports with a physical exam

A sports physical helps ensure your child is healthy enough to play the sport of their choice. During a sports physical, your doctor will ask about your child’s medical history as well as conduct a general physical exam.

During a physical exam, the doctor will typically check the following:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Blood pressure
  • Ears, nose and throat
  • Eyesight
  • Strength and flexibility

The skilled physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers offer robust sports medicine services and can help you safely prepare for your next sports season. Call 909-378-9513 to schedule your sports physical today.

Three Common Causes of Sleep Disorders in Kids

Child with Restless Sleep Syndrome

Sleep is essential to everyone as it helps maintain overall health and well-being. Furthermore, kids who regularly get an adequate amount of sleep have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory and overall mental and physical health. Adequate sleep hours vary by age— the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:

  • <12 months: 13-18 hours 
  • 1-2 years: 11-14 hours
  • 3-5 years: 10-13 hours
  • 6-12 years: 9-12 hours
  • 13-18 years: 8-10 hours

If you think your child isn’t getting enough sleep, stick to a regular bedtime routine. Here are a few tricks you can use to help your child get to bed on time at night. Have them:

  • Turn off all screens one hour before bedtime
  • Take a warm bath
  • Put on pajamas
  • Brush teeth
  • Read for 10-15 minutes
  • Goodnight wishes

However, if your child is having trouble staying asleep, or is unable to get enough uninterrupted sleep, they may be struggling with an undiagnosed sleep disorder.

Common Problems Starting or Maintaining sleep in children

  • Bedtime resistance
  • Delayed sleep onset
  • Problems with night awakenings with:
  • Screaming/Agitation/Terrors
  • Sleep walking

Common causes of sleep disorders in kids

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
    Pediatric OSA is a sleep disorder in which a child’s breathing is partially or completely blocked repeatedly during sleep. The most common culprits being the tonsils and adenoids. Childhood obesity can also be associated with sleep apnea. School performance can be adversely affected with attention problems.
  • Narcolepsy
    Absent or reduced hormone can cause severe daytime sleepiness and loss of muscle control at times (Cataplexy). 
  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS)
    RLS is a sleep disorder that causes uncomfortable leg sensations and an uncontrollable urge to move your legs. Children with RLS often present with conduct problems like aggression, inattention, hyperactivity and daytime somnolence because of their inability to sleep restfully.

If you’re struggling with a bad sleeper and want to learn more about sleep disorders in kids, call Pomona Valley Health Center in Chino Hills, Claremont, or Pomona. Our skilled specialists can identify your little one’s sleep problems and help them sleep more peacefully.

What to Expect When You Are Expecting: How to Access Prenatal Care During COVID

Pregnant Woman on Laptop with Covid mask on

Pregnant women face a unique challenge as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. While many men and nonpregnant women have opted to postpone routine medical appointments, prenatal appointments are vital for ensuring the health and well-being of mother and child. The skilled team at Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) understands in-person appointments and that they can lead to excess stress, anxiety or even depression during these uncertain times.

How to get safe prenatal care during COVID when expecting

At PVHC, we’re taking every precaution possible to ensure we continue to provide quality and safe care for you and your baby. We are following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and taking specific measures to protect you, your family, our employees and our communities. Here is how you can be sure to receive safe care during COVID when expecting:\

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
    All patients and medical staff are required to wear face coverings as well as other PPE as required while inside the medical facility. When everyone wears appropriate PPE, like face coverings, we help slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • Spaced out appointments
    For those who are not ill or having a high-risk pregnancy, limited in-person appointments are available. We have spaced out in-person appointment times to reduce the number of people in the facility at one time. Less people in a closed, indoor space also helps slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • Alternate or reduced prenatal care schedules
    For those who are not ill or having a high-risk pregnancy, your doctor may recommend a reduced schedule of in-person visits that include only essential services (e.g., initial prenatal visit, anatomy ultrasound, and 28-, 36- and 39-week prenatal appointments). All other appointments may be available via remote telemedicine appointments based on your risk stratification.
  • Telemedicine appointments
    Pomona Valley Health Centers has added the option for you and your doctor to conduct certain appointments remotely. Telemedicine appointments may be available for nonessential prenatal services.

For more information on women’s health services, including prenatal care, call 909-378-9025. We are also keeping a COVID update page up to date with our most current policies and practices related to the ongoing pandemic. If you have any questions or concerns, please give us a call. 

Think You Need Stitches? See Our Urgent Care for These Common Cuts.

Doctor bandaging up stitches

No one plans to get cut or hurt, but accidents happen. Maybe your finger slipped while chopping vegetables or your child fell off their bike. When can you simply bandage it up and when do you need stitches?

Common cuts that need stitches

From the size of a wound to its location, there are a lot of signs that can tell you whether you need stitches. If you or a loved one has a cut with the following characteristics, please visit Pomona Valley Urgent Care for stitches as soon as possible:

  • The wound if very deep (even if it’s not very long or wide)
  • The wound is more than half of an inch long
  • The wound is too wide to press the edges back together with pressure
  • The wound has uneven edges
  • The wound has debris in it (e.g., gravel, glass, or dirt)
  • The wound bleeds enough to soak through a bandage
  • The wound is spurting blood
  • The wound continues to bleed after you apply direct pressure to it for 10 minutes

Does my cut need stitches?

If you’ve been cut in any of the following areas, it’s best to seek medical attention and stiches to avoid infection or scarring:

  • Around a joint (e.g., elbows, knees)
  • Face
  • Hand
  • Genitals
  • Mouth
  • Near the eyes

Tips for handling cuts before going to urgent care

If you’re fairly certain your cut needs stitches, here are a few things to keep in mind before you visit the Pomona Valley Urgent Care in Chino Hills, Claremont or La Verne:

  • Do not remove any debris. Leave it as is to prevent excess bleeding.
  • Clean the wound with tap water. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or iodine.
  • Use a clean towel or bandage and apply direct pressure to the wound.
  • If possible, keep the wounded area above the heart to help slow or stop the bleeding.
  • If blood soaks through the dressing, do not remove it. Apply another on top.

Our Pomona Valley Urgent Care locations are open 8:00 am – 8:00 pm Monday through Friday and 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Saturdays, Sundays and most holidays. No appointments necessary. Visit our urgent care center for expert stitches and urgent care services today.

Can My Kids Still Get Vaccinations?

Child sitting on hospital table waiting for vaccination

Yes. At Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC), we recommend every child continue to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines for vaccinations, even if the process looks a little different because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

It is critical for children to stay healthy, especially during this global pandemic. When children are current on their vaccinations they can better avoid preventable diseases like shingles, pneumococcal disease, influenza, and HPV and hepatitis B—both leading causes of cancer.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and the COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder of the importance of vaccination. We understand parents and families may have concerns about in-person visits, but staying up-to-date on vaccinations is vital for protecting children against serious vaccine-preventable diseases.

How is PVHC providing vaccinations?

Families can still bring their children to PVHC for scheduled well-child check-ups and receive vaccinations. We’re closely monitoring and following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and have spaced out appointment times to limit the amount of people inside the centers at any one time. 

Watch the video below to learn more about our safety precautions


These provisions will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and help keep you, your family, our employees and our communities stay safe.

We want you to know that, despite the uncertainties of COVID-19, PVHC has the needs of your family covered. We are proud to offer primary care telemedicine appointments if you are in need of routine family medicine services. 

Please contact one of our locations to find out if you qualify for telemedicine:

What Are the Signs of a Stroke? Act F.A.S.T.

Signs of Stroke Graphic

Strokes often occur suddenly, so every minute counts. Fast medical treatment can not only lessen brain damage, but also save a life. Over 1 million people in America experience a stroke each year, and brain damage is unfortunately very common. Damage to the brain during a stroke creates physical and cognitive deficits. Understanding the signs of a stroke can help you take quick action and save a life—even your own. 

What does the F.A.S.T. acronym mean?

Acting F.A.S.T. can help someone experiencing a stroke get the medical care they desperately need. Stroke treatments are most effective if it is diagnosed and treated within 3 hours of the first symptoms.

If you think someone is having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. using the following tests:

  • F—Face
    Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face appear to droop?
  • A—Arms
    Ask the person to lift both arms. Does one drift downward?
  • S—Speech
    Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
  • T—Time
    If you see any of these signs, act FAST: Call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest urgent care center right away.

Signs of a stroke in men and women

Five warning signs of a stroke include:

  • Numbness
    Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg (especially if localized on one side of the body)
  • Confusion
    Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Vision problems
    Sudden vision problems in one or both eyes
  • Loss of coordination
    Sudden difficulty or inability to walk, balance or other problems with coordination
  • Severe headache
    Sudden and severe headache with no known cause

Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. Immediate medical care is vital for reducing their risk of death or long-term side effects.

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms or warning signs of a stroke, please call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.

PVHMC Emergency Department

1798 N. Garey Avenue
Pomona, CA 91767

909.865.9500

PVHC Urgent Care locations and hours

8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday – Friday
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekends and most holidays

Chino Hills Crossroads

3110 Chino Avenue, Suite 150
Chino Hills, CA 91709
909-630-7868
Directions from CA-71 View Location

Claremont

1601 Monte Vista Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711
909-865-9977
Directions from the 10 FWY View Location

La Verne

2333 Foothill Boulevard
La Verne, CA 91750
909-392-6511
Directions from the 210 FWY View Location

Heat Illness: More Than Just Dehydration

Little boy on the beach with a sunstroke holds a bottle of water

Dehydration is an excessive loss of fluids from the body. It happens when the total amount of fluids lost through sweating, urination, diarrhea and/or vomiting is more than the fluids taken in. With the heat of summer upon us, people of all ages are at risk of dehydration, especially while enjoying outdoor activities. Though it is typically not dangerous, dehydration must be treated to avoid complications.

Signs of dehydration include excessive thirst, dry mouth, less-frequent urination or dark-colored urine, and fatigue. To avoid severe dehydration, drink plenty of clear fluids when you notice any of these symptoms. Heat exhaustion is the most common form of heat illness and is a more severe form of dehydration.

Heat stroke symptoms illustration

Five types of heat illness

Heat-related illnesses are preventable. Here are 5 types of heat illness and what you can do if you or a loved one is experiencing signs and symptoms:

  1. Sunburn
    Sunburn occurs after too much time in the sun without sunscreen or protective clothing. It causes painful, red and warm skin and, in some cases, blisters. If you are experiencing painful sunburned skin, stay out of the sun as much as possible, take a cool bath, apply moisturizing lotion on sunburned areas and avoid breaking blisters.
  2. Heat rash
    Heat rash occurs when the pores on the skin become blocked and sweat cannot escape. It most commonly affects adults and children in hot, humid weather. Heat rash presents as a cluster of red bumps on the skin (usually on the neck, chest, groin or elbow creases). If you are experiencing a heat rash, stay out of the sun as much as possible, take a cool bath, apply moisturizing lotion to affected areas and avoid breaking blisters.
  3. Heat cramps
    Heat cramps are painful muscle spasms that happen as a result of dehydration due to excessive sweating. They are most common in the abdomen, back, arms and legs. The best way to stop heat cramps is to stop physical activity and move to a cool place. Drink water or a sugar-free sports drink. Seek medical help if cramps do not go away after 1 hour.
  4. Heat exhaustion
    The causes of heat exhaustion include exposure to high temperatures, particularly when combined with high humidity and strenuous physical activity. Without swift corrective action, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, a life-threatening condition. Remove excess clothing, loosen clothes, take a cool bath and sip water to help alleviate symptoms.
  5. Heat stroke
    Heat stroke occurs when your body is overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. Symptoms include high body temperature, fast pulse, dizziness, nausea, confusion and loss of consciousness. If you or a loved one is experiencing a heat stroke, call 9-1-1 right away as it is a medical emergency. Move to a cooler location and try to lower the body temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath. If a person is having a heat stroke, they should not have anything to drink.

If you or a loved one is in need of urgent care due to severe sunburn, heat rash, heat cramps or heat exhaustion, please visit your nearest Pomona Valley Health Centers urgent care center. We are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. We are also available 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on weekends and most holidays.

PVHC Urgent Care Center Locations

Chino Hills Crossroads

3110 Chino Avenue, Suite 150
Chino Hills, CA 91709
909-630-7868
Directions from CA-71 View Location

Claremont

1601 Monte Vista Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711
909-865-9977
Directions from the 10 FWY View Location

La Verne

2333 Foothill Boulevard
La Verne, CA 91750
909-392-6511
Directions from the 210 FWY View Location

Keep Calm and Carry On: 5 tips for Managing COVID-19 Stress

COVID-19 is a unique type of stressor. We have to navigate volumes of information and misinformation. Activities that were once outlets of relief are now closed or limited, like beaches, churches, and gyms. We have lost financial opportunities and many are dealing with the loss of jobs. There’s a prolonged sense of inevitable difficulty, and an uncertainty as to when the stresses of coronavirus will “end.” With all of this, we’re susceptible to anxiety, panic, and depression. 

In the current state of things, we are never sure if we are being overcautious or not cautious enough. In this type of climate, we have to give careful consideration to our “personal energy account.” 

We tend to think of our ability to complete tasks as dependent on our current “strength”, as if we operate on a battery. In reality, we are more like a debit card account with a very deep overdraft. We often function out of necessity when we are tired, exhausted, or overwhelmed. Operating in this way for a sustained period of time comes at great physical and emotional costs. 

In our relationships, the general rule of thumb is that for every negative interaction, you need to have five positive ones to maintain a stable partnership. In times of prolonged crisis, we should apply the same rule to caring for ourselves as we do for our partnerships. We need more positive actions to balance out the negatives.

Here are five tips to managing COVID-19 stress from Dr. Dan Blocker, PhD, LMFT, Director of Behavioral Health & Associate Program Director at the PVHMC Family Medicine Residency Program.

1.  Budget Your Energy

It’s helpful to assign a Personal Energy Budget to your task list. First, identify what you have to do each day and assign how much energy it will require, do the same with what you would like to do, and then list out what you cannot do each day. Sometimes, the items on your “have-to-dos” will take all of your energy, and that’s okay. The amount of energy you have will vary by day. It’s important to be intentional. If others try to add things (and someone inevitably will), kindly let them know that you just cannot do that today.   

2.  Emphasize High-Yield Recharge Activities

Just like there are foods full of empty calories, there are activities that offer little in means of substantial recharge. Some activities may even take away opportunities to pursue things that are more beneficial. These are usually distraction-based activities like binge-watching TV, playing video games, or browsing social media on your phone. 

It’s okay to include these activities in moderation, but preference should be given to things that help you feel accomplished such as exercise (e.g., a 15-minute walk outside), reading, reaching out to a friend, or baking treats for a loved one.  

3.  Focus On What You Can Control

There is power in accepting reality as it is. There’s a lot happening that we have very little influence over. This can be a difficult thing to accept. Instead of focusing on what you cannot control, focus on what you can: “I can wear a mask.” “I can keep washing my hands.” “I can be active in ways that are still safe.” By focusing on what you can control, you avoid the feelings of helplessness that can be crippling.  

4.  Prepare For What You Cannot

Identify what you need to have in place to feel more comfortable. Are you worried about financial turmoil? Set a little money aside each paycheck. Are you worried about school for your children? Identify resources or ways to address their schooling so you have something to rely on. The reality is that there will rarely be a perfect solution for the concerns you have. The power here is feeling prepared for the things that make you anxious. You can rely on the comfort you feel from your preparation efforts to calm your anxieties. 

5.  Essentials Are Essential For A Reason

It’s important to focus on the essentials like getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, moving throughout the day, wearing a mask, and washing your hands. While the duration of this crisis may feel like a lifetime, it will end. You want to take good care of yourself now, so you don’t get ill or come out of the pandemic in poor shape. This includes scheduling regular appointments with your primary care physician. The care providers at the Pomona Valley Health Centers have made important accommodations to our traditional patient care by offering telephone, video, and when appropriate, in-person visits.            

For your overall mental health, it’s important to increase activities that can help you manage stress, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have concerns about your mental health or the mental health of someone close to you, the CDC has compiled a list of resources available.  

Sleep Apnea and That Sound Your Husband Makes: What It Says About His Health

A woman plugging her ears and man snoring in bedSleep apnea is a potentially serious medical disorder that affects between 50 and 70 million adults in the United States. Sleep apnea occurs when a person’s breathing is repeatedly blocked during sleep. Blockage of the airway causes snoring, and if severe, can cause low oxygen, elevated blood pressure and damage to the brain and heart over time. Sleepiness, fatigue, depression, and loss of sexual drive can also result. If your loved one snores and feels tired or sleepy after a full night’s rest, he may be suffering from sleep apnea.

Common symptoms of sleep apnea

Many factors can lead to Sleep Apnea and snoring including excess weight, problems with a small air passage and receding jaw or other problems with the airway. Excess weight is commonly associated with sleep apnea and that snoring sound. When an overweight or obese person is sleeping, his or her throat and tongue muscles become more relaxed, closing off the upper passages of their airway.

Loud, repetitive snoring isn’t only a nuisance, it’s one of the main indicators of sleep apnea. Here are three main indicators of obstructive sleep apnea:

  1. Loud, persistent snoring
  2. Pauses in breathing, along with gasping attacks while sleeping
  3. Excessive sleepiness while awake
  4. Morning headaches
  5. Difficulty paying attention
  6. Irritability
  7. Auto Accidents

It is important to note that many people who snore do not have obstructive sleep apnea, however most people who do have sleep apnea, snore.

Common risk factors of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is often a byproduct of other health factors, including:

  • Excess weight
    Fat deposits in and around the upper airway may obstruct breathing
  • Neck circumference
    Surprisingly, those with thicker necks may have narrower airways
  • Narrow airway
    Narrow throat, enlarged tonsils or adenoids may also block the throat
  • Gender
    Men are two to three times more likely to have sleep apnea than women before menopause. After menopause women are as likely as men to suffer from Sleep Apnea
  • Age
    This disorder is most common in older adults
  • Genetics
    A family history of sleep apnea may increase your risk
  • Alcohol or drug use
    These substances relax the throat muscles, which can worsen obstructive sleep apnea
  • Smoking
    Smokers are three times more likely to struggle with sleep apnea

If you think your husband or anyone else in your family is struggling with sleep apnea or snoring, contact Pomona Valley Health Centers at 909-536-1493. We can conduct a sleep evaluation and test, help treat underlying conditions and help you both rest more peacefully.

Male-Specific Diseases to Ask Your Doctor About

A man with a doctorMen have specific health risks they need to be aware of—particularly in regards to the reproductive system. The male reproductive system is designed to produce, maintain and transport sperm. The testes, a part of the male reproductive system, are also responsible for producing testosterone. Testosterone is an essential hormone that helps maintain bone density, fat distribution and muscle strength in men.

Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about these male-specific diseases

If you’ve been reluctant to go to the doctor, the experienced physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers urge you to make an appointment. That sluggishness you feel may be attributed to a busy schedule or lack of sleep could be something more. Here are the male-specific diseases you should ask your doctor about:

  • Prostate cancer
    About one in nine men will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime. Prostate cancer occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of cells in the prostate gland. This walnut-sized gland, located between the bladder and penis, is responsible for producing seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. The good news is that it can be cured when it is detected and treated early. Common symptoms of prostate cancer include pain during urination, difficulty urinating, more frequent urges to urinate at night, loss of bladder control and decreased flow of urine. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, we urge you to seek medical attention.
  • Testicular cancer

Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 men develop testicular cancer each year. Testicular cancer occurs when the cell growth inside one or both testicles becomes abnormal. It is the most common cancer in 20-35 year old men. Like prostate cancer, testicular cancer has an excellent cure rate—when it is detected and treated early.

For more information about getting treatment for male-specific diseases, please call Pomona Valley Health Centers at 909-536-1493.

Tips for Living Longer: Six Things Men Should Do to Live 5 Years Longer

A man tired at the wheelLiving longer is often attributed to living a healthy lifestyle, but what does that really mean? For men, it has a lot to do with focusing on heart health—the leading cause of death among men in the United States.

Living longer with heart-healthy living

The good news is people are living longer than ever before. If you want to live a healthy lifestyle, here are six things you can do right away:

  1. Eat more whole foods
    It is well known that processed foods (chicken nuggets, hot dogs, soda, etc.) are linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Instead, reach for healthier alternatives like fresh fruit, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains when hunger calls.
  2. Move your body
    Regular exercise is the key to good health and a healthy heart. A quick, 15-minute walk each day is one of the easiest ways to living a longer and healthier life.
  3. Get plenty of rest
    Focus on living longer by getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Up the ante by going to bed and waking up at similar times each day.
  4. Get social
    Socializing with friends is a good way to start living longer. Laughter, humor and happiness help you manage stress and strengthen your immune system. As it turns out, laughter really is the best medicine.
  5. Schedule—and keep—doctor appointments
    Regular health screenings protect you, so you can continue caring and providing for your family. Call Pomona Valley Health Centers and schedule your check-up today.
  6. Stop smoking
    Though it can be difficult to break a nicotine addiction, your blood pressure and circulation improve shortly after quitting. Your risk of getting cancer (the second leading cause of death among men) also decreases every smoke-free year.

The physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers are equipped with the latest technologies and skills to help the people in our community live longer lives. It’s time to call 909-536-1493 and schedule a check-up today.

Is Urgent Care for Kids Too? Yes! (Plus Five Reasons Moms Prefer It to the ER.)

A doctor examining a boyMoms, dads and caregivers work hard every day to keep their kids happy, healthy and safe. They also rely on services like urgent care and the emergency room when their children get hurt or become ill unexpectedly. While the pediatrician’s office should always be the first line of defense, sometimes it just isn’t an option, like during weekends or after regular business hours.

If your child has a life-threatening injury or illness, the physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers urge you to go to the nearest emergency room. However, for parents who have a child with a sore throat, fever, earache, diarrhea, or mild to moderate injuries, it’s best to go to the closest urgent care instead.

The Pomona Valley Urgent Care Centers in Chino Hills, Claremont and La Verne are available to children of all ages.

Moms prefer urgent care to the emergency room

Here are five reasons more moms are choosing urgent care centers over emergency rooms:

  1. Germs, bacteria and viruses
    Emergency rooms are known for drawing a crowd of injured or unwell people—and their germs. This means you and your little one could be unnecessarily exposed to a lot of communicable diseases. Unless your child is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, opt for a nearby urgent care facility instead.
  2. Shorter wait times
    The average emergency room patient wait time 4 hours, whereas urgent care facilities are able to see walk-in patients within 15-45 minutes. If you’re looking for fast, efficient and effective care, try urgent care first.
  3. Lower prices
    The average emergency room visit costs more than $1,300, whereas urgent care visits are a fraction of the cost at $70 to $125, depending on your insurance. Save yourself high out-of-pocket costs by opting for urgent care instead.
  4. Convenience

In the United States there about twice as many urgent care facilities as emergency rooms. If you’re looking for quality care that’s also close-to-home, you’re more likely to find it at an urgent care center.

  1. Less intimidating
    Emergency rooms can be busy, loud and sometimes scary places for children. Visiting an urgent care center is often calmer and may feel more like a visit to the doctor’s office.

Pomona Valley Health Centers offers safe, effective—and fast—urgent care for kids in Claremont. Walk-in or call 909-536-1493.

Living Healthy During COVID-19

Stay Home Save Lives sign in window

Staying safe at home during the COVID-19 outbreak has changed the routines of our lives, perhaps even quite dramatically. 

We aren’t going to the gym, our eating habits may have changed, and many people aren’t sleeping well. Many are coping with shifts in their mental health. And we’re all concerned about ourselves and the people we love. 

At Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC), your family’s health and well-being are our foremost concern…and our purpose for being here. So, during the shutdown, we’re doing what we can to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle with these essential tips from our own Premier family physicians, Dr. Michael Deanda, Medical Director, PVHC La Verne and Dr. Libia Wohlert, PVHC Pomona.

Basic Health and Wellness

  • Focus on getting adequate sleep – Set and keep a reasonable sleep schedule of at least 8 hours per night, and put down your smartphone
  • Eat nutritious meals – Cook at home rather than getting take-out, and watch portion sizes
  • Exercise regularly – Don’t let a closed gym stop you from staying healthy. Walk, run, ride, lift weights, do yoga at home…always following COVID-19 guidelines.
  • Slow down, unplug and nurture relationships – Take this time to rest and relax, unplug from electronics and pay attention to your personal relationships

Find A Healthy Work-at-Home/Life Balance

  • Remember to take breaks – Take time for yourself, such as taking a walk
  • Set and adhere to a work schedule
  • Try to go to a separate room to work

Prioritize Health and Combat Loneliness

  • Look within your community – If you’re lonely or have specific needs, look to and accept help from your family, friends and neighbors
  • Call and connect – Reach out to friends and family via telephone or videoconferencing. It’s important to stay connected!
  • Let us help with loneliness – PVHMC’s residents started a new program of reaching out to our communities’ elderly to check on them and offer a friendly voice. Call (909) 378-9180 if you know of someone in your community who can benefit from this service.
  • Stay away from or reduce consumption of alcohol and other substances

Resources for Patients and Community Members

COVID-19 Guideline Reminders 

The best way to avoid exposure to the COVID-19 coronavirus is to follow the CDC’s guidelines, which include:

  • Wash your hands often – Use soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. If unable, use a hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid close contact – Maintain six feet of physical distance from others
  • Wear a face mask – Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when around others
  • There are other guidelines – Visit the CDC’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) online resources for more information. 

As this virus outbreak continues, please remember that it is temporary, and we will make it to the other side together. At PVHC, we’re here to help, not just with guidelines to stay healthy but with comprehensive, compassionate care and telemedicine appointments from the safety of your home. 

Important Notice About Coronavirus (COVID-19)

To our valued patients:

As your healthcare provider, Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) has taken the necessary steps to ensure we are prepared to care for our patients and the community during this coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Screening processes are in place for all patients entering clinical areas. Patients experiencing common symptoms of coronavirus including fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, are questioned and cared for appropriately.

Our facilities are safe, and we are taking every precaution possible to ensure we provide quality and safe care for you. We have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment, and the appropriate protocols in place to protect patients, visitors and staff in the event that a person with coronavirus seeks care at any of our five Pomona Valley Health Centers in Claremont, La Verne, Pomona, and Chino Hills.

About the COVID-19 vaccine:

We do not currently have any vaccines for distribution. As the state of California continues its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, PVHC has applied to be a distribution center. It is our goal to bring vaccinations to our patients and community. At this time, we are still waiting to be approved as an official COVID-19 vaccination distributer, and we cannot confirm the exact date we can begin the immunizations.

Please use the following county resources to see if there is a vaccination distributor accepting appointments near you:

PVHC will make the announcement as soon as we are approved to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.

For those who have additional questions, more information is available at the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) website on the vaccine FAQ page.

We now offer telemedicine appointments

Our top priority at Pomona Valley Health Centers and Premier Family Medicine Associates is the health and safety of our patients, our staff and the communities we all share. That’s why, during this coronavirus outbreak we’ve added the option for you and your doctor to conduct certain appointments remotely using telemedicine.

For additional information on telemedicine appointments, please click here.

What should you do if you’re sick?

  • Stay home, except to get medical care – avoid public areas, transportation, events, etc.
  • Monitor symptoms – seek prompt medical care if symptoms worsen
  • Call your doctor before seeking care, including for appointments scheduled for other reasons
  • Remember to put on a mask when visiting your doctor, which we can provide for you
  • Call 911 if you have a medical emergency

What should you do to limit your exposure to the virus?

The best way to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is to avoid being exposed to the virus, which at this time is thought to spread mainly person-to-person. How do you avoid being exposed?

  • Wash your hands with soap and water – frequently and for at least 20 seconds each time
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Maintain “social distancing” between others (about six feet apart)
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze (and immediately wash or sanitize your hands)

**IMPORTANT MESSAGE REGARDING COVID-19 TESTING AT PVHC LOCATIONS**
Due to extremely high volume at our clinics, we encourage you to please utilize the following resources for COVID testing:

If you are experiencing emergency warning signs of COVID-19, such as trouble breathing, chest pain or pale,gray or blue-colored skin, lips or nail beds, we urge you to call 9-1-1 or get to your nearest Emergency Department immediately.

For additional information from the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, please click here.
For additional information from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, please click here.
For additional information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, please click here.

At all times, we prioritize optimal health, safety and infection control, and during this outbreak, we are continuing to do so with special vigilance and focus. We are closely monitoring the evolving situation, carefully following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and taking specific measures to protect you, your family, our employees and the communities we serve.

As things change, we will adjust our policies and practices to respond appropriately to new developments. At the same time, we intend to keep you informed about the best infection-control practices and what you need to know to keep yourself and your loved one safe.

From the physicians and staff at Pomona Valley Health Centers.

Five Things to Look for in a Senior Medical Care Provider

Senior medical care providerChoosing the right medical doctor is always important. It’s even more crucial as we age because we may no longer have the physical ability to heal as well as we once did. In fact, some people may need support from several specialists as they grow older. Finding doctors that are associated with the same hospital or health care system helps maintain continuity of care.

Five Things Every Senior Medical Care Provider Should Have

Here are a few important things to consider when choosing a senior medical care provider:

  1. Proper training and certifications
    Choose a doctor that is specially trained and certified in caring for older adults. It’s also important to find out whether they’re affiliated with hospitals or universities that also specialize in elder care.
  2. Easy access to care
    Look for a doctor that has made the patient experience a top priority. Think about their availability, location, office hours, parking facilities and traffic in the area. You should also find out if they accept your insurance and whether the office ever provides in-home services.
  3. Efficient processes

Find out whether your doctor has access to on-site facilities for X-rays and lab work. This can make your experience go more quickly and smoothly. It will also help reduce the amount of time you need to wait for results.

  1. Quality communication
    Feeling comfortable talking to your senior medical care provider is essential, as there will be times you need to discuss sensitive issues openly and honestly. It’s also important to find out how they will communicate with you and your other healthcare providers. Do they communicate via text, emails and appointment reminders?
  2. Successful history
    Find out if your doctor is in good standing with your state’s medical board. This will tell you whether your doctor has any past or ongoing medical malpractice suits.

Pomona Valley Health Centers offer safe, effective and compassionate senior medical care in Pomona, Chino Hills, Claremont and La Verne. Call 909-630-7829 to schedule an appointment today.