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The Top Five Reasons to Go to the ER

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Posted at 11:32 AM, Jul 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-16 13:32:47-04

A medical emergency can strike unexpectedly; however, the quick thinking and actions of others can initiate the emergency response process and potentially save a life. Although the types of injuries and medical concerns seen in an ER spread across the board, there are a handful of common issues ER doctors treat every day.

Top Five Medical Concerns

  • Chest pain: If you develop chest pain, especially if you experience heaviness or pressure, don’t wait to contact emergency services. Even if the ER team finds that the chest pain stems from a non-life threatening condition, it is not worth the risk to wait.
  • Abdominal pain: Pinpointing the cause of abdominal pain can be tricky, and, although gastrointestinal distress can generate a great deal of discomfort, it doesn’t necessarily mean the condition is life threatening. However, if you experience severe abdominal pain accompanied by the following, seek medical attention immediately.
    • Uncontrollable bleeding
    • Uncontrollable vomiting
    • Vomiting blood
    • Chest pain
    • Dizziness or fainting
    • Breathing difficulty
  • Strains, sprains, and fractures: Muscle and bone injuries are extremely common, especially for athletes. It may be difficult to determine if the injury needs immediate medical attention, so, in general, if you suspect a fracture, go to the ER. Although the severity of a fracture determines the type of treatment is required, some fractures can result in long-term damage or life-threatening situations if they are not treated immediately.
  • Difficulty breathing: Any difficulty with breathing or shortness of breath is cause for concern and should be taken seriously. Shortness of breath could be a sign of a medical emergency such as a heart attack. If you experience breathing difficulties that come on suddenly or seem to get worse, call 911 immediately.
  • Heat Illness: Prolonged exposure to the heat can be dangerous. Although heat exhaustion isn’t necessarily as serious as heat stroke, it can still be a threat to your health. If you notice symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, lack of sweating, or unconsciousness, seek medical attention immediately.