The emergency room isn’t a fun place to be. Many would rather avoid going to the ER, but some circumstances definitely require a trip to the hospital. A heart attack or a broken bone doesn’t give you a choice but to visit the emergency department. But for many other cases, deciding whether or not to go to the ER isn’t that easy.
How can you tell if a visit to the hospital is necessary, or if you should just wait for your symptoms to subside? Your head had bumped onto something, should you go to the ER? Does a fall require ER visit? Basically, doctors do not have a checklist of symptoms that can tell when exactly a person needs to visit the emergency department. But in case of doubt, it is best to call your doctor and ask for advice.
However, there are warning signs to watch out for as they may indicate a medical emergency. Here are some of the signs and symptoms that may merit a trip to the ER:
- Feeling pain or pressure on the chest
- Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
- Changes in vision
- Sudden dizziness, fainting, weakness
- Sudden, unusual abdominal pain
- Change in mental status or confusion
- Sudden, severe pain in any part of the body
- Severe or persistent diarrhea or vomiting
- Bleeding that doesn’t stop
- Vomiting or coughing up of blood
- Sudden speech difficulty
- Shortness of breath
- Suicidal thoughts or feelings
Children may present different symptoms for unique medical problems. Some symptoms that do not appear serious to an adult may be serious for children. Moreover, children lack the ability to properly communicate their symptoms; an adult will need to interpret the child’s physical signs. If you think the child is suffering from a medical emergency, bring him to the nearest emergency room immediately.
In the emergency room, patients are attended depending on the severity of the injuries or illness. Here are a few tips on how you get appropriate care as quickly as possible.
- Bring your medical history record. It should contain medications you are currently taking, allergies (foods, medications, insects or any other products), medical conditions, and recent hospitalization records, if any.
- Know your immunizations. This is important especially for children, but also for adults. Possible immunizations for adults include flu, tetanus and hepatitis B.
- Do not panic. It is obviously difficult to stay calm after being injured or while experiencing some signs and symptoms. However, keeping yourself composed can help increase communication with the healthcare staff. Communication is essential for appropriate diagnosis and treatment of your condition.
Take note that the emergency room caters to hundreds of individuals at a time, you want to help the healthcare staff deal with your emergency situation.