Has the threat of COVID-19 made you hesitant about a visit to the hospital, even in urgent situations? Delaying care can have serious consequences. Don’t let the fear of the virus prevent you from getting the emergent care you need. Williamson Medical Center physicians and nurses want you to be aware of the top 10 ER conditions that should never be ignored.
Severe abdominal pain that won’t go away may be a sign of a serious condition such as appendicitis, pancreatitis, or an intestinal blockage or infection. Acute pain that lasts longer than 24 hours or accompanies a tender stomach, back pain, vomiting or fever may need urgent diagnosis and treatment.
Any symptoms of chest pain warrant an immediate ER visit. Even minor chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack, with heart disease being the number one cause of death in America for both men and women. Chest pain with pressure, burning, aching or tightness that comes and goes, especially when accompanied with shortness of breath, arm or jaw pain, excessive fatigue or weakness, nausea/vomiting or back pain, may be signs of a heart attack. If you feel you are experiencing a heart attack, you should call 911 immediately.
An unexpected fall can be especially dangerous for the elderly. But bad falls that often result in broken bones and head injuries can be bad news for young and old alike, and should be taken seriously. Pain, bleeding or loss of consciousness may be immediate symptoms that need ER treatment, but it’s important to note other fall-related injury symptoms such as dizziness, nausea or vomiting for head injuries and pain, swelling or bruising that may flag a fracture.
A fever is a sign of your immune system at work and can often be treated at home. However, a prolonged fever that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter medication should receive medical attention, especially if accompanied by pain, rash or any other sign of infection.
Vomiting is a common symptom of a number of illnesses or conditions. While vomiting may be related to food poisoning or the stomach flu, persistent, uncontrolled vomiting can be a sign of serious sickness and can quickly lead to severe dehydration. Vomiting accompanied by severe abdominal pain, chest pain or pressure, high fever or stiff neck also needs to be assessed right away.
Urinary retention or frequency
Both excessive and insufficient urination can be emergency conditions. Sudden urinary retention symptoms may be the result of a blockage or be a sign of an underlying chronic condition. Seeking immediate care when experiencing symptoms such as the inability to urinate, severe bladder, groin, or abdominal pain, abdominal swelling and accompanying nausea is important not only for relief, but to prevent damage to the bladder or kidneys.
Injuries to the head can be particularly damaging and prone to long-lasting complications. Any trauma to the head should be immediately assessed and treated. Serious symptoms of a head injury such as a headache, difficulty waking, speaking or changes with eyesight may show up later as well and should prompt an ER visit.
Some cuts require more than a Band-Aid. Deep cuts that don’t close together with pressure or lacerations across a joint may require stitches. Injuries from an animal bite, rusty object or resulting in an impaled object require emergency attention to avoid complications from infection or blood loss.
Severe back pain following a trauma or sudden unidentified sharp or radiating pain may call for an ER visit. Back pain accompanied by numbness, weakness, fever or loss of bladder or bowel control can be associated with serious conditions such as heart attack, stroke, nerve compression or spine infections.
Shortness of breath
Although the most common causes for shortness of breath are asthma, COPD, or infections such as pneumonia, it too can be a sign of a heart attack. If you’re having trouble breathing, especially when lying down or along with chest pain or nausea, get to the ER.
Don’t risk your health by trying to protect it. Williamson Medical Center is confident in our protocols and procedures to keep our patients, staff and facilities safe. When symptoms strike, we’re here to help. If you’re experiencing any of these or other concerning symptoms, our ER is open 24/7. Learn more at www.WilliamsonMedicalCenter.org/ER.Share this Article