Many people avoid seeking out emergency medical care for conditions that turn out to be “nothing” or that they think will result in sky-high medical bills. Unfortunately, this can lead many to put off seeing a doctor until their symptoms are unbearable. In general, you should visit your local urgent care center if you have a gut feeling that something is not right, but sometimes, it can be difficult to tell when your symptoms require immediate medical attention. Here are the signs to look for in yourself or others that mean it’s time to visit the emergency room.
Your Symptoms are Severe
Obvious as it may seem, physical trauma to the head, limbs, or spine, sudden injury, severe pain, and excessive bleeding or vomiting blood usually requires emergency medical care. Do not try to move yourself and do not try to move another person without a first responder. In addition, symptoms that are not necessarily life-threatening but that last a long time can also warrant a trip to the hospital. If you’ve had severe bronchitis-like symptoms that have lasted for several weeks, or you’ve experienced sharp pains and aches that won’t to go away, these can be signs of serious illness. You may need a medical scan at the emergency clinic to see if something serious is going on.
You have a Preexisting Condition
People who are elderly, pregnant, disabled, or who have chronic illnesses should keep a close eye on any unusual symptoms. Tripping in the garden may not be an issue for a younger and able-bodied adult, but people who are disabled or elderly may experience serious injury. Likewise, long-lasting cold-like symptoms for people with autoimmune diseases could potentially turn into something more serious. Always err on the side of caution and contact an acute care facility if you think something isn’t right.
Your Mental Faculties are Impaired
Disorientation, dizziness, fainting, confusion, or fear that you may hurt yourself or others are all signs that you should seek emergency medical care. Never try to operate a vehicle if you’re dizzy or afraid you may cause yourself harm. The best option is usually to call an emergency number and to discuss your symptoms with an operator.
You Think You’ve Overdosed or Ingested Something you Shouldn’t
Even if you haven’t started to experience symptoms, you’ll want to visit the emergency room immediately if you think you’ve overdosed on drugs or poisoned yourself. If you regularly take a prescription or are currently taking multiple prescriptions, be sure you take the proper amount at the proper time. Accidental overdoses of antidepressants or sedatives are common, and combining some prescriptions with drugs or alcohol can be fatal, so be sure you call a doctor right away.
If you believe that you or someone you know is having a medical emergency, always follow your instincts and dial 911. Never go anywhere without a cell phone or medical alert device, and be aware of where you can find medical care in the event of an emergency.