How do you know when to go to the emergency room?

Should you break out the first aid kit or go to the ER? Medical professionals use a combination of knowledge, experience and science to decide how to address a problem. But how do you decide when to stay home or call the doctor? And how do you know when a loved one needs to be rushed to the ER?

For adults, these warning signs might tell you it’s time to call 911 or get to an emergency room immediately.

  • Chest pain
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Severe burns
  • Deep cuts or bleeding that won’t stop
  • Sudden blurred vision
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness or loss of coordination or balance
  • Numbness in the face, arm or leg
  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Seizures
  • High fevers
  • Any other condition you believe is life threatening

The best indicators of a medical emergency in children include:

  • A wound that won’t stop bleeding
  • Breathing problems like shortness of breath or difficulty inhaling/exhaling
  • Head trauma that causes loss of consciousness, disorientation, sleepiness or visual disturbances
  • Suspicion of a medication overdose or possibility of poisoning
  • Faster-than-normal heartbeat that doesn’t slow with rest
  • Stiff neck accompanied by a fever and disorientation

If your child needs urgent medical care, choosing an ER that’s staffed by pediatric emergency medicine physicians and professionals who specialize in treating children, and that has instruments and imaging tests that are kid friendly can make a big difference – sometimes even a life or death one.

Regardless of age, where you go for emergency care matters. The emergency team’s experience, speed and equipment can make a big difference in the outcome. And remember, when in doubt, call your doctor or get to emergency care as quickly as possible.

SummerSafety_Cover170 Baptist Health and Wolfson Children’s Hospital want this to be your best summer ever, so we’ve created the Summer Safety Guide to help you and your family steer clear of summer bummers.

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