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FIRST AID

Did you stay out in the sun too long? Pop a few too many margaritas? Fall victim to a dodgy buffet? Or is it something more serious? The good news is that statistically speaking, Las Vegas is one of the safest places in America to suffer a heart attack, thanks to pretty much all casino security officers being trained to use on-site defibrillators, as well as having basic first-aid training. If you do need a doctor during your visit, however, here are some suggestions:

  • Harmon Medical Center: Located just behind Planet Hollywood (150 E. Harmon), this is an independently owned and operated medical facility on the Strip and offers urgent care Monday through Friday from 8 am till 8 pm. It also has a courtesy van available to collect you from your hotel, if necessary, but no longer has an on-site pharmacy. An Uninsured Healthcare Program can assist local residents without medical insurance. To contact them please call 702/796-1116 or visit www.harmonmedicalcenter.com
  • As far as pharmacies are concerned, there are currently three Walgreens drugstores on the Strip, one just north of the Stratosphere, one across from the ghost of the Stardust, and one north of the MGM Grand. CVS has two stores, one near Circus Circus and the other just north of New York-New York. The latter's particularly valuable to remember because it has a MinuteClinic, where you can see Board-certified practitioners who can diagnose and treat many non-emergency medical problems, including writing prescriptions, for patients aged 18 months and older. They're in-network with most major insurers, so patients are responsible for either their copay or the price listed on the treatments and services menu. For those who are uninsured or prefer to pay out-of-pocket, MinuteClinic accepts cash, checks, and credit cards. Here's the link to the treatments and services menu www.minuteclinic.com.These mini-clinics are being added in many Walgreens and CVS pharmacies all over town. Check the Yellow Book or online for locations and hours.
  • Of those hotels we've surveyed, only some, including the entire Harrah's group, plus Planet Hollywood and the Venetian, have Emergency Medical Technicians on staff. These are generally EMT-1 (basic) level, i.e., first responders trained to provide basic emergency medical care at the scene of an accident and while transporting patients by ambulance to the hospital under medical direction. An EMT-1 has the emergency skills to assess a patient's condition and manage respiratory, cardiac, and trauma emergencies, but cannot dispense medication (other than oxygen) or use more complicated equipment than an AED, which requires more advanced training.
  • To the best of our knowledge, most hotels have doctors available on call (not physically located on property, but usually within a 5- to 15- minute drive away), but this is usually a very expensive service to use.
  • In the case of extreme emergency situations that cannot be dealt with on-property or at the Harmon Medical Center, hotel security will call paramedics or an ambulance to take the patient to the nearest hospital, which for those properties located on or near the Strip is the Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, located to the east of the Strip at 3186 S. Maryland Pkwy. In addition to a 24-hour emergency room, Sunrise facilities include a full maternity ward, rehab unit, poison-control center, and children's hospital. For casinos located in the downtown area, the nearest hospitals are the UMC Quick Care Center at 2231 W. Charleston or Valley Hospital at 620 Shadow Lane (just off W. Charleston).

As far as our basic tips for a healthy trip are concerned:

  • Stay hydrated. The dry heat means you often won't even know you're perspiring but you are, so remember to drink plenty of water, especially if you're drinking alcohol.
  • Use a high factor sunblock with UVA and UVB screening properties, even on a cloudy day. In fact, especially on a cloudy day, when the UV rays are still hitting you but you may not feel the sun. Don't let sunburn ruin your vacation (or your skin).
  • Carry a sweater/jacket/wrap with you in the hot summer months. While you certainly won't need it when you're outside, the often arctic-esque indoor temperatures and the constant fluctuations you'll put your body through can result in horrible summer colds, so make sure you can wrap up when you enter a casino or restaurant.