At some point or another, we have all been in a situation where we must ask ourselves if an emergency room visit is needed. Whether we are pondering strange chest pain, or evaluating a burn on our child, it is imperative that we think fast. Be prepared, and know the answers to the most common questions that can help you evaluate whether or not you need to head to the ER.
I have a head injury. Should I go to the ER?
Not every single head injury warrants a trip to the emergency room. However, if you have a head injury with specific symptoms, then you should go to the ER. These symptoms include loss of consciousness at the time of the injury, confusion or disorientation after the injury, nausea or vomiting as a result of the head injury, or deteriorating mental health.
I have chest pain. Should I go to the ER?
If you are experiencing crushing or squeezing chest pain of any kind you should call 911, or other emergency services for assistance. Common symptoms of a heart attacks include sweating, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, pain spreading throughout the chest, neck, jaw, and arms, lightheadedness, or an irregular pulse. Sometimes what only seems like minor, fleeting pain, can actually be a heart attack.
I have a fever. Should I go to the ER?
Fevers have many possible causes; however, the most common is a viral infection. These tend to go away on their own. You should seek medical care, or go to the emergency room if your temperature is 103 degrees or higher, if it lasts more than seven days, or if your fever symptoms increase with confusion, excessive sleepiness, stiff neck, headache, sore throat, rash, chest pain, swollen skin, abdominal pain, or vomiting.
I have a broken bone. Should I go to the ER?
This depends on what kind of break you have experienced, and where the bone is located. Normally broken bones in the hand, ankle, wrist, or foot can easily be treated at an urgent care. However, if you asses that a normal bone has been broken at an extreme severity you should go to the ER. In addition, bone breaks in the rib, sternum, skill, skull, lumbar and pelvic should be treated at the ER.
I just got a burn on my body. Should I go to the ER?
To determine the answer to this question you need to assess where the burn is located, how deep the burn is, and the size of the burn. You should go to the emergency room if the burn is on the face, eyes, ears, feet, hands, or genitals. Superficial burns can be healed at home, and are normally red, feel similar to sunburns, and blister after 24 hours. Deeper burns blister very soon after the injury and cause a whitish, gray discoloration. You also need to head to the ER if the burn covers an area larger than the palm of your hand.