When To Go To The ER

One of the more difficult decisions many people face is whether to go to the emergency room or call their physician when they need immediate medical care.  While every case is different, a good rule of thumb is, if you think it's life or death, go to the closest emergency room. When in doubt, you can also call your physician directly. All physician offices have 24/7 call service.

Physician offices are usually a quicker and more affordable option for those who may need care, but don't need the acute treatment that emergency rooms offer.

Warning Signs of a Potential Medical Emergency:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest, upper abdominal pain or pressure
  • Fainting, sudden dizziness, weakness
  • Changes in vision
  • Confusion or changes in mental status
  • Any sudden or severe pain
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Suicidal feelings
  • Difficult speaking
  • Unusual abdominal pain

Examples of non-urgent conditions:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Coughs, colds, sore throats
  • Ear infections
  • Minor burns or injuries
  • Fever or flu-like symptoms
  • Rash or other skin irritations
  • Mild asthma
 *According to the American College of Emergency Physicians